Turning vegan is certainly made to seem like something that’s ethically and morally brilliant, and in the month of January people have been pushing to give it a try. However, if you do look at the other side of veganism, there are quite a few “overlooked” factors that if you look closely at, could actually change your view quite drastically.

On the one hand, there are several very convincing arguments for turning vegan, one of which states that we humans are in actual fact animals too, and therefore have no right to harm our fellow animals just because we have the power to. Adding to that, some argue that the animals we slaughter for meat experience pain and emotion on a similar, just not quite as significant level to us. This implies that the animals might feel the emotional sadness, fear and physical pain from being in cages or having young taken away from them, and at some point you have to consider if it is in actual fact morally responsible to put them through such turmoil.

Another aspect to consider is also the second biggest drive that leads people to turning vegan, which is for the health benefits it has. The British Dietetic Association has supported veganism by stating that a “well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages”
Many know that cutting down on foods including substances such as dairy and artificial sugars defiantly can improve your overall health as it cuts down your cholesterol and can also make you feel more awake.

Conversely, not many people consider the negative health implications going vegan can lead to, such as insulin resistance, which is caused by consuming too much fruit. The fructose found in fruit is found to increase the likeliness of becoming insulin resistant, which means your body cannot respond properly to the hormone insulin. This can lead to high blood pressure, obesity as well as type II diabetes.

Another argument that causes a lot of people to adhere to the vegan diet is the claim that it saves animals lives, and while this certainly does ring some truth behind it, vegan eating can also lead to a lot of animal deaths as well. While the death count may not be as abundant or as recognised, the process of harvesting at a mass production rate causes what the industry calls “tractor deaths”. This is when small animals are killed during the harvesting process, and although this only really occurs when the food is mass harvested, it is still ending many animals lives in the process, and is something to be aware of.

Furthermore, there are very serious nutritional deficiencies many vegans can suffer from as a result of not balancing out their diet properly. Vitamin A, for example, is essential to maintaining healthy living as it helps your body in many ways such as keeping your vital organs functioning properly and strengthening your immune system. Vitamin A can be acquired through plants, however the form it takes in those plants is one that the body finds very hard to use, whereas when it is found in foods such as fish, it is much easier for the body to utilise. This is much like the calcium dilemma. As calcium is found mainly in dairy products (which is against the vegan diet), the lack of it can become majorly noticeable when it is missed. Calcium helps the bodies bones and teeth to strengthen, and if not had enough, it can lead to later life osteoporosis, which is a condition where the bones become fragile and brittle, causing them to essentially crumble which can lead to breakages and painful aching.

Overall, I believe there are several well founded arguments for both perspectives, and that it is a decision that ultimately each individual should make.

Written by: Kate Dawson from Thames Christian College