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: