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Why Should You Choose Vegan?

by Georgia Collings

3% of the world live their life as a vegan, do you? Veganism is considered, by those who adhere to it, a lifestyle, not just a diet. Veganism involves not eating anything that comes from or is related to animals, including fish and insects. No meat, eggs, dairy, or honey. But it goes further than that. No leather clothes, furniture or accessories, no fur, and avoiding cosmetics and other products that are tested on animals. Many even refuse to watch circuses or rodeos as they believe they’re cruel to animals.

Veganism can seem pretty intense and restrictive, which is why a lot of people shy away from it. However, this way of living is catching on, and the number of people who are cutting back on their animal consumption, even if they’re not fully vegan, is growing. 14% of the population are claiming to be “flexitarian” – they are reducing the amount of animal products they consume (though not cutting them out entirely) for the sake of the planet.

The environmental impact of farming animals for food is huge. The billions of cows, sheep and pigs farmed worldwide is the single biggest contributor of methane, which impacts our ozone layer. Farming also guzzles water and results in a lot of deforestation. Many people are trying to reduce their meat consumption to help prevent damage to the planet, rather than feeling they want to save the animals.

When it comes to cosmetics, people have been asking for cruelty-free products for decades. When we think about animal testing, it’s easy to conjure up an image of flower-child hippies freeing rabbits from an imposing lab that surely does unspeakable things to the innocent bunnies. Most products have now gone cruelty-free, but many are (sneakily) not vegan. Ingredients like lanolin, carmine, casein, keratin and others pop up in most cosmetics and seem harmless, yet they’re not actually vegan as they’re all derived from animals and insects.

But if you’re not vegan, then what’s the harm? Why should you be choosing vegan products anyway? I mean, who cares about crushed beetle wings in eyeshadow, right?

Well, vegan cosmetics generally have fewer ingredients, all of which are natural and don’t tend to expire like animal products do. Take sunscreen for example; a non-vegan sunscreen can have an ingredients list that takes up half the tube. A vegan sunscreen will usually have zinc oxide, a carrier oil or two, and maybe some stabilizing ingredients or specialty ingredients like witch hazel for specific skin concerns. Additionally, vegan products tend to be better for sensitive skin as they contain less ingredients, and according to dermatologists, are better tested for skin safety. Vegan cosmetics are also more likely to be biodegradable, safe for our water ways, and non-toxic. The packaging, too, is usually eco-friendly because companies that care about vegan products, care about the planet too. Best of all, they’re not tested on animals.

So even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, cruelty-free, organic and vegan cosmetics are the way of the future. Your eco-footprint can be lessened a little just by choosing vegan personal-care and cosmetic items, and you might even find some new favourites.

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