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Essays About Veganism: Top 5 Examples and 10 Prompts

Veganism is on the rise. See below for our great examples of essays about veganism and helpful writing prompts to get started. 

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from animal-based foods and products. The movement originated from the philosophies against using animals as commodities and for capitalist gains. Now a booming industry, veganism promises better health benefits, a more humane world for animals, and an effective solution to global warming. 

Here is our round-up of essays examples about veganism:

1. A Brief History of Veganism by Claire Suddath

2. animal testing on plant-based ingredients divides vegan community by jill ettinger, 3. as vegan activism grows, politicians aim to protect agri-business, restaurateurs by alexia renard, 4. bezos, gates back fake meat and dairy made from fungus as next big alt-protein by bob woods, 5. going vegan: can switching to a plant-based diet really save the planet by sarah marsh, 1. health pros and cons of veganism, 2. veganism vs. vegetarianism, 3. the vegan society, 4. making a vegan diet plan, 5. profitability of vegan restaurants, 6. public personalities who are vegan, 7. the rise of different vegan products, 8. is vegan better for athletes, 9. vegans in your community, 10. most popular vegan activists.

“Veganism is an extreme form of vegetarianism, and though the term was coined in 1944, the concept of flesh-avoidance can be traced back to ancient Indian and eastern Mediterranean societies.”

Suddath maps out the historical roots of veganism and the global routes of its influences. She also laid down its evolution in various countries where vegan food choices became more flexible in considering animal-derived products critical to health. 

“Along with eschewing animal products at mealtime, vegans don’t support other practices that harm animals, including animal testing. But it’s a process rampant in both the food and drug industries.”

Ettinger follows the case of two vegan-founded startups that ironically conducts animal testing to evaluate the safety of their vegan ingredients for human consumption. The essay brings to light the conflicts between the need to launch more vegan products and ensuring the safety of consumers through FDA-required animal tests. 

“Indeed, at a time when the supply of vegan products is increasing, activists sometimes fear the reduction of veganism to a depoliticized way of life that has been taken over by the food industry.”

The author reflects on a series of recent vegan and animal rights activist movements and implies disappointment over the government’s response to protect public safety rather than support the protests’ cause. The essay differentiates the many ways one promotes and fights for veganism and animal rights but emphasizes the effectiveness of collective action in shaping better societies. 

“Beyond fungus, Nature’s Fynd also is representative of the food sustainability movement, whose mission is to reduce the carbon footprint of global food systems, which generate 34% of greenhouse emissions linked to climate change.”

The essay features a company that produces alternative meat products and has the backing of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Al Gore. The essay divulges the company’s investments and plans to expand in the vegan market while providing a picture of the burgeoning alternative foods sector. 

“Experts say changing the way we eat is necessary for the future of the planet but that government policy is needed alongside this. If politicians are serious about wanting dietary changes, they also need to incentivise it, scientists and writers add.”

The article conveys the insights and recommendations of environmental and agriculture experts on how to turn more individuals into vegans. The experts emphasize the need for a whole-of-society approach in shifting more diets to vegan instead of putting the onus for change on an individual. 

10 Writing Prompts on Essays About Veganism

Here is our round-up of the best prompts to create interesting essays about veganism: 

While veganism has been a top choice for those desiring to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle, some studies have also shown its detrimental effects on health due to deficiencies in specific vitamins. First, find out what existing research and experts say about this. Then, lay down the advantages and disadvantages of going vegan, explain each, and wrap up your essay with your insights.

Differentiate veganism from vegetarianism. Tackle the foods vegans and vegetarians consume and do not consume and cite the different effects they have on your health and the environment. You may also expand this prompt to discuss the other dietary choices that spawned from veganism. 

The Vegan Society is a UK-based non-profit organization aimed at educating the public on the ways of veganism and promoting this as a way of life to as many people. Expound on its history, key organizational pillars, and recent and future campaigns. You may also broaden this prompt by listing down vegan organizations around the world. Then discuss each one’s objectives and campaigns. 

Write down the healthiest foods you recommend your readers to include in a vegan diet plan. Contrary to myths, vegan foods can be very flavorful depending on how they are cooked and prepared. You may expand this prompt to add recommendations for the most flavorful spices and sauces to take any vegan recipe a notch higher. 

Vegan restaurants were originally a niche market. But with the rise of vegan food products and several multinational firms’ foray into the market, the momentum for vegan restaurants was launched into an upward trajectory—research on how profitable vegan restaurants are against restos offering meat on the menu. You may also recommend innovative business strategies for a starting vegan restaurant to thrive and stay competitive in the market. 

Essays About Veganism: Public personalities who are vegan

From J.Lo to Bill Gates, there is an increasing number of famous personalities who are riding the vegan trend with good reason. So first, list a few celebrities, influencers, and public figures who are known advocates of veganism. Then, research and write about stories that compelled them to change their dietary preference.

The market for vegan-based non-food products is rising, from makeup to leather bags and clothes. First, create a list of vegan brands that are growing in popularity. Then, research the materials they use and the processes they employ to preserve the vegan principles. This may prompt may also turn into a list of the best gift ideas for vegans.

Many believe that a high-protein diet is a must for athletes. However, several athletes have dispelled the myth that vegan diets lack the protein levels for rigorous training and demanding competition. First, delve deeper into the vegan foods that serve as meat alternatives regarding protein intake. Then, cite other health benefits a vegan diet can offer to athletes. You may also add research on what vegan athletes say about how a vegan diet gives them energy. 

Interview people in your community who are vegan. Write about how they made the decision and how they transitioned to this lifestyle. What were the initial challenges in their journey, and how did they overcome these? Also, ask them for tips they would recommend to those who are struggling to uphold their veganism.

Make a list of the most popular vegan activists. You may narrow your list to personalities in digital media who are speaking loud and proud about their lifestyle choice and trying to inspire others to convert. Narrate the ways they have made and are making an impact in their communities. 

To enhance your essay, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing . 

If you’d like to learn more, check out our guide on how to write an argumentative essay .

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Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.

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Blog > Common App , Essay Advice > How to Write a Great College Essay About Veganism

How to Write a Great College Essay About Veganism

Admissions officer reviewed by Ben Bousquet, M.Ed Former Vanderbilt University

Written by Kylie Kistner, MA Former Willamette University Admissions

Key Takeaway

People become vegan for a number of reasons. For some, it’s a deeply held personal choice, while for others it’s simply a matter of taste.

If you’re vegan, chances are that it’s a topic that’s important to you. You may even be wondering if veganism is something you should write about for your college essay.

Your college essay should be about something you are most passionate about, and veganism can allow you to talk about a core part of your values.

But veganism is also a fairly common topic that can at times be difficult to extract an original and meaningful message from.

Like any common topic, there are pros and cons to writing a personal statement about veganism. The topic isn’t off the table, but some approaches are more effective than others.

Where College Essays About Veganism Can Go Wrong

To achieve the goals of a personal statement, a college essay about veganism has to be about more than just your veganism.

After all, you are vegan for a reason. Something about the practice resonates with you at a deeper level. That significance is what you should focus on.

Two of the most common approaches to writing a college essay about veganism miss this mark because they rely too much on generalities instead of your deeply-held and identity-based reasons for being vegan.

“Why I became vegan”

The first ineffective approach is the surface-level “why I became vegan” or “how veganism changed my life” framework.

If veganism is something important to your lived experience, then it’s only logical that you’d want to write your college essay about what led you to be vegan or the specific ways being vegan has improved your life.

That is valuable. But too often essays that follow this approach give only common-knowledge reasons for being vegan. In doing so, they fail to address something truly meaningful about the writer.

A 2018 poll found that 3% of American adults identified as vegan, up from 2% in 2012. Your admissions officer is very likely familiar with the most common reasons behind veganism, so sharing this kind of surface-level answer is inadequate.

Unless you truly interrogate how veganism connects to a broader part of who you are, then your essay will leave an admissions committee wanting.

“Why you should be vegan”

The second common trope to avoid is the simple persuasive approach to “why you/everyone should be vegan.”

Maybe you do think everyone should be vegan. Maybe it’s even the belief that has sparked your interest in studying environmental science or food studies.

Because this topic carries a lot of weight, writing about why people should act a certain way takes a lot of time and care that is typically not possible in a personal statement.

