Veganism is a concept that is met with scepticism, disbelief and even ridicule, in a world where it seems but natural to use animal products. Since the beginning of civilisation, we have domesticated animals for our needs, and the practice continues. As harmless as it seems, the animal use industry has taken a cruel turn over the past few decades.

Most of us are blinded by our assumptions of what the animal industry really does to bring to us what we see on the shelves. I want to open the eyes of people, and talk about what happens behind the curtains of the products we buy, not to brainwash them into making a decision that I want, but to educate them on what they are endorsing by using these products. I want to speak about the true implication of the consequences such a large lifestyle decision will bring, not only in the life of the decision maker, but also so many other lives.

Many of my traditional cuisines, both Emirati and Indian, I have noticed are primarily vegan. These diets are usually the ones that are the most nutritious (and comforting). This speaks volumes about the supposed necessity of dairy and meat in our diet. A vegan diet goes beyond just keeping us healthy, it prevents a large number of diseases, and enhances physical strength, all the while, tasting incredible.

There are misconceptions that have been rooted into our psyche, myths, that profess the need for a non-vegan diet, while, in most people the exact opposite is true. “Vegetables hold the key to life and robust health,” says Christina Pirello, a vegan and an Emmy Award-winning host of the American television cooking show Christina Cooks.

A vegan diet plays an enormous role in leaving behind a small carbon footprint, helping us fulfil our duty towards conserving the Earth. Every day being vegan can save, 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land and the lives of animals.

Which brings us to my last and most important reason to turn vegan – ethics, because above all, veganism is a philosophy, a moral code. Basic rights state that every being has a right to life and against exploitation. In fact, these rights form the fundamental basis of a humane society. A vegan diet soothes the conscience that we have repressed regarding this issue, by giving ourselves weak alibis saying “that’s the circle of life”, or simply “But it tastes so good”. This systematic breeding and oppression of animals, not only in the food industry, but also in the entertainment, fashion, pet industries, will seem as harrowing to us in the future as human genocide in the past does to us now.

- The reader is a 14-year-old student based in the UAE