Vegans are individuals
not Sheep On Drugs
so each have their own reasons
for their choice of diet.
Some people choose to be vegan most do not.
Vive La Difference
some people posting here seem intolerant of lifestyles different from their own.
Perhaps it’s a prion thing? ; )
For me being vegan is about being aware of the impact your paterns of consumption have on others and on the planet
veganism is one practical step you can take to drastically reduce how much of the worlds resorces you consume and at the same time greatly reduce the amount of polution your choice of lifestyle produces.
To expand on what Yam said beef production has been estimated to require upto sixteen times as much land as the equivalent plant based production. This implies that 16 times as much farm machinery required will burn 16 times as much fosil fuel and unless all these fodder crops are grown orgaincally then 16 times as much agrochemicals (fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, fungicide etc) will also be consumed to produce say a McDonalds as compared with say baked beans on toast
Some people disagree with this - see Beef Myths and Facts - Energy Use
but then maybe they just want to sell you some Steamed Beef Dumplings
Reducing agrochemical use has benefits for the environment and for human health and reduces our dependance on the transnational corporations who make the stuff.
It can use up two tonnes of crude oil to produce one tonne of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in the Haber-Bosch Process so a diet that promotes efficient land use greatly reduce how much carbon dioxide production you are responsible for. Reducing our dependance on oil would have far reaching effect on world politics. People like Bush and Bin Laden might not be quite so important.
Some cattle are grazed on grass lands which are not treated with fertilizer or pesticides.
However over two thirds of the 444 million acres (1.8 million km2) of cropland in the USA are planted with livestock feed (56% of which is for beef cattle).~ 80-90% of all grain grown in the US is used to feed meat animals. 40% of all US farm produce, including grain, is fed to livestock
Source: Lynn Jacobs, Waste of the West: Public Lands Grazing (1991)
This represents a vast area of land, which is farmed intensively soley for the production of meat.
So if you are concerned about gobal warming and your government is not following the Kyoto protocol maybe you should consider reducing your meat and dairy intake.
Lots of people seem to think being vegan is just about animal rights.
there is a lot more to it than that.
If you do have any concerns about intensive animal farming one simple option open to everyone is to boycott the industry by choosing a vegan diet.
You do not even need to have principals to be vegan,
if nothing else it is a great way to anoy your non-vegan mother.
You may as well join up now as it is only a matter of time before the world is run by vegans riding bicycles...