A persuasive essay about veganism also says too much about others and not enough about who you are, so it’s best to find another approach.

Overall, college essays about veganism can go wrong when they make an admissions committee say, “That’s great! But now what?”

If you only write about your veganism, you leave the admissions committee with more questions than answers about who you are and why they should admit you.

Before you begin your college essay about veganism, you should consider asking yourself two questions:

How does my veganism relate to a larger part of who I am?

  • And what do I want admissions officers to do with that information?

Using these questions as a guiding framework, let’s discuss two ways to go about writing your essay.

Effective ways to approach your college essay about veganism

Background and identity.

One way to make an essay about veganism stand out is by connecting your veganism to another significant part of your background or identity.

Instead of writing generally about why you became vegan, allow veganism to be only part of your more complex story.

Drawing these connections for the admissions committee will give them more genuine insight into who you are and what motivates you.

Consider the “how” and “why” behind your veganism to identify the value or motivation that is most central to you.

Did you go vegan after watching Food, Inc.?

Or maybe you grew up on a farm and your veganism is because of (or in spite of) your upbringing.

Or perhaps you simply have a dairy allergy and don’t like the taste of meat.

In all of these cases, the compelling story is not that you are vegan. Your veganism is compelling because it developed in a context that is specific to you.

Let’s plug the Food, Inc. example into our questions:

I went vegan after watching Food, Inc. > I watched Food, Inc. in health class. > I cried during the documentary because I felt bad for the animals that were being treated poorly. > I love my veganism because I can actively live out my compassion for animals.

And there it is! A compelling, motivating part of your identity: your compassion.

And what do I want admissions officers to do with this information?

I want admissions officers to know that I am deeply compassionate towards animals. > This compassion is a guiding principle for how I move throughout the world.

With these two questions answered, you have a seedling for your essay. If you find that your answers to the questions actually aren’t that compelling, then you might consider a different topic.

Related Interests

The second effective way to approach your essay about veganism is to relate it to a specific academic or co-curricular interest.

Your veganism can then be a vehicle through which you talk about another topic related to your goals and passions.

This approach is effective because it allows you to discuss something you’re personally passionate about (veganism) and connect it to another part of yourself (your interest or accomplishment) that gives the admissions officers more reason to admit you.

Probably the most popular connections are wanting to study environmental science or biology or being a climate or animal rights activist.

Let’s try the questions again:

I’m vegan. > I’ve joined and now lead an online community of vegans. > I’ve developed an academic interest in niche communities and am interested in learning more about them.

I have an extracurricular accomplishment managing an online community of 5,000+ members. > My veganism has led to a budding interest in the psychology and sociology of online groups.

Again, you’ve found the seed. You can use your newfound connections as the foundation of your college essay.

Key Takeaways

Veganism is deeply important to many people. If you’re one of them, it’s okay to write your college essay about it.

While some approaches are better than others, essays about veganism are still fairly common.

So if you choose to write one, make sure that you root your essay in genuine and specific examples that clearly illustrate how your veganism connects to a core part of you.

In the end, your college essay about veganism should showcase another value, belief, or interest that you hold deeply. Once you’ve determined what that looks like for you, check out our other resources for writing a college essay and creating a cohesive application narrative .

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Friday essay: on being an ethical vegan for 33 years

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Professor of Literature and Environment, Curtin University

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John Kinsella receives funding from Curtin University under the auspices of a Curtin Research Fellowship.

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I live in a vegan family situation. I have been a vegan for over 33 years and my partner, poet and novelist Tracy Ryan, has been a vegan for over a quarter of a century; our 16-year-old son Tim was conceived and born a vegan, and remains one.

If you ever doubt it’s his choice, ask him — he’s eloquent on his veganism, and has angles on it we don’t, neither Tracy nor I having been born vegans. Tracy has always had a deep interest in nutrition, and raising children vegan has been a deeply informed life-act — done with respect for their rights as well as animal rights. We don’t use animal products in any way we are aware of. Rather than seeing our food, clothes, shoes, working materials, as animal-product “alternatives”, they are our norms.

Over the decades we have seen and heard it all when it comes to the arguments and attacks on veganism. Really, people find their own way through such things as they do if they hold any committed ethical position that is about principle and not style.

One of the first that vegans encounter is the specious argument about denying children before a certain age a choice in the matter, that veganism is forced on them.

It’s such an obvious reply: Aren’t you forcing your carnivorism (or more accurately, omnivorism) on your children? They are also not given a choice — people make decisions for their children before they are empowered (informed enough) to make decisions for themselves. It is possible to have a balanced vegan diet, and even back in the mid-80s, vegan sources of B12 and other more complex nutritional requirements were available.

But the point of this article is not for the fors and againsts, because these are well attested, and even the most slipshod research skills will reveal what is and isn’t the case. Rather, this is an account of long-term veganism in the context of the recent increase (last five or so years) in vegan consciousness, and availability of vegan foods.

Actually, vegan food has always been available, of course, just in raw and rudimentary and unrefined ways — what we are talking about in the “now” is the mass replacement of mass slaughterhouse products with non-slaughterhouse products that “equate” and move from being “faux” meat (protein), or ersatz, to food definitions and realities in their own terms. That’s what has industry scared and reactive.

Personally, I have a problem with all industrialisations and capital processes of market — the fetishisation of products that increase wealth rather than answer needs — but it is this “mass” that so upsets animal-exploitation, agri-industrialism. Little of it is cultural, outside profit-making. Arguments about what’s best for the planet are placed far down the list of priorities, as the fossil-fuel desire shows.

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Casting aside the gun

There are exceptions, and cultural beliefs that do need to be respected. When I began being a vegan, I was outwardly proselytising; now I am only so in my writing and via how I live. I have learnt that respecting others’ journeys is the only way that long-term change comes.

That’s an argument for all ethical issues, and it could be argued that all killing must be stopped immediately or we simply appease our own consciences at the expense of being concerned about our own behaviours — many mass murders have taken place as people let their nation’s military go about its business outside their personal scrutiny, as that scrutiny is confronting to undertake.

Ethical positions are not “cults”; cults are the control of others to remove their capacity for personal choice – but it is a paradox to see veganism called a cult by meat-eaters who have been part of an industrial slaughter-cult all their lives.

Ironically, I come from a background of fishing and hunting (and became a vegan while living in a house on a dairy farm: witnessing). I was obsessed with guns when I was a child and a teenager — I wanted to become an army officer. My turning away from these values was conscious and specific — by my late teens and early 20s, I was a committed vegan, anarchist, and pacifist. I found my way there via the paradox of loving animals (I always have) and exploiting them (to my mind).

My poetry was tracking my concern, so my poetry helped in the decision-making — that old argument of poetic language expressing the inexpressible. When I wrote of casting aside the gun, of leaving animals be, it was because I had – but also to articulate and mark it. To give a sign in word as well as thought and action. A constant reminder of how and why I’d got to that point of change.

vegan essay conclusion

This was not easily the case — as an alcoholic in former days, I was aggressive, often in trouble, and confrontational. I got sober 24 years ago so I could better hold the values I believed in. It wasn’t an easy journey, but one in which I knew I had to reduce my own hypocrisies. And that’s it; that’s where a lot of misunderstanding manifests between vegans and non-vegans — it’s not a holier-than-thou situation, but a move towards being less impacting, less damaging, and more respectful of life.

I’ve actually known vegans quite violent (towards people), and I have rejected their positions because of this unresolved hypocrisy; but this has been rare.

And even in these cases, in time if they stayed vegan (they often didn’t), they moved away from their own anger and aggression and lived a life more in tune with their values. I say this because veganism is both an ethical position, and a position that eventually calls on a variety of consistencies with regard to how we treat people, who are, after all, animals too.

Nutmeat, palm oil and an ethics of commitment

A lot of older vegans will talk about the 80s as being a time of Nutmeat, avocados, and bananas, of boiling pulses to make protein patties to add to the steamed veggies, of reading labels carefully because there wasn’t the vegan certification process (or “market” for that to be insisted on) back then.

Sure, it is nice to be able to go out and eat more “cheffed” foods from supermarkets and in restaurants, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, and you still weigh up issues such as processing, origins and cultivation methods, and air-miles.

If we fall into dependence on mass food production processes, then ultimately we will damage animals in other ways. A classic example is that of palm oil — so essential to many processed vegan foods (as indeed non-vegan). The destruction of habitat to increase palm oil production eventually led to a call for palm oil that’s non-exploitative (of people and ecologies) — a regulation.

People survive the best way they can, and as with so many raw food materials, those containing palm oil are sourced in less wealthy zones to feed wealthier ones — capitalist exploitation works fast to adjust to new markets.

So any veganism not in tune with these issues quickly becomes an appeasement of one’s own conscience while hiding from the potential for damaging impacts. The response has to be holistic — vegan food producers need to work with non-vegans and different cultural realities to ensure transitions that don’t damage in other ways.

vegan essay conclusion

This is not wisdom from on high; it’s just decades of seeing faddism and change, of people calling themselves vegan when they don’t closely consider what’s in a “product”, or deploying the terms as a social definition while allowing themselves “exceptions to the rule”, or, say, eating honey (an animal product!).

Point is, “vegan” means something, and of course be whatever you are, but let’s let a term represent a value we can share and understand. Play with language by all means (that’s what writers do!), but not with the ethics of commitment.

Mobile phones, whose raw materials destroy whole communities and habitats in their extraction and manufacture, are an example of a contradiction with the new spreading of the message of veganism — we have to find a way to a common understanding of cause and effect. It’s a big and complex picture that tussles with the obvious fact that an animal hurt or killed is an animal hurt or killed.

Mutual respect

Veganism intersects with many cultural attitudes, and diverges from many others, across the globe, but mutual respect is, in my experience, an unassailable value.

I have never tried to force anyone to eat vegan, yet attempts have been made to shame me into not eating vegan, in order not to offend my hosts. I have never compromised my ethical position, but I have gone to great effort to explain my position and my desire not to offend a host.

That was early on — now I carefully have discussions before, say, sharing an eating space with those who have invited me about how and why I eat (and don’t eat) what I do. An intercultural conversation needs to be had. Confronting? Surely, in a pluralistic society we have these conversations to ensure respectful co-awareness all the time? If not, then we probably should. I have no problem in being forward about who and what I am — in fact, I see saying so as a sign of respect for my hosts.

The bottom line in all this, for me, for my family, is animal rights. We live among animals but keep none — they are part of the world around us and we wish to have no control over them.

vegan essay conclusion

We deal with “pests” in non-invasive and non-damaging ways, and we work towards a consistency of respectful interaction. That’s to do with seeing no hierarchies of control, no speciesist superiority. Then you get the unthought-out attack-mode on saying such a thing (seriously): Are you saying if a lion was attacking your baby, you’d do nothing? Well, of course I would… What do you expect? Would I be cruel and seek to hurt and exploit the lion? No. Anyway!

Giving a minority report on UK TV

Living in the UK in the late 90s, we were invited to appear on the television program Susan Brooks’s Family Recipes. We went up to Manchester from Cambridge, and the chefs, Susan and her daughter, prepared us a vegan meal on set, and we sampled it and discussed what it was like being a vegan family. It was a fascinating experience because of the warm attitude to how we lived, coming from a “regular” cooking program.

Britain has long been more in tune with vegan living (the term “vegan” was coined by UK Vegan Society co-founder Donald Watson in late 1944), but in the 90s it was still very “minority”. If we were not part of the dissenting opinion, we were still giving a minority report. At the same time I spoke to the Vegan magazine about being a poet and a vegan, and how it informed my writing practice. There was a context. And it was broad in its conception — if you wanted medical research without vivisection or abuse of animals, you could support the Dr Hadwen Trust !

Such contexts are still being created in Australia — the aggressive response from some people to veganism accords with a macho public culture that seeks to manipulate markets to defend old colonial land usage and the machinery of animal pastoralism. In this, I am not commenting on individuals nor even communities, but on the machine of capitalism and its empowered defenders.

A stunning (I use no words carelessly, I think) example is the case of vegan activist James Warden who said he was was provided with no vegan food options while in a Perth prison — this is control, this is oppression, and this is the state protecting its ongoing colonial interests. There is a disconnect between traditional hunter-gatherer societies and the mass consumer, export-import underpinnings of colonial capital. It is the latter that concerns me because I have been part of it.

vegan essay conclusion

The New Veganism

There’s a new generation of vegan activists in Australia who have quickly been turned into public enemies — they are targeted by media, police, and government , and seen as interfering with what amounts to an ongoing sell of Australian values. As a poet, I’ve tried to speak through poetry in support of these activists, while also recognising that I come from a very different space through being older and longer-term in my activism.

I live in rural Australia, and co-exist with farmers and people who eat and use animals. Not in the house I share, and not on the Noongar land where I live, and which I acknowledge is not “mine”. But nearby. They know who we are and how we live, and we offer an alternative. Animals find refuge if they look for it. It’s their place, too.

The conversation is ongoing, persistent, and there’s no compromise in our position, but it’s also respectful of other people’s humanity, their free will, and their journeys. They are not us and we are not them. I will stand in front of a bulldozer to save bush, and I will live next to a bulldozer driver.

Each of us can only offer one another examples of alternatives. That’s how real change comes; that’s how fewer and fewer animals will suffer. But in this crisis mode of biospheric collapse, the reason there are more and more vegans is that the time has come to act. And people are acting. Others will too, because they see a need and want to, not because they are told to. Bullying happens in many directions at once.

vegan essay conclusion

If I see a problem with the New Veganism it’s a possible connection with presentation and social monitoring. Social media try to direct, but also dilute the commitment of person to person, person to animal, person to real place where animals live.

Veganism doesn’t need “influencers” — though if anything stops animals being exploited, it’s a good thing. But as we — Tracy and I and Tim — see each animal as an individual with their own intact rights, as we see people, we also see the collective, the community, the herd, the hive, the loner, the gregarious… all these “types”… we also see the interconnected fate of the biosphere.

Technology that promotes veganism that consumes the planet is, for us, an irresolvable contradiction. A lot of thinking needs to be done around this — and modes of presentation and discussion need to be considered as well. The slaughterhouse is obvious and hidden; it is literal and a metaphor that can become real for all life in sudden ways.

Just a positive to finish with. I have crossed Australia many times (though not recently) by train, as I avoid flying here (to lessen eco-damage impact), and I have done so with much pre-prepared vegan food.

But the train caterers were always willing to make “bespoke” food for me, to supplement my food stash. The door to a broader veganism in “Western” societies has actually long been open — and if Western capitalism could learn from many non-capitalist, non-Western cultures, not only would they find much precedent sometimes on a very large scale, but also much communal goodwill around the choice of what we eat, and why we do or don’t eat it.

And to reiterate my support for the new generation of vegan activists looking to intervene in non-violent ways to stop the pastoral-factory exploitation of animals, I wrote this poem which appeared through PETA. I am not on social media, but they took it into that realm, the realm of style, influence, but also loss and consumer endgame if people are not wary.

I am here now for the young vegan activists saving animals from slaughter I am here now because a young human interrupted my journey to the slaughtering, hoisted me over their shoulders and carried me towards animation. I am here now my eyes dilating fast to take in this extension to life — and the blood of my kin is a river never divided. I am here now because an intervention drew out the length of my days; the things I have learnt we have taken — we breathe the same air as our dead. I am here now because the young humans are rising peacefully from their screens to step into the killing zones, to bend down and lift us back to the light.

This piece has been corrected. It initially read that the term “vegan” came from postwar UK. In fact, it was coined by UK Vegan Society co-founder Donald Watson in 1944.

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  • Emelia Quinn 6 &
  • Benjamin Westwood 7  

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature ((PSAAL))

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The conclusion recounts, in brief, the main aims of the collection: to establish veganism as a more complicated form of identity than is often supposed, to explore the intellectual resonances of its inconsistencies and complications, and to trace the ripples of the contemporary vegan moment across the humanities. By way of closing, Quinn and Westwood draw out three further questions raised by the essays, namely: its openness to painful or “wounding” knowledge, veganism’s performative nature, and the relation between vegan subjectivity and academic inquiry.

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See, for example, José Esteban Muñoz , Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity, (New York, 2009), Lauren Berlant , Cruel Optimism (Durham, 2011), and Michael Snediker, Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minneapolis, 2009).

Gary Steiner, Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism (New York, 2013), p. 63.

J. M. Coetzee. The Lives of Animals (Princeton, 2001), p. 69.

Cora Diamond, “The Difficulty of Reality and the Difficulty of Philosophy,” Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas 2, no.1 (2009): 22.

Sara Salih, “Vegans on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: From the Margins to the Centre, eds. Nik Taylor and Richard Twine (Abingdon, 2014), p. 55.

Ibid., p. 60.

Works Cited

Berlant, Lauren. 2011. Cruel Optimism . Durham: Duke University Press.

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Coetzee, J. M. 2001. The Lives of Animals . Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Quinn, E., Westwood, B. (2018). Conclusion. In: Quinn, E., Westwood, B. (eds) Thinking Veganism in Literature and Culture. Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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vegan essay conclusion

BEING VEGAN: A personal essay about veganism

flower of life mandala

I wear a necklace that spells out the word vegan. People peer at it and ask me, “Are you vegan?” It seems like an odd question, but people find vegans odd. When I respond that I indeed am a vegan, the comeback reply I dread most is when the person lists the animal products they eat, and how they couldn’t live without chicken or cheese.

In the cut and thrust of talk about food, I’ll then respond that the chicken is the body of an animal who wanted to live. That cheese is made from milk, a nutritious sustenance meant for a mother to give her newborn calf. If the baby cow was male, he was slaughtered for veal.

The slaughtering of baby animals is a good way to end what could escalate into an uncomfortable conversation neither of us really wanted to have.

Few of us are born vegan, and those who choose to become vegan usually do so following a personal epiphany, perhaps in the wake of a health crisis, or after meeting and befriending a farm animal whom one might formerly have considered food. That was my route. I was 40 before I understood that I was living a lie, claiming to love animals on the one hand, and eating them on the other. Today, veganism brings me peace of mind and a nice circle of friends.

I find it regrettable that vegans are so widely disliked in the mainstream media, but I’m not surprised. Our insistence that animals are neither objects nor ingredients is a perspective that people find challenging and even subversive. Our choice not to eat or wear animals challenges people to think about their own relationship to animals.  Most people love animals. Most people don’t want to think about animals being gruesomely treated and slaughtered. Faced with a vegan, the non-vegan has to think about that. Or else thrust such thinking into the depths of the psyche, and quick.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, on a weight-loss campaign to shed some of his 300 pounds, hurriedly dismissed two PETA-sponsored vegans who brought him a basket of vegan treats during one of his weekly weigh-ins. He wouldn’t even look them in the face. He abruptly dismissed a question from a reporter about veganism and retreated into his office.  He skipped a subsequent weigh-in.

His Honour could have relaxed a little. Veganism is a way of life that is not forced on anyone. We don’t come to your house with flyers or make robo-calls. We’re not funded by some giant corporation. We’re people who care deeply about animals, and about the people who have nothing to eat because so much of the corn and grain grown in North America goes to feed livestock, not hungry children.

Vegans mean it when they say they love all animals. A recent vegan advertising campaign showed a dog or cat facing a pig or chick, and underneath was the caption: “Why love one but eat the other?”


The questions we raise bother people. One commenter on a social media forum wrote:

“Those who don’t eat meat, I can empathize with you but you also need to get off your soapboxes.”

I relish the irony of being told to get off my soapbox from someone who is firmly planted on theirs. Non-vegans have been doing more than their fair share of “preaching” for centuries. In our day, McDonalds and Burger King push their beliefs and products on me dozens of times a day through TV and newspaper ads, and coupon flyers stuffed into my mailbox.

The Canadian government forces me to subsidize the meat and dairy industries through taxation. Non-vegans have preached and promoted their point of view on such a large scale that they have successfully hidden the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries from public view.

When I’m responding to an item in the newspaper about the subject of veganism, someone in the next comment box will inevitably ask me why I bother with animals when there is so much human suffering in the world. I love that question because it allows me to explain that I see animal liberation and human liberation as being intertwined.

The great physicist Albert Einstein famously said: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” He also held the view that not eating animals would have a physical effect on the human temperament that would benefit the lot of humankind.

The vegans I know care about injustice, enslavement, and oppression, no matter what the race, ethnicity, or species of the victim. When someone argues with me that human problems take precedence, I have to turn the argument on its head and ask not only what that person is personally doing to alleviate the suffering of human beings, but why they feel the heartless exploitation of other animals should continue even so. Humans are hurting, so kindness to animals must therefore be abandoned?

The most ridiculous argument that I hear is that plants have feelings too. To which I quote the answer provided by vegan food writer Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who asks, in an episode of her podcast devoted to what she calls excuse-itarians—“ Really? Really?”

Animals are sentient and plants are not. Sentient beings have minds; they have preferences and show a desire to live by running away from those who would harm them, or by crying out in pain. Plants respond to sunlight and other stimuli, and apparently they like it when Prince Charles talks to them, but they are not sentient; they don’t have a mind, they don’t think about or fear death, they aren’t aware and conscious.

Finally, there’s the argument of last resort: that eating flesh is a personal choice. If it were my personal choice to kick and beat you, would you say to me “that’s your personal choice”? Being slaughtered for food is not the personal choice of the billions of animals that just want to live their portion of time on Earth.

Being vegan has changed not only what I eat and wear, but how I cope with the anger, outrage, dismissal and verbal abuse of others.

I’m learning, as I go, to let it all go. I speak out where I feel my words will do the most good, and if all else fails, I’ll simply smile and say, “Don’t hate me because I’m vegan.”

[su_panel background=”#f2f2f2″ color=”#000000″ border=”0px none #ffffff” shadow=”0px 0px 0px #ffffff”]Bonnie Shulman is a writer and editor working in Toronto. She earned her Master of Arts degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. You can follow her on Twitter at @veganbonnie .

image:  rian_bean (Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)

The biggest issue for me in the whole politics of eating is the divide that’s created among people solely based on their choice of diet. To be vegan or non-vegan shouldn’t matter. Like any labels I wish they didn’t even exist. But of all the unnecessary labels, to have to use the word vegan is pretty sad. What one chooses to eat is a personal choice that doesn’t hurt anyone else, yet some people blow it up into such a big issue.

I wish people didn’t get so annoyed at vegans because it just contributes even more discord to this world. The only upside I see is that when people single out vegans and get defensive it at least causes them to think and talk about veganism.

Hi Breathe:

I agree that discord between people isn’t pleasant. Yet that is the end result of being an advocate for animals. I want to put a stop to the wholesale torture of animals on factory farms. To do that, I have to take a stand. I have to stand up and declare myself for animals. I have to campaign about the abuse, so that more people know what goes on behind those walls where pigs and chickens never see the light of day their entire lives. Speaking up for animals makes some people uneasy, and they get angry. On the other hand, some people, meat eaters included!, appreciate the stance I take. I say meat eaters too because even good people who eat meat don’t want animals to suffer as they do in the current conditions on factory farms. Watch any video by Mercy For Animals and you’ll see what I mean. It’s horrifying.

Thanks for your response. Take care.

First, I appreciate that you’re willing to stand up for animals. It takes courage and it’s a thankless job, which is why so few do it.

As I mentioned, I see the benefit to standing up for animals and I don’t discourage that. What I was getting at is how can we advocate while maintaining peace? How can we raise our communication to a higher level?

Saying the V-word pisses people off. It always has… maybe always will because people just don’t like to think that they’re in the wrong. Defensiveness is one of the ego’s most potent tricks. It has the power to disprove even the most solid logic. And so, enemies are built. The point is not even to build “allies” because that too is separation. We’re all humans doing the best we can with the resources we have at work. So the question is how do we advocate for animals by overcoming this ego battle? For me, that just means loving them, being in nature, connecting to them and sharing my love for them. Now I don’t believe that this is making a world of difference or anything. The whole issue of animal rights is no easy situation to deal with and I’d just like to think of different ways of doing things.

Breathe, you ask the million dollar question. And you hit the nail on the head: advocacy can lead to icky feelings between people! I once passed by a demonstration against wind farms, and I asked someone with a picket sign why she was against wind farms, and she kind of spat in my face with disgust at my question. Naturally, I am ALL FOR windfarms now (haha – I actually was before the incident).

May I recommend a great book? It’s my advocacy bible and I have a review on about it. I think it really addresses what you talk about – we have to change the world for animals without alienating people. I am not perfect, I admit, but I hand out vegan food at work and leave easy vegan recipes in the servery. That helps! Food is good! I’ve even got some people to try out Meatless Mondays, without even asking them to do so. They just thought it was cool to give vegan food a try. They love it now.

Here’s the book:

The Animal Activist’s Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World by Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich. These are the top advocates that I know of, and I respect them so much. They are brilliant people who understand that we must not lose touch with people in our animal advocacy. Again, they are the masters. I bow to their wisdom!

Thanks for writing!

Breathe, When you are in a non vegan diet what one chooses to it hurt innocent animals. It took me a while to connect the dots. I was not always a vegan, but becoming a vegan was a moment of brilliance that it is one of the best things that has ever happen to me. I can not keep exploiting animals.

I don’t hate anyone because they are vegan. But the vegans hate me because I insist that eating meat is natural for humans. Being vegan is a choice. Eating meat is a choice.I respect yours but do you respect mine? Your article is again full of accusations. Up to today I never got an answer to the questions: How does a vegan think about a Lion eating a Zebra? How does a vegan think about a cat eating a mouse or a bird? And why do they think different about a human eating a cow or a chicken? Humans are omnivores since millions of years. And please spare me the – how did you cal it “The most ridiculous argument ” that our bodies, our teeth etc are not made for meat. We eat it since millions of years for heavens sake! When do people accept that eating meat is our natural food? Yes we can chose to not eat meat. Yes I do accept that. But it is a choice! And if you want to tell me that I hurt animals by killing them then you have to accuse a Lion as well. And by the way, dairy is not our natural food. I agree with you on this. Not because we steal it from the mothers but because it is not natural and that’s why so many people are dairy intolerant. It is natural to be weaned off dairy products. But we do not have a great number of people who are meat intolerant. Because it is part of our natural diet.

Dear Peter:

When a lion eats a zebra I am distressed at the images of the kill, but I let it go because that is the way of the lion world. They cannot grow plants and raise crops. I am not angry at the lion for having its dinner. I find it pretty ridiculous that you would even think that. Also, people are not lions, so why do you even bring that up as an argument?

What do I think about a cat eating a mouse or bird? if it is a domestic cat I’m infuriated, because there so many farm animals are being slaughtered already, the by-products of which go into animal food readily available at stores. The decrease in the number of North American songbirds has been attributed largely to household cats.

If meat is a natural part of our diet, why do so many people thrive the minute they give it up? Also, why are so many of our hospitals stuffed to the gills with people requiring heart surgery? Only a minor percentage were born with heart defects. Among the rest, many gorged on such meat products as steaks, bacon, sausages and chicken fingers, as well as high-fat dairy, until their bodies rebelled.

I see my article has made you very angry. If this doesn’t prove my point then I don’t know what does. Thank you for writing, PeterNZ.

Question for you – would you be able to go right now, pounce on a cow, pig, etc.’s back, chomp through their hide/skin with your teeth to their muscle and eat it without cooking it? If your answer is NO (which it should be if you are human), well then there is your answer. Next, just because something has been done for millions of years, does not mean that it is right. Humans have done MANY things for millions of years that have been considered atrocities (sadistic Roman gladiator games, slavery, etc.). Were those things okay? These are just excuses. Believe me, I understand, as I made excuses my whole life…Done with that!

Bella I am a completely normal human being and i would be more than happy to go to my local supermarket and eat food that they provide, as this is what is normal for our culture. let me just quote, one of the most reliable sources possible “In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team announces the discovery of burned plants and bones from 1 million years ago. Their findings suggest that Homo erectus?not Homo sapiens or Neanderthals?became the first hominin to master flames, possibly in order to cook their food.” as my ancestors have done I would happily cook the meat so that the food becomes safe for my consumption, I agree with you in the concept that no human would go and pounce on a wild animal and sink their teeth into them as this is not what a normal human would do. I personally if it was down to survival would light a fire and cook the meat so that I could enjoy the delicacy that has been provided to me by nature. just this weekend i have enjoyed one of my favourite meals that does meat in it. i would suggest some of the recipes from this site as i have found them the best

In your responses try to not be so aggressive as your way of life is far from the main stream and preferred way of living 🙂

also note to the author of this post, don’t try and act like your not trying to bring attention to your self, your twitter name is legitimately “veganbonnie”.

We vegans don?t hate u guys but we just wish non vegans to understand how the animals have to suffer and have to end their precious life just for the food u eat. and don?t compare humans with loins we humans can think rationally and we have can grow crops .. we have many options but the lions don?t have any options.. we respect your choice to eat meat but animals do not exist for humans and our uses. Animals also have moral rights to live in this world as much as human have.

Human beings have a variety of options when it comes to getting protein into their bodies – rice paired with lentils, chickpeas or any kind of bean forms a perfect protein. There is also tofu, and a lot of soy products are viable alternatives for those who are not allergic to soy. We cannot educate a wild animal such as a lion, to grow, harvest and ferment soybeans. Or chickpeas. This argument is silly. Lions hunt based on instinct. Human beings are more advanced (arguably) and therefore, we can use our more advanced brains to make food choices that do not cause harm to other living things. We have many instincts that we can overcome, and that we have overcome in order to be able to live in “civilized” societies.

Eating the flesh of a living thing is a personal choice that kills an innocent creature. There is nothing inherently wrong with your choice. But don’t get defensive when someone points out this fact.

Fact: You choose to place your tastebuds and your personal enjoyment over the life of another living creature, because you view yourself as more advanced and therefore entitled to consume flesh.

You do not need to feel guilty about your choice. Just be honest about it, and accept the moral consequences. That’s all. Meat may have been eaten by humans since the dawn of time… but historical precedent is not, in my mind, a valid excuse by which to continue justifying a behaviour.

In a similar vein, women have been treated as property since the dawn of time as well. Men are more powerful and indeed women did not always hold legal personhood status throughout history. So we should continue in the same vein, no? But this argument doesn’t fly today. Why? Because we know better, so we can act better. The same goes for the meat argument.

Your dietary implications may not be clean and pretty, but if you’re going to stand firm in your position, stick to it 100%. Do not waver, and do not speak about naturally being an omnivore. Just because you CAN eat it, enjoy it and thrive on it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD continue to do so. If we are enlightened beings, as we all like to claim to be, we should be held to a higher moral standard. If we do not want to hold ourselves up to that standard, that is fine.

P.S. Before you begin to assume things about me I will tell you that no, I am not a vegan. Why? Because I love eating fish, and cheese on occasion. But I don’t apologize for it. I know I can live without it, and I know that I am making a personal, selfish choice in the face of cruelty and suffering.

Laura, your reply is so beautifully heartfelt, and I read it with great interest. I love your honesty. Part of my animal advocacy is just asking people to be honest with themselves about the choices they make.

I also think you make a critically important statement that really hits the nail on the head. I’ll repeat it here:

Just because you CAN eat it, enjoy it and thrive on it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD continue to do so.

Thank you for contributing such wise words to the conversation, and all the best.

This is so inspiring! I am a loyal vegetarian and have been for almost 9 years, I really feel deeply moved by it! I’ve thought about becoming Vegan but on a strict competitive national training programme it could be difficult, but you’ve definitely persuaded me to give it a go! Thank you for your thoughtful insight!

I just wanted to voice my support and appreciation for this article. With your stance and mine, putting the word “vegan” out in the world is going to make people angry. Anything different makes people angry. But if that anger ever leads to them making sure they understand the implications of their actions, it is worth it. It is worth it if they think.

I have had a close friend of mine tell me that he honestly believes in mind over matter. He also said he couldn’t ever stop eating meat. That self-limitation is stopping the human race from doing great things. WE must think through our actions, because we are the only species who can. Do what is right, because we are able.

Can people really be okay with eating a being that loved its mother? I always hypothesize a world were people could speak to animals and I ask the meat eater “Tell that animal to its face that it was born for the purpose of dying and feeding you, only for a single day, before you eat its children.”

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Arguments For and Against Veganism

For veganism.

