This article focuses on the animal cruelty, health, psychological and social consequences, as well as environmental consequences of an animal-based diet. Animals are intensively bred and raised in factory farms in the most inhumane ways. By far, the greatest numbers of animals reared and killed by humans every year is for human consumption. The numbers are estimated to be greater than 56 billion animals globally. The cruelty involved in the intensive farming of animals is the most widespread form of cruelty imposed by humans on other species. This has significant implications for who we are as a species. Moreover, the belief that humans need to consume animal products to maintain good health has been seriously questioned over the past few decades. It is also a lifestyle choice that is responsible for significant damage to the environment. In contrast, a strong evidence base exists to show that a plant-based diet is health promoting and sustainable. Thus, by cultivating a culture of compassion toward nonhuman animals, current and future generations will benefit through better physical and psychological health and through markedly reduced damage to the planet and all of its inhabitants.

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