Being a vegan means more than just what we will or will not eat. We are careful to avoid animal products in our clothing, personal care items, and more. We adopt animals from the shelter, rather than purchasing them from breeders. Circuses, aquariums, and zoos are no more entertainment than they are luxury resorts for the animals kept captive there.
For many vegans, the dietary and lifestyle choices are enhanced by an active life of protest: writing politicians, signing petitions, participating in rescues, rallies, and demonstrations. These are critical times, and victories happen often for the animals. But the moment we stop letting our voices be heard, we stand to lose ground.
And while it may seem that GMOs—genetically modified organisms—are not necessarily an animal rights issue, consider the following:
Of the tens of billions of animals raised around the world each year for food, most of them (at least in the U.S.) are fed diets high in GMO seeds and grains. Many dairy cows still receive the rGBH growth hormone, which was genetically engineered by Monsanto. Plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, made the discovery of an "unknown organism" being found in livestock animals that leads to miscarriages and other potentially painful conditions.
Farmers have reported significant improvement in the health of their animals when taking them off a GMO diet. A well-publicized story of a Danish farmer who transitioned his pigs off of GMO soy shed light on some of the issues farm animals face. And while the ideal, of course, is no farm animals at all, making sure the ones who are forced into the food system suffer less is of significant value.
Cancer.org reports that cows who are given rGBH—the controversial growth hormone—suffer more cases of the painful udder infection, mastitis. This creates a greater need for antibiotics—which many animals are already resistant to because antibiotics are overused in livestock feed. This means harder to treat and longer lasting painful infections.
GMO salmon could soon be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption in the U.S. food supply. The fish, engineered by Aqua Bounty Technologies poses a risk to marine life. If any of the fish escape their ocean cages, they could breed with other fish, and become part of the food chain, passing on issues with their GMO genes into countless other species.
Pesticides and herbicides, which are applied heavily to GMO crops, have been linked with not only a number of human health issues, but also disrupting our natural environments. They're believed to be the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, which is wiping out bee colonies worldwide. They're also connected with a decrease in butterfly, bird, and bat populations.
The vegan diet runs the gamut—from raw foods to the more processed mock-meats. More than 80 percent of the soy produced in the U.S. is now genetically modified. That means chances are you’re eating it occasionally, if not regularly. There are numerous health concerns over exposure to GMO foods—including cancer. As well, GMO foods are pesticide-sprayed foods, which isn't good for your health. The animals need all the healthy vegan support they can get, so step up to March Against Monsanto on May 25th and let them know that their corporate food has no place in a vegan's diet.Learn more at http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettingerLearn more about Jill Ettinger
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