A vegan world is coming. All public schools in New York City have been serving at least one vegan dish since last year. More than a fourth of all evening dinners in the United Kingdom were meat-free, according to BBC News.
But how exactly does veganism affect us purrents? And does the world going vegan also affect the cats in our lives?
Apparently, it does! Here are five ways eating meat, dairy, and poultry affects our fur-babies.
Our cats might never eat fish after 2048 if we don’t go vegan
Can you imagine our oceans without any fish? It’s not some twisted sci-fi plot; a 2006 report published in National Geographic says we might see fishless oceans 30 years from now!
We consume about 100 million tons of ocean fish each year, according to a 2012 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). What’s worse is that we hurt even the ocean creatures we don’t want to eat: For every pound of fish we get from the ocean, about five pounds of unintended catch become by-kill, according to a 1997 study published by FAO. These collateral deaths include about 650,000 dolphins, seals, and whales each year.
Veganism keeps our cats from getting fried by UV Rays
It is so easy to forget that we all share the same planet. Whatever happens to it will affect every single one of us—plants, humans, and animals, including our beloved cats.
Unfortunately, our acquired taste for meat harms our planet more than we might want to accept. Developing countries like the Philippines make the highest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 75 percent of emissions from cattle and 56 percent from poultry and pigs, according to a 2013 article published in Time Magazine.
Funny how cow farts are poking holes in our atmosphere and allowing ultraviolet rays to one day fry us alive!
Going vegan means our cats will always have food
Our population is exploding, but our land remains finite. The more people there are, the more land we will need to build houses and grow food. As it is, we are already feeding our cattle the very food that we could have fed the hungry.
The land we use to feed and grow livestock already takes up almost half of our planet, according to a 2011 brief by Philip Thornton, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen published by the International Livestock Research Institute. One-third of the earth has already turned to deserts, according to a 2012 general assembly at the United Nations, with animal agriculture as the leading driver as reported by Richard Oppenlander in 2013. Soon, we will run out of land, and we will run out of space to grow animals for food.
While we may survive feeding on plants alone, our cats, being obligate carnivores, won’t. Between humans and cats, who do you think will go hungry first if we continue to enjoy steak and fried chicken?
Veganism ensures our cats can “weather the weather”
Given the rate our trees are disappearing, all our rainforests are bound to vanish in the next 100 years, according to National Geographic. In the same report, we find out what one of the biggest drivers for deforestation is: animal agriculture.
Two other reports—one from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and another from the Wageningen University and Research Center—declare livestock to be the greatest contributor to the loss of forests all over the world.
Too bad trees not only absorb greenhouse gases, but also block the harmful rays of the sun during the day while keeping warmth from dissipating too fast at night. Without rainforests, temperatures are bound to peak and dip more than usual, making the world less habitable for many plants and animals (including our feline friends).
Going vegan teaches us compassion for all animals-cats included
Every cat person who has had to deal with a neighbor (or a five-star hotel for that matter) who tried to kill cats for being “pests” knows that compassion for felines isn’t as common as we need it to be. Expand the problem to include all other animals and you are face-to-face with a society that has effectively and efficiently normalized cruelty, thanks to how we choose to nourish ourselves.
It has been difficult for me to unlearn that eggs and bacon are perfect for breakfast. It took time before it all finally started to sink in. But after the tough lessons came the best one that veganism had to teach me: compassion for all the other sentient creatures I share this planet with.
Imagine a world where nobody wants to kill animals just to enjoy meat. Wouldn’t that be a world that’s definitely much safer for any cat?
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s June 2018 issue.