1. Lawyers who seek to save the planet should be vegan. Modern cattle production produces large amounts of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and is the second leading cause of global warming.[i] A recent United Nations study suggested that “a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from…the worst impacts of climate change.”[ii] Environmental law is a growing practice area and those lawyers looking to truly help the environment should consider adopting a vegan diet and treat it as important as decisions to recycle or ride a bike to work.
2. Staying healthy and living longer are vital to a vibrant legal career. We know that being a lawyer is demanding and stressful. Why exacerbate that by consuming foods that will zap your energy and clog your arteries? Diets that are high in animal products and processed foods are rich in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and low in fiber. These diets increase the risk of chronic diseases[iii] that are likely to lead to death.
3. Better food choices leads to more compassion… and social justice lawyers should be compassionate. Of course, there are exceptions. However, generally, people, who are making daily conscious decisions to abstain from using animals for human purposes and who reject the abuse of animals in food production, will seek to be more compassionate in other areas of their lives, including their work.
4. Veganism is consistent with other social or ideological causes. As leaders in our communities, attorneys with certain values should seek to live in accordance with their values wherever possible. If you say you love animals, then perhaps it is hypocritical to cook one up, put it on your plate, and eat it for dinner. If you seek to improve the environment, then eliminating meat from your diet can contribute to your cause. If you call yourself non-violent, then shun the violence that done to factory farmed animals. If you are a feminist, take a look at a video of a baby calf being ripped from its mother shortly after birth, punched into submission as it cries for its mother—who is being prepped up for yet another forced pregnancy. Enough said.
5. Because it’s the right thing to do. Going vegan is a great commitment to make to yourself and your world. It does not take much to make the change, nor does it take much to maintain the lifestyle. Many of the statements to the contrary are misstatements from those who have
[i] Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathetic Civilization the Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis 478 (Tarcher 1st ed. 2009).
[ii] Felicity Carus, UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet, The Guardian (Jun. 2, 2010), available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet.
[iii] Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, Being Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet 19 (Book Publishing Co. 2000).