With all of the negative comments I have seen about veganism on social media lately, I just had to pull out my laptop and get to typing. For what reason are people so against living the most healthy, peaceful and environmentally-friendly lifestyle there is?

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis - our nation’s top killers are all caused by animal products. It has been proven that a vegan diet has reversed various chronic diseases that are linked to the consumption of meat and dairy products. This can save many lives and trips to the doctor. Having your body cut open for open heart surgery because you clogged your arteries with cholesterol and saturated animal fat is viewed as normal, but a vegan diet is extreme? The majority of plant-based foods are almost free of cholesterol and saturated fat. Plant-based foods are full of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins to keep us healthy. Yes, there is plant protein and it is packed into various foods such as broccoli, beans, nuts and more.There is an overwhelming amount of physical evidence that humans are 100 percent herbivores, and this is why meat and dairy products are so toxic to our bodies. It is very possible to get every nutrient we need through plant-based foods.

Why is it deemed cool to be addicted to eating animals? I promise if you took a look at slaughterhouse footage and did some research, you wouldn’t be as open to support the animal agriculture industry. Ask yourself if you would look into the eyes of an animal and hang them upside down, slit their throat, let all of the blood drain out, then dismember their body (the common practice) all so you can have a burger? If you wouldn’t do it and know that is wrong then why pay people to do it? Is it more acceptable to pay someone else to do the work you don't want to do?

It is important to understand that an animal suffers every single time you purchase their meat or bodily secretions. Believe it or not, animals experience emotions just like people and deserve way better than what they go through now on factory farms. They are living, breathing beings not stupid inanimate objects and what happens to them every second in factory farming is absolutely heartbreaking. This article does not even go in depth enough to describe the pain inflicted on them on an everyday basis The animal agriculture industry does not care about your health, animal welfare or the planet. They care about the profit they make from you every time you buy animal products.

Why do people act as if they are so environmentally-cautious, and then when a vegan diet is brought up to prove that it would be the number one solution to cut down the presence of greenhouse gases and deforestation, people don’t blink an eye? Factory farms pollute the air we breathe and our water with methane that comes from livestock waste. Methane classifies as a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming. Waste from factory farms easily becomes runoff into waterways, leading into the ocean. This kills fish and other sea life by creating ocean dead zones. The animal agriculture industry is also responsible for about 91 percent of Amazon Rain forest deforestation. It takes a lot of land and water to raise livestock for meat, so rain forests are demolished at an alarming rate. Most of us know how trees and other plants emit oxygen for us to breathe. Rain forests are vital to provide our planet a source of oxygen, but they are being destroyed for reasons such as raising livestock for meat. Animals such as cows drink around 25 gallons of water a day. The current land animal livestock population is around 50+ billion. And in some societies water and food scarcity still exists. I believe that we can all agree that our oceans and rain forests are too beautiful to pollute and destroy. The planet is our only home so we must be doing everything we can to protect it.

Veganism is just as much about saving and protecting human life as it is animal. I’m aware I cannot force people to go vegan or to even listen but knowing as much as I do now, it is my obligation to raise awareness. I obviously was not vegan my whole life but through education and enlightenment I was able to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle that I know everyone else is capable of making. Animals do not have the voice to fend for themselves. Somebody has to say something. I find it interesting how we are always taught to stand up for what we believe in, but when it comes to veganism people want us to be silenced. I will not be silent. This is far too important to just ignore. To influence change this topic must be brought up and discussed. Because of vegan activism 13% of Israel’s population is currently vegan. In the United States since 2009, the vegan/vegetarian population has grown from one percent to five percent in 2016. That means 16 million people in the United States are currently vegan. More and more athletes and celebrities are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle because of its health benefits and for ethical and environmental reasons. Mike Tyson, Liam Hemsworth, and Ariana Grande are all vegan just to name a few.

All I ask is for people to stop judging and creating stereotypes about veganism when they are not aware of how much their daily actions harm animals and the environment. I ask for people to do some research and learn before forming an opinion. A few great sources are documentaries on Netflix, YouTube and more. I’m sorry if in society I’m seen as weird and uncool but that does not concern me because I don’t find comfort in following the crowd. I have never felt better about myself or body both physically and mentally. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of your body. I want people to experience the same joy and liberation that I feel. I feel proud of myself to know that I am aware about the devastating impact that the animal agriculture has in this world and feel proud that I am doing something about it. All I want to do is help people, animals, and the planet, and I’m sorry if my activism offends you. You have the choice to listen and learn or to turn away from the facts. I still love and respect everyone whatever diet they choose for themselves, but I am not okay with people being so quick to judge veganism when they have not taken the time to look into the facts that have been intentionally suppressed by the animal agriculture industry disguised through inaccurate pictures and labels claiming that their animal products are clean, healthy and humane.

Just because something is seemed as normal and everyone is doing it, it does not make it right. I’m challenging you to adjust your perception and to open your mind and realize that the “it’s my personal choice” argument does not justify billions of animals being tortured and murdered and for the immense pollution, water depletion, deforestation and further environmental damage the animal agriculture industry causes. So yes I may sound “preachy” or “annoying,” but just understand I have a reason to be.

For further understanding of this information, check out these documentaries and their websites:

Cowspiracy (environmental) http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Forks over Knives (health) http://www.forksoverknives.com/

Earthlings (factory farming) http://www.nationearth.com/earthlings-1/