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"We need to be not prudently smart but ecologically wise"

- Ben Dupré, English author

Why I became vegan and how veganism is strongly related to poverty alleviation and social business

By Samantha Caccamo on 26 March 2014

I was a vegetarian for 25 years before I became a vegan. In my last year of being a vegetarian I realized I was eating very few foods derived from animals, and after watching yet another documentary on the cruelty of animal maltreatment in farms for both meat and dairy production I said enough!

People often confuse something that’s pleasant to the senses with something that’s good for them – sometimes that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Take food for example: food that tastes good isn’t necessarily good for us and the planet. Take sex for example: someone who is good in bed isn’t necessarily good for us and others. With the evolution of humankind it is possible to eat delicious food that does not harm us and the planet, and I believe it is possible to find a person we can enjoy physically, whom we love and who will not hurt us and others. We are what we eat, we are who we choose to be with so we should be mindful in our choices.

At times I really believe that human beings are the worst living species. We think we are superior to other earthlings and can kill animals as we please to produce food and other goods for consumption. What makes us think we have the right to do that? We haven’t evolved at all then. We are still like cave men. How a human being is able to willingly inflict so much pain on defenseless animals is truly beyond my comprehension. I encourage everyone to watch a documentary on YouTube entitled ‘’Earthlings’’ narrated by vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix. I warn you that watching it may cause you much emotional distress and unease, but if it serves the purpose of making spectators eat less meat, then they should watch it a thousand times. The truth of the matter is, it all start with us as consumers. We are all responsible, each and every one of us creates market demand.
vegan quote by johnny deppI work in the social business sector which is about creating non-dividend companies to solve society’s most urgent social and environmental problems. This basically means creating businesses that improve the living conditions of all beings not only humans, where money is only the enabler not the motive. Veganism is strictly linked to poverty reduction. Millions of people every year die of malnutrition and starvation. Their lives could be spared if the grains to feed animals for human consumption were diverted to the developing world where a bowl of grain can save a life. If we ate a plant-based diet instead of feeding plants and grains to animals, the world food shortage would quickly disappear. Just think that to produce an 8-ounce stake an animal must eat the same amount of grains that could feed 45-50 people. This waste of resources is simply unacceptable. According to the national Corn Growers Association about 80% of all corn in the US is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry and fish production. I don’t understand how this can be legal. It is a double genocide of animals and the world’s poorest people. Not to mention that half the world’s rain forests has been destroyed to clear ground to graze animals for human consumption. Burning forests contributes to 20% of all greenhouse gasses and many species become extinct due to this destruction. It’s time for consumers to take responsibility. The simple act of becoming vegetarian or even better vegan can significantly improve the health of our planet and all living beings. But if that’s too difficult for you, you can also start by reducing your meat intake and decide not to eat meat five or ten days a month. By doing this you will already create a big environmental impact on our planet.  Thank you.

“To harm nature is to harm ourselves. We should deal with nature the same way we should deal with ourselves: non-violently. Human beings and nature are inseparable.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Albert Einstein

About the author

Samantha Caccamo

Founder & CEO Social Business Earth, Social Entrepreneur, Writer

Born in Bologna, Italy, Samantha Caccamo holds a BA in Journalism with a Minor in Asian Studies from Pepperdine University, Los Angeles. She became interested in Grameen’s Microcredit and Social…  Read full bio