  • ANIMAL WELFARE: Eating meat requires the death of a living being. Eating dairy usually involves animals being separated from their children, causing distress to both mother and calf. Dairy cattle frequently develop bovine mastitis (a painful infection and inflammation of the udders), and factory farmed animals are kept in cramped conditions and pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones in order to maximise profit. Unlike wild animals, humans do not require meat to survive (and definitely not dairy products from other animals). Eating meat is a choice and, as moral actors, the correct choice is surely to give up meat and dairy.
  • ENVIRONMENT: When cows eat grass, microbes in their gut break down their meal and produce methane. This methane (a greenhouse gas) is released into the atmosphere via the magic of cow burps and farts, making livestock farming one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Factor in deforestation from land clearance, biodiversity loss, and air and water pollution, and animal agriculture is terrible for the environment.
  • HEALTH: Vegan diets tend to be rich in foods that have proven health benefits: fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and pulses. A vegan diet is typically higher in fibre, and  lower  in cholesterol, protein, calcium and salt compared to a non-vegan diet. Research suggests that vegans may have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegans. It is true that vegans need to supplement their diets with B12, but this is easy to do (e.g. via yeast extracts such as Marmite).

AGAINST Veganism

  • NATURE: Humans (and our ancestors) have eaten meat for an estimated  2.6 million years . In fact, scientists argue that animal protein was vital for helping early hominids develop larger brains, meaning that humans likely wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for eating meat. We evolved to have meat as part of our diets. Animals eat meat and it would be cruel to prevent them from doing so. Well, guess what? Humans are animals too, and meat is a natural part of our diets.
  • CULTURE: Food is a central part of all human cultures. And, around the world, people celebrate their cultures by cooking meat dishes. If the world went vegan, we would lose iconic cultural traditions such as bolognese sauce, tandoori chicken, sashimi, currywurst, and Peking duck.
  • HEALTH: A balanced diet is a healthy diet. Eating moderate amounts of fish, meat, and dairy alongside fruit, vegetables and pulses gives us all the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other things we need to stay healthy. Research does suggest that vegans have a lower risk of heart disease, but that same research also indicates they have a higher risk of strokes (possibly due to B12 deficiency), and it’s unclear whether the supposed health benefits of veganism are anyway less about diet and more about broader lifestyle (e.g. vegans tend to exercise more, be non-smokers, not drink to excess, be more moderate in what they consume, etc.).

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  • Sample Essays

Vegetarianism Essay

This is a model  vegetarianism essay .

As I always stress, you should  read the question very carefully  before you answer it to make sure you are writing about the right thing.

Take a look at the question:

Every one of us should become a vegetarian because eating meat can cause serious health problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Staying on topic

If you rush to start writing and don't analyse the question and brainstorm some ideas you may include the wrong information.

There are religious or moral arguments for not eating meat, but if you discuss those you will be going off topic .

This question is specifically about the health problems connected to eating meat.

So you must discuss in your answer what some of these problems are and if you think there are real health risks or not.

Knowing about the topic

IELTS Vegetarianism Essay

And don't get worried that you do not know much about diet and health.

As part of your IELTS study it will help if you know the basics of most topics such as some health vocabulary in this case, but you are not expected to be an expert on nutrition.

Remember, you are being judged on your English ability and your ability to construct an argument in a coherent way, not to be an expert in the subject matter. So relax and work with


In this vegetarianism essay, the candidate disagrees with the statement, and is thus arguing that everyone does not need to be a vegetarian.

The essay has been organised in the following way:

Body 1: Health issues connected with eating meat (i.e. arguments in support of being a vegetarian Body 2: Advantages of eating meat

Now take a look at the model answer.

Model Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Vegetarianism Essay - Sample Answer

Vegetarianism is becoming more and more popular for many people, particularly because of the harm that some people believe meat can cause to the body. However, I strongly believe that it is not necessary for everybody to be a vegetarian.

Vegetarians believe that meat is unhealthy because of the diseases it has been connected with. There has been much research to suggest that red meat is particularly bad, for example, and that consumption should be limited to eating it just a few times a week to avoid such things as cancer. Meats can also be high in saturated fats so they have been linked to health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

However, there are strong arguments for eating meat. The first reason is that as humans we are designed to eat meat, which suggests it is not unhealthy, and we have been eating meat for thousands of years. For example, cavemen made hunting implements so that they could kill animals and eat their meat. Secondly, meat is a rich source of protein which helps to build muscles and bones. Vegetarians often have to take supplements to get all the essential vitamins and minerals. Finally, it may be the case that too much meat is harmful, but we can easily limit the amount we have without having to cut it out of our diet completely.

To sum up, I do not agree that everyone should turn to a vegetarian diet. Although the overconsumption of meat could possibly be unhealthy, a balanced diet of meat and vegetables should result in a healthy body.

(264 words)

You should begin by intoducing the topi c. The introduction in this vegetarianism essay begins by mentioning vegetarians and the possible harm of eating meat .

It then goes on to the thesis statement , which makes it clear what the candidate's opinion is.

The first body paragraph has a topic sentence which makes it clear that the paragraph is going to address the possible health issues of eating meat.

Some reasons and examples are then given to support this.

The second body paragraph then has a topic sentence which makes it clear that the main idea is now about the arguments for eating meat .

The conclusion in this vegetarianism essay then repeats the opinion and gives the candidates final thoughts.

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Sample IELTS Writing: Is spending on the Arts a waste of money?

Sample IELTS Writing: A common topic in IELTS is whether you think it is a good idea for government money to be spent on the arts. i.e. the visual arts, literary and the performing arts, or whether it should be spent elsewhere, usually on other public services.

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Paying Taxes Essay: Should people keep all the money they earn?

Paying Taxes Essay: Read model essays to help you improve your IELTS Writing Score for Task 2. In this essay you have to decide whether you agree or disagree with the opinion that everyone should be able to keep their money rather than paying money to the government.

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The (AI) sky isn’t falling

Students using generative AI to write their essays is a problem, but it isn’t a crisis, writes Christopher Hallenbrook. We have the tools to tackle the issue of artificial intelligence

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In January, the literary world was rocked by the news that novelist Rie Qudan had used ChatGPT to write 5 per cent of her novel that won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize. The consternation over this revelation mirrored the conversations that have been taking place in academia since ChatGPT was launched in late 2022. Discussions and academic essays since that time have consistently spoken of a new wave of cheating on campus, one we are powerless to prevent. 

While this reaction is understandable, I disagree with it. Students using AI to write their essays is a problem, but it isn’t a crisis. We have the tools to tackle the issue.

AI is easy to spot

In most cases AI writing can be easily recognised. If you ask multipart questions, as I do, ChatGPT defaults to using section headings for each component. When I grade a paper that has six section headings in a three- to five-page paper (something I have experienced), I see a red flag. ChatGPT’s vocabulary reinforces this impression. Its word choice does not align with how most undergraduates write. I’ve never seen a student call Publius a “collective pseudonym” in a paper about The Federalist Papers , but ChatGPT frequently does. AI is quick to discuss the “ethical foundations of governance”, “intrinsic equilibrium” and other terms that are rare in undergraduate writing if you haven’t used the terms in class. Certainly, some students do use such vocabulary. 

One must be careful and know one’s students. In-class discussions and short response papers can help you get a feel for how your students talk and write. Worst-case scenario, a one-to-one discussion of the paper with the student goes a long way. I’ve asked students to explain what they meant by a certain term. The answer “I don’t know” tells you what you need to know about whether or not they used AI. 

  • Resource collection: AI transformers like ChatGPT are here, so what next?
  • Rather than restrict the use of AI, let’s embrace the challenge it offers
  • AI did not disturb assessment – it just made our mistakes visible

Even when you can’t identify AI writing so readily, you will likely fail the paper on its merits anyway. I’ve found ChatGPT will frequently engage with the topic but will write around the question. The answer is related to what I asked about but doesn’t answer my question. By missing the question, making its points in brief and not using the textual evidence that I instruct students to include (but I don’t put that instruction in the question itself), ChatGPT produces an essay that omits the most essential elements that I grade on. So even if I miss that the essay was AI generated, I’m still going to give it a poor grade.

