Veganism and Pets: How to Lead a Vegan Lifestyle as a Pet Owner
What is a Vegan Lifestyle?
Veganism is more than just a diet. A vegan (or ‘plant-based’) diet is a diet that consists of plants, and food made from plants. This means that those who eat a vegan diet do not eat meat of any kind, fish, or animal products such as eggs and milk.
Those who eat this diet will often base a meal around the carbohydrates (e.g., potato, pasta, bread, rice) rather than the protein source. They may also substitute dairy products with alternatives such as soya or nut milk. Beans and pulses make up a large portion of the diet, and some who opt for a vegan diet will supplement with vitamins and minerals, to ensure they don’t miss out on essential nutrients. Provided you supplement with the right vitamins and minerals, you can feed your pet a vegan diet too.
A vegan lifestyle, on the other hand, incorporates other aspects of life in addition to food. Those who live a vegan lifestyle will avoid consuming animal products in ways other than eating them, for example substituting real leather for vegan leather products and avoiding consumables made with animal fats.
Veganism in this way will often include not consuming products are not tested on animals, even if no animal products were used to make them. In addition to feeding your pet a vegan diet, purchasing vegan pet supplies is another way of adopting a vegan lifestyle as a pet owner.
The Benefits of Veganism
While many people choose veganism because of their opinions on animals and their welfare, a growing number are choosing to become vegans because of the reduced impact on the environment. There are three main reasons why the vegan lifestyle is better for the environment: the reduced impact of deforestation, the reduced greenhouse gas emissions and water usage and pollution.
Firstly, wide-ranging farming results in the deforestation of forests across the globe. Trees are vital for absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so cutting them down and replacing with farm animals, like cattle, results in an increase in CO2 levels.
Secondly, greenhouse gases are emitted throughout the cycle of meat production. Meat processing and burning fuels to run machines needed for farming are just some of the ways that carbon dioxide emissions occur in meat manufacturing. In addition to this, animals such as cattle produce a large quantity of greenhouse gases themselves, including CO2 and methane.
Lastly, meat production often results in increased water usage and water pollution. Water run offs from farmland make their way to the ocean and ultimately reduce its oxygen content. This has devastating consequences for marine life.
Sustainability and Veganism
Living a Vegan Lifestyle
In addition to eliminating animal produce from your diet, and replacing animal consumables in your lifestyle with vegan replacements such as vegan leather and cruelty-free products, there are a number of other things you can do to live a more sustainable life and reduce your carbon footprint:
- Limit use of plastics;
- Use public transport as an alternative to driving;
- Invest in quality, sustainable pieces and items that will last a long time;
- Shop second-hand;
- Recycle waste; and
- Be sensible with electricity, gas and water usage in your home.
Veganism for Pets
Pets can provide us with a multitude of mental and physical health benefits, but introducing another mouth to feed into our home is not always the sustainable option. However, a few things you can do to limit the impact that raising your pet has on the environment includes adopting or fostering rather than buying from a breeder, feeding your pet a vegan diet, and purchasing environmentally-friendly vegan pet supplies.
Nina Woof produces vegan pet supplies using vegan leather and other cruelty-free materials. Next time you need to purchase a new dog leash or collar, think sustainably!