For many of us, the road to veganism is a journey. We take different paths and progress at a pace that makes sense for us. We learn a lot along the way. It is an evolution. Some of us initiate the change for one particular reason, and later find ourselves connected to and motivated by a different reason. It is the nature of this peaceful, meaningful and empowering approach to living. If you haven't noticed by now, our festival motto is community, compassion, plants. Though the plants connection might be obvious, we thought we'd share the important WHY behind our festival and motto...
Since the use of animals is unnecessary for humans, people motivated by animal rights seek to avoid all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. They recognize the individual beings behind every animal slaughtered for human consumption.
An unbelievable 70 billion farmed animals are reared annually worldwide and 6 million animals are killed every hour. It has been extensively documented that factory farmed animals, who are sentient beings, commonly suffer based on the methods by which they are raised and slaughtered.
There are animals who die as part of the animal industry and who will never be available for people to eat. The culling of male chicks as part of industrialized egg production industry is an example of animals who are dying needlessly. Millions of unwanted male chicks – the offspring of egg-laying hens – are discarded every year because they do not lay eggs and are thought to be too small to be raised profitably for meat. Since they have no economic use to the industry, the chicks are often culled without anesthesia by methods including maceration and suffocation.
At VegFest you'll be able to meet and connect with farm sanctuaries and animal rights organizations. You’ll see here that we have an outstanding line-up of animal rights speakers, plus an Animal Rights Activism Panel discussion.
Half of all North Americans are dying due to cancer or cardiovascular disease. You probably know someone who has suffered from these diseases. Their quality of life may be diminished, they may be living in fear, and are likely relying on multiple medications to get them through each day. Now imagine a world where the incidence of these two devastating diseases was significantly reduced. This is possible through eating a plant-based diet focussed on unprocessed food, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates here that a third of cancer deaths are preventable through five lifestyle choices, one of which is high fruit and vegetable intake. WHO also indicates most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented if we address behavioural risk factors, including an unhealthy diet.
And that is just the beginning. Think type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and depression. There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking plant-based eating to the prevention, treatment and even reversal of these and many other common and disabling illnesses. WHO notes that a healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Interestingly, animal products are not included. The healthiest and longest-living populations in the world are plant-based.
At VegFest you'll be able to sample and taste plant-powered cuisine and even listen to talks on various aspects of diet and health given by Dr. Linda Plowright, Robert Cheeke and Teresa Ford. Check out the speakers schedule here.
Concerns about the environment
You may have heard that 97% of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause. Surprisingly, eating a more plant based diet is one of the most effective things we can do as individuals to positively impact the environment. Reasons are related to increased water use and greenhouse gas emissions with animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is tied to the destruction of the amazon. And land is used more efficiently when growing plant-based food compared to meat production. Links to the research and science behind this information is here.
We'd love to know, what's behind your WHY? What made you choose vegan?