The summary is ‘dead and buried’

Careful consideration and structuring of essay prompts also reduce the risk of students getting AI-written work past you. A simple summary of concepts is easy for ChatGPT. Even deep questions of political theory have enough written on them for ChatGPT to rapidly produce a quality summary. Summaries were never the most pedagogically sound take-home essay assignment; now they are dead and buried. 

Creativity in how we ask students to analyse and apply concepts makes it much harder for ChatGPT to answer our questions. When I was an undergraduate student, my mentor framed all his questions as “in what manner and to what extent” can something be said to be true. That framework invites nuance, forces students to define their terms and can be used to create less-written-about topics. 

Similarly, when responding to prompts asking about theories of democratic representation, ChatGPT can effectively summarise the beliefs of Publius, the anti-federalist Brutus or Malcolm X on the nature of representation, but it struggles to answer: “Can Professor Hallenbrook properly represent Carson? Why or why not? Draw on the ideas of thinkers we have read in class to justify your answer.” In fact, it doesn’t always recognise that by “Carson”, I am referring to the city where I teach, not a person. By not specifying which thinkers, ChatGPT has to pick its own and in my practice runs with this prompt, it used almost exclusively thinkers I had not taught in my American political thought class.

Ask ChatGPT first, then set the essay topic

I select my phrasing after putting different versions of the question through ChatGPT. Running your prompt through ChatGPT before you assign it will both let you know if you’ve successfully created a question that the generative AI will struggle with and give you a feel for the tells in its approach that will let you know if a student tries to use it. I’d recommend running the prompt multiple times to see different versions of an AI answer and make note of the tells. It is a touch more prep time but totally worth it. After all, we should be continually re-examining our prompts anyway.

So, yes, ChatGPT is a potential problem. But it is not insurmountable. As with plagiarism, some uses may escape our detection. But through attention to detail and careful design of our assignments, we can make it harder for students to use ChatGPT to write their papers effectively and easier to spot it when they do.

Christopher R. Hallenbrook is assistant professor of political science and chair of the general education committee at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

If you would like advice and insight from academics and university staff delivered direct to your inbox each week, sign up for the Campus newsletter .

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85 Vegetarianism Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

For a vegetarianism essay, research paper, or speech, check out the titles our team has provided for you below.

📍 Great Research Questions about Vegetarianism

🏆 best vegetarianism essay topics & examples, 📌 interesting topics for essays on vegetarianism, 👍 good vegetarian essay topics.

  • What are the key types of vegetarians?
  • How do you get animal proteins as a vegetarian?
  • Why do some people hate vegetarians?
  • What are the ecological benefits of vegetarianism?
  • Is a vegan diet affordable for the middle class?
  • What are the health benefits of eating meat?
  • Are there any unsolvable issues regarding a vegan diet?
  • What is the best vegetarian food?
  • How do you deal with the risk factors of a vegetarian diet?
  • What are some myths about veganism?
  • Vegetarianism Health Benefits It is going to be argued that; Being a vegetarian is good for health since it leads to the prevention of obesity and overweight, developing strong bones, prevention of heart disease, having cancer protection, having […]
  • Vegetarian vs. Meat-Eating While meat is a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins, it also results in many adverse effects to the human body.
  • Why You Should Not Be a Vegetarian To conclude the above, it is important to note that vegetarianism refers to a form of food culture in which the individual eschews animal products.
  • Vegetarianism and Its Causes The first cause to discuss is connected with economic reasons or the inability to include meat in everyday diet. Many vegetarians share the opinion that a meat-based diet is a sign of inhumanity.
  • Vegan vs. Vegetarian Diets: Impacts on Health However, vegetarians have the option of consuming animal products like eggs and milk, but this option is not available to vegans; vegetarians tend to avoid the intake of all the animal proteins.
  • Can Vegetarian Diets Be Healthy? The analysis of the effectiveness of such a nutritional principle for the body can confirm, or, on the contrary, refute the theory about the advantages of vegetarianism and its beneficial effect on body functions.
  • Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Healthier Diet The first and foremost is that a vegetarian diet is one of the best weapons that can be used against overweight and obesity.
  • Benefits of Vegetarianism Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and in spite of enormous research efforts and many treatment options, there is still no guaranteed cure for the disease.anou and Svenson assert that in […]
  • Vegetarian or Meat Eaters Contrary to the belief that meat is a great source of proteins, the quality of the protein in meat products is considered to be very poor since there is lack of proper combination of amino […]
  • Vegetarianism Relation with Health and Religion These are the vegans, the lacto vegetarians, and the Lacto-ovo vegetarians. Apart from the explained contributions to health, vegetarian diets are also instrumental in checking blood pressure, aiding digestion, removal of body toxins and betterment […]
  • Target Market for the “Be Fine Vegan Skin Care” To be competitive in the market and realize profits from the sale of the product “Be Fine Vegan Skin Care” in a competitive market, marketing executives analyze and design a market plan that is strategically […]
  • Worldwide Vegan Dairies: Digital Marketing Of particular importance is the promotion of vegan cheese in Australia, where information technology is also developed and the culture of a vegetarian lifestyle is flourishing.
  • The Impact of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets on Diabetes Vegetarian diets are popular for a variety of reasons; according to the National Health Interview Survey in the United States, about 2% of the population reported following a vegetarian dietary pattern for health reasons in […]
  • Harmfulness of Vegetarianism: The False Health Claim According to the article “How vegetarianism is bad for you and the environment”, “Plant-based sources tend to be low in saturated fat, a component of the brain and a macronutrient vital for human health”..
  • Health 2 Go: Vegan Waffles for Everyone All fruits and berries are purchased daily from local suppliers and stored in a contaminant-free unit of the Health 2 Go.
  • City’s Finest as a Vegan Ethical Shoe Brand The brand is focused on authenticity and transparency, producing the shoes locally and sourcing recycled and reclaimed materials that combine the principles of veganism and sustainability.
  • Vegetarian Consumer Behaviour Raphaely states that the advances in agriculture created a threat to the environment, and it is important to study this situation in an in-depth manner.
  • Vegetarian Women and Prevention of Iron Depletion and Anemia Most of the body’s iron exists in hemoglobin, a quarter of the rest exists as metabolized iron-ferritin in the liver and the rest is found in the muscle tissue and selected enzymes.
  • Soul Food: The Origin and Reasons of Vegetarianism This paper explores the origin, the performance of this practice, the solutions this practice offers to the challenges the Indian culture faces, and how vegetarianism reflects the values of the people.
  • Ecological Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet The final level of the food sequence is carried out by organisms that help in the decomposition of the primary; secondary; and tertiary organisms back to the food flow by acting as nutrients and manure […]
  • The Vegetarian Burger – A Product Review The burger also comes with significant nutrient components of Sodium and potassium.The total carbohydrate of the burger amounts to 6g which is 2% of the whole production unit.
  • Vegetarian Diet and Proper Amount of Vitamins Issue This difference was accounted for by 14% lower zinc levels in the vegetarian diet and 21% less efficient absorption of zinc while eating it.
  • Vegan Hot Dogs: Product Marketing The market for vegan hot dogs is a constantly growing market because the younger layer of the population is becoming more adherent to non-meat or vegan food sources.
  • The Vegan Dog Kit Company’s Business Plan According to statistics, the number of vegetarianism in the United States is on the rise: as of 2018, five percent of the population adheres to a meatless diet, with half of them practicing veganism. Evidently, […]
  • Pro-Vegetarianism to Save the Earth While most people agree that population growth is closely connected to the emission of greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment, as they lead to global warming, a rare individual believes that he or […]
  • Moral Status of Animals: Vegetarianism and Veganism The significance of acknowledging the concept of sentience in this context is the fact that vegetarians and vegans accept the idea that animals are like humans when they feel something.
  • Vegetarianism Among Chinese Customers This paper explores the reasons for the rise of vegetarianism among the Chinese. A cross-section of Chinese consumers is also motivated to abstain from meat products because of concerns about the infringement of animal rights.
  • Consumer Behavior Theory: Vegetarianism If this philosophy is extrapolated to the vegetarianism trend analysis, the theory of reasoned action suggests that the rise in the number of vegetarians stems from people’s tendency to associate vegetarianism with good health.
  • “Quit Meat” Vegetarian Diet: Pros and Cons Although many dieticians think that meat is an essential nutrient, the reality is that it is inappropriate to eat animals because it is unhealthy and unethical.
  • Vegan Parents’ Influence on Their Children’s Diet The first reason why a vegan diet should not be imposed on children is that every parent should pay close attention to the needs of their toddlers.
  • Vegetarian Diet: Pros and Cons On the contrary, the study A Comparison of Some of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Vegetarian and Omnivorous Turkish Females by Karabudak, Kiziltan, and Cigerim portrayed that vegetarians had higher risks of hyperhomocysteinaemia and lower […]
  • Positive Reasons and Outcomes of Becoming Vegan Being vegan signifies a philosophy and manner of living that aims at excluding, as much as achievable, any kind of exploitation of, and cruelty against, animals for meat, clothing and other uses while promoting and […]
  • Herb’aVors Vegan Drive-Thru Product Business Model As a result, the wide public will be able to receive the brand-new service with the excellent health promotion characteristics and traditional cultural implications of fast-food. The breakthrough of the offered concept is the vegan-based […]
  • Vegetarian Groups by Motivation To understand the reasons underpinning the popularity of this movement, it is important to distinguish the triggers that make people turn into vegetarians.
  • Vegetarianism and Health The doctors claim that vegetarian diets pose a threat to the health of women since they inflict menstrual disruption as well as infertility.
  • Vegetarian Diet as a Health-Conscious Lifestyle Making a transition from omnivore to vegetarian lifestyle, besides the impact on the person’s health, people consider the public opinion and the community’s reaction on their decision.
  • Vegetarian or carnivorous diet However, a diet rich in meat and animal products has been found to have severe detrimental effects to people’s health. A well balanced diet that incorporates both meat and vegetables is essential.
  • Today’s Society Should Move toward Adopting Vegetarian Diet: Arguments For While it is hard for many people to reduce the necessity of eat meat-based products and to increase the use of vegetables and other vegetarian products, however, there is a necessity “to reconsider the increasing […]
  • Vegetarianism Is Good For Many Reasons For Health, Ethics, And Religious
  • Understanding What Vegetarianism Is and Its Dietary Limitations
  • A History of Vegetarianism: Moral and Philosophy
  • Vegetarianism and the Other Weight Problem
  • The Environmental Necessity of Vegetarianism
  • The Misusage Of The Vegetarianism In Teenage Females With Eating Disorders
  • Determinants of Vegetarianism and Meat Consumption Frequency in Ireland
  • The Dietary Concept of Vegetarianism and the Nutritional Intake
  • Vegetarianism Is The Human Conception For Man ‘s Own Advantage
  • Why Vegetarianism Is Good For You And The Planet
  • Vegetarianism: The Key to a Health-Conscious, Ecological America
  • The Significance of Cow Protection and Vegetarianism in Hinduism
  • Relative Moral Superiority And Proselytizing Vegetarianism
  • Determinants of Vegetarianism and Partial Vegetarianism in the United Kingdom
  • An Analysis of the Three Important Aspects of Vegetarianism
  • Negative Stereotypes of Vegetarianism
  • Vegetarianism Versus Eating Meat
  • The Effects Of Vegetarianism On Health And Environment
  • A Description of Vegetarianism as a Way of Life For Many People For Centuries
  • History And Philosophy Of Vegetarianism
  • Vegetarianism – To Meat Or Not To Meat
  • Arguments in Favor and Against Vegetarianism
  • American Vegetarianism How It Became a Subculture
  • The Benefits of Vegetarianism and Its Main Features
  • The Health and Economic Benefits of Vegetarianism
  • The Main Benefits of Vegetarianism and Its Importance
  • Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism
  • Why Vegetarianism Is Good For Many Reasons For Life
  • The Hidden Politics of Vegetarianism Caste and the Hindu Canteen
  • An Analysis of Vegetarianism as the Best Way To Save Animals Lives and Help the Environment
  • Vegetarianism: Fighting the Addiction to Meat
  • The Earliest Record of Vegetarianism in Ancient History
  • Vegetarianism Is The Modern Diet Plan
  • An Analysis of the Moral and Religious Reasons of Vegetarianism and Its Health Benefits
  • Benefits Of Veganism And Vegetarianism
  • Animal Rights Is A Cause For Vegetarianism
  • Vegetarianism vs Veganism
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2023, September 27). 85 Vegetarianism Essay Topic Ideas & Examples.

