At VegMarket, our central belief is that plant-based diets focusing on organic produce offer unparalleled benefits, not only to animal welfare, but to our own mental and physical well-being, as well as our planet’s ability to sustain future generations.
Food isn’t what it used to be
Many of our parents remember the days when meat was a luxury reserved for Sunday dinners and significant occasions, rarely enjoyed more than once a week. Before the rise of the food industry, human subsistence was more in line with the ecosystem’s natural rhythms: cultivating seasonal vegetables, not with synthetic materials, but with the help of one or two animals to till and fertilize the family field. This was a sustainable way of life, rooted in a balanced & mutually-beneficial symbiosis between different parts of a whole: humans, animals and plants.
Today this balance has shifted. Technological innovation and intensive production methods have revolutionized food, offering the important benefit of a more stable and reliable food supply for our world’s population, but at what cost?
Whilst there are benefits to consuming red meat on occasion, due to its high content in complete proteins, it is widely accepted that its regular consumption is detrimental to our health: it is even ranked as a Group 2A carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Processed meat on the other hand -whether red or white – commonly found in today’s markets, has been ranked as a Group 1 carcinogen since 2015, alongside alcohol, asbestos and tobacco. With regards to agricultural products, the rise of intensive farming has made the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides on food crops more prevalent than ever, causing severe harm to our own health and polluting the environment.
Animal farming is a major contributor to environmental pollution, deforestation, climate change, and the depletion of land and freshwater resources. A recent study conducted at the University of Oxford into the effects of animal farming on our planet concluded that “avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth”. To put this into perspective, it is estimated that three major meat companies (JBS, Cargill, Tyson) emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than the whole of France. More worryingly, such companies are predicted to become the leading contributors to climate change, surpassing even the fossil fuel industry.
While intensive animal farming is the clear food-industry leader in activities harm to the environment, it would be neglectful not to address the detrimental effects of modern, industrial agriculture. It was mentioned that large-scale monoculture, and the irresponsible use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides (facilitated through genetically engineered plant resistances) severely damage the environment. Such practices degrade soil conditions and nutrient-contents (making fruit & veg less nutritious), reduce biodiversity, pollute lakes and rivers, and put the whole ecosystem off-balance.
Last but not least, it is a sad truth of our world that a staggering 56 billion land animals are raised in captivity and slaughtered each year in factory farms, under terrifying and inhumane conditions.
Some of the horrors these animals endure on a daily basis under the guise of ‘making farming more efficient’ include (but are not limited to):
-The life-long confinement of chickens to cages too small to turn around or stretch their wings in, with nothing to stand on but a metal mesh flooring that digs into their feet. They are debeaked and fed through tubes to stop them pecking at each other as a result of the stressful conditions.
-The annual cycle of artificially & forcibly inseminating cows, only to traumatically separate them from their calves at birth.This is to achieve maximal milk yields before milk production drops (~10 months after calving), at which point they are reimpregnated (after a short “drying off” period).
To be clear, we are by no means ascribed to a view in which there is no place for animal and/or non-organic produce. As recent converts ourselves, we recognise the difficulties of trying to eat organically and plant-based in this day and age: not only do you have to place limits on your everyday comforts and pleasures, but you also have to pay more, and go out of your way for it. That is why here at Vegmarket, we have made it our mission to aid whoever is interested in this undertaking, by doing our best to provide affordable access to a wide range of healthy and sustainable alternatives that are just as delicious – and far less hard to swallow than – the foods we have all come to love.