Vegans vs. Meat-Eaters: Could You be a Herbivore?


Ellie Lambert, Junior Staff Writer

Veganism is a lifestyle where one abstains from eating and using animal products. Veganism is commonly confused with vegetarianism, which focuses solely on not eating meat products. A vegan lifestyle is a very new and controversial topic. Anyone can become vegan for a variety of reasons, such as wanting to reduce their carbon footprint (“defined as the total emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, or product, expressed as the carbon dioxide equivalent”) to help fight animal cruelty, as a fad diet, or just to try it. Most people see vegans as crazy hippies who care too much about animals and eat plants only. As senior Ally Phibbs  remarks, “I always just thought they were really picky and a little weird.” This image is not true in most cases and is, unfortunately, a major stereotype that needs to be corrected.

As a vegan one can’t eat any animal products. This includes all meat, dairy, eggs and honey. This is the part of veganism that most people put the most emphasis on, and is often the hardest aspect for most to observe. Some people just follow a vegan diet and are more lenient when it comes to using animal products in clothes and makeup although that isn’t true veganism.  Some common examples of non-vegan products are products that were tested on animals: leather, fur, feathers, silk, etc. It takes a while for someone to become completely vegan because so many things in society today contain animal products. It is very difficult to maintain veganism full time. Most vegans replace meat with beans, jackfruit, or “ imitation” meat. One has to be extremely careful about all the ingredients in food. Someone may think that fench fries from Mcdonald’s are vegan, but they aren’t, due to the type of oil used for frying.

 A majority of people who choose to become vegan do it to help the environment and protect animal rights. This raises the question though: Is veganism really doing all that people think it is for these causes? The main problem with animal product consumption is the processing of the meat involved–grass fed beef is much healthier.  Additionally processing and producing the meat is found to cause about 60% of all pollution in the world, according to sources. Lastly, animal rights activists cite inhumane treatment as a reason to give up meat. Being vegan might help reduce one’s carbon footprint, but the real issue is big business. As junior Angelina Eusanio said, “People are going to keep eating animals. There are more animal and plant eaters (omnivores–eating both animal and plants) than vegans, so one person being vegan isn’t changing much.” If people really want to start making a difference in the world, they need to realize it is not on the individual to fix the problem, but on everyone as a whole. 

Furthermore, veganism is a lifestyle that is very hard to maintain. Being vegan may have some benefits to the environment but overall big business is to blame. The truth is that you don’t need to stop eating animal products to help the environment. Everyone just needs to cut back on the amount they are eating. As Americans, people are taught that more is better, but in this case, it is not. Being vegan is not the solution to the world’s problems, but a few vegans here and there might help.  For better clarification on which diet is healthier for you, view the Youtube video below: