Pros and cons of veganism

Vegans and vegetarians have long since been a part of our society, but has anyone ever stopped to think about what actually comes with it? What is the mentality behind it?
Veganism, as a philosophy, is the way of living that seeks to exclude cruelty and exploitation of animals as far as practicable — which includes food, clothing, and animal-produced goods for any other purpose. Veganism, by extension, promotes the production of animal-exempt products. Vegetarianism, on the other hand, practices the exemption of meat from a person’s diet, and may also extend to other forms of animal slaughter, depending on the person’s choice.
As you see, vegetarians and vegans may not share the same life, but some ideals are similar. Emily Jackson, a vegetarian of five years who has since stopped, shared her input with me below:
“Why did you start being vegetarian?”
“My friend … and I were upset about the treatment of animals used for food. [It] felt like contributing to the problem of mass meat production was morally incorrect. After a while, I stopped really liking the taste of meat. It’s stuck with me. … I [still] don’t put that much meat on my plate in comparison to other foods.”
“Were you happy being vegetarian?”
“For the most part. It’s just inconvenient. I was able to find replacements for things … but it did make it more difficult to find foods. Plus, people for some reason are really upset about it. Like it’s an attack on them that I didn’t want to eat [meat]. So, they would try to sneak meat in my food.”
“Why did you stop being vegetarian?”
“… I ended up coming to the conclusion that meat can be a viable choice for meals if you treat it like a treat instead of a primary meal. And it makes you appreciate the meat you’re having more.”
“Overall, would you say being vegetarian is a more positive, or more negative experience?”
“I became more aware of the sacrifices needed to produce the meat and came to appreciate the food I was eating more. I found vegetables that I didn’t really know about or how to prepare before. It was a pain, and I decided it was more trouble than it was worth … [but] I’m glad I did it, and I’m fine with my decision to stop.”
So overall, Emily does agree that vegetarianism improved her life in some aspects, even with her decision to quit. But what about vegans? Do vegans share the same thoughts? How truly different are their lives from vegetarians? Danny Khah can give some insight into that.
“How long have you been vegan?”
“4 years.”
“What pushed you to become vegan?”
“I was moved by how poorly animals were treated in the industry.”
“Are you happy with being vegan?”
“Yeah. The idea of being otherwise, or really even consuming non-vegan food turns my stomach now. So I’m very happy with the way I eat, and what I eat.”
“What challenges do you face being vegan?”
“I honestly don’t eat very well or smartly, so I could see myself having an easier time getting the nutrients my body needs if I did [eat better]. I often find myself not being able to have things I might want even just a taste of.”
“Are there any positives with being vegan?”
“In a very limited way. I think it makes me happier, even just a smidge. I feel better about not eating or consuming things from animals, too. But I’m not sure if things would be different if I wasn’t.”
“Do you think, overall, that being vegan is more positive, or more negative?”
“It rides the line of neutral, but I think it’s a little more positive. If I had to make that decision again, I wouldn’t change it.”
So surprisingly, these two have a lot of similarities! They seem to have a good idea of what they believe, too.
We can all learn a little from each other, and that includes vegans and vegetarians. They may not be the majority, but they seem to agree that they’re trying to make the world a better place.