November 1st is a day for animal rights advocates everywhere, where all things vegan come together for World Vegan Day.
Vegans are people who attempt to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. "Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose," according to The Vegan Society.
Events are being held around the world this month in support of veganism and can be found on the society's website.
As well as being mindful of animal welfare, becoming vegan is also a environmentally sustainable way to live. According to Vegan Action, "animal waste from massive feedlots and factory farms is a leading cause of pollution in our groundwater and rivers."
HuffPost's Lynne Peeples reports that some groups are urging people to eat less meat and cheese to help the environment, with one report estimating that if every American avoided meat and cheese one day a week, it would be like removing 7.6 million cars from the road. Peeples writes, "The production of meat and dairy requires the use of large amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water, and it releases greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) writes that vegetarianism and veganism can help save the planet by reducing human contribution to climate change. "Forests are being bulldozed to make more room for factory farms and feed crops to feed farmed animals, and this destruction causes soil erosion and contributes to species extinction and habitat loss. Raising animals for food also requires massive amounts of food and raw materials," the site says.
The animal cruelty that goes along with factory farming is also a huge issue. PETA writes: "On today's factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and confined to wire cages, gestation crates, barren dirt lots, and other cruel confinement systems … The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories."
Check out some lucky animals that made a great escape from factory farms to now live in sanctuaries. While these few survived, according to PETA estimates, another 16 billion animals will be killed this year in the U.S. for food:
Yvonne, a six-year-old cow from Bavaria, is pictured here in August while she was on the loose. She escaped before being slaughtered at a farm in May, and eluded authorities for three months. She is now at an animal sanctuary.
From AP: "Lucky Lady," a seven month-old lamb found wandering around in the Bronx, poses for a portrait while eating in her temporary digs, a cage at Animal Care and Control of New York City, a rescue organization for animals in New York, Wednesday, June 13, 2007. Shelter director Liz Keller said the lamb caught a break. She apparently escaped from a live animal market where she would have been sold for food. Now she is bound for the sanctuary of a farm in upstate New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
From AP: Police officers look on as one of two pigs that escaped from a slaughterhouse is lifted over a fence by an unidentified animal aid worker after being recaptured near Malmesbury, England Friday, Jan. 16, 1998. The escapades of the two pigs - nicknamed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Pig - have been taken up enthusiastically by British newspapers and television channels, since they escaped from the slaughterhouse by squeezing under a fence and swimming across a river over one week ago. The escapees will spend the rest of their days in an animal sanctuary. (AP Photo)
This Jan. 9, 2006 photo shows Famous bovine Molly B. at Mickey's Packing Plant after escaping the slaughter house and leading authorities on a chase through Great Falls, Mont. Five years after a cow dubbed the "Unsinkable Molly B" leapt a slaughterhouse gate and swam across the Missouri River in an escape that brought international acclaim, the heifer has again eluded fate, surviving the collapse of the animal sanctuary where she was meant to retire. Molly B is among an estimated 1,200 animals removed from the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue northwest of Missoula in recent weeks as part of a massive effort to bail out its overwhelmed owners. (AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune, Rion Sanders)
Street dogs seen at a dog shelter in the village of Harilac, Kosovo, on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, after they escaped the fate of fellow dogs which have become the target of a campaign to cull street dogs in Kosovo. Authorities in Kosovo's capital of Pristina say 190 street dogs have been shot and killed in the first three weeks of a culling campaign that has been harshly criticized by animal lovers, but officials claim the city is plagued by packs of dogs that often attack people.(AP Photo / Visar Kryeziu)
In this photo taken Aug. 7, 2010, in Millstadt,Ill., Buck, a 4-year-old horse, shakes himself of dust after rolling around in the arena at Mid-America Horse Rescue. Buck's retirement last month was the latest in his odyssey that took him from narrowly escaping a trip to a Mexican slaughterhouse in 2007 to becoming a Chicago-area racehorse, his best showing during a half-dozen or so races coming in May when he finished third at Arlington Park. Buck will undergo retraining starting next month that's meant to make him a showhorse. (AP Photo/Jim Suhr)
A calf literally runs for his life in the streets of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, causing a police chase. Animal Control seized the frightened animal and handed him over to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, where he was given a name -- "Herbie," and will be able to experience life. Spare other animals like Herbie from a violent death at the slaughterhouse -- go vegetarian. 95 saved lives per year will be due to your choice of a compassionate diet. Go to these web-sites for more information: woodstockfas.org farmsanctuary.org tryveg.com goveg.com
"Watkins Glen, NY - January 9, 2007 - On Saturday, January 6, Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, welcomed Joey the goat to its New York Shelter. A young goat around six months old, was found on Wednesday, January 3, wandering among pedestrians in Brooklyn, New York in a busy intersection on Hoyt Street. The Brooklyn branch of Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) was called in to rescue him, after receiving a call from a local resident. Joey is a Boer goat, a larger breed originally from South Africa. Given his ear tag, Brooklyn AC&C determined he must have escaped a slaughterhouse," according to Animal Liberation Front.