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IvyPanda . (2023) '85 Vegetarianism Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 27 September.

IvyPanda . 2023. "85 Vegetarianism Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 27, 2023.

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IvyPanda . "85 Vegetarianism Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." September 27, 2023.

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Bret Stephens

What a ‘Free Palestine’ Means in Practice

The word “Free” is written on a sheet also emblazoned with the Palestinian flag.

By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

Imagine that the campus protesters got their wish tomorrow: Not just “Cease-fire Now” in Gaza, but the creation of a “Free Palestine.” How free would that future Palestine be?

This isn’t a speculative question. Palestinians have had a measure of self-rule in the West Bank since Yasir Arafat entered Gaza in 1994 . Israel evacuated its settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority that same year and Hamas won legislative elections the next.

How much freedom have Palestinians enjoyed since then? They and their allies abroad argue they’ve had none because Israel has denied it to them — not just by refusing to accept a Palestinian state, but also through road closings, land expropriations in the West Bank, an economic blockade of Gaza and frequent Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas.

There’s partial truth to this. Israeli settlers have run riot against their Palestinian neighbors . The Israeli government imposes heavy and unequal restrictions on Palestinians, as my colleague Megan Stack has reported in painful detail . The frequent mistreatment of Palestinians at Israeli checkpoints is a long-running disgrace.

At the same time, Israeli leaders have repeatedly offered the creation of a Palestinian state — offers Arafat and Abbas rejected. Charges of an Israeli economic blockade tend to ignore a few facts: Gaza also has a border with Egypt; many goods, including fuel and electricity , flowed from Israel to Gaza up until Oct. 7; much of the international aid given to Gaza to build civilian infrastructure was diverted for Hamas’s tunnels, and Hamas used the territory to start five wars with Israel in 15 years.

But there’s an equally important dimension to Palestinian politics that is purely domestic. When Abbas was elected in 2005, it was for a four-year term. He is now in the 20th year of his four-year term. When Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections, it didn’t just defeat its political rivals in Fatah. It overthrew the Palestinian Authority completely in Gaza after a brief civil war and followed it up with a killing, torture and terror spree that eliminated all political opposition.

Perhaps the absence of Palestinian democracy shouldn’t come as a shock. The regime established by Hamas isn’t merely autocratic. It’s more like the old East Germany, complete with its own version of the Stasi, which spied on, blackmailed and abused its own citizens.

“Hamas leaders, despite claiming to represent the people of Gaza, would not tolerate even a whiff of dissent,” The Times’s Adam Rasgon and Ronen Bergman reported on Monday . “Security officials trailed journalists and people they suspected of immoral behavior. Agents got criticism removed from social media and discussed ways to defame political adversaries. Political protests were viewed as threats to be undermined.”

Even this doesn’t quite capture the extent of Hamas’s cruelty. Consider its treatment of gay Palestinians — a point worth emphasizing since “ Queers for Palestine ” is a sign sometimes seen at anti-Israel marches.

In 2019, the Palestinian Authority banned an L.G.B.T.Q.-rights group’s activities in the West Bank , claiming they are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.” In 2016, Hamas tortured and killed one of its own commanders, Mahmoud Ishtiwi, on suspicions of “moral turpitude” — code for homosexuality. “Relatives said Mr. Ishtiwi had told them he had been suspended from a ceiling for hours on end, for days in a row,” The Times’s Diaa Hadid and Majd Al Waheidi wrote .

Would an independent Palestinian state, living alongside Israel, improve its internal governance? Not if Hamas took control — which it almost certainly would if it isn’t utterly defeated in the current war. And what if the protesters achieved their larger goal — that is, a Palestine “from the river to the sea”?

We know something about what Hamas intends thanks to the concluding statement of a conference that it held in 2021 about its plans for “liberated” Gaza. Any Jew considered a “fighter” “must be killed”; Jews who flee could either “be left alone” or “prosecuted”; peaceful individuals could either be “integrated or given time to leave.” Finally, “educated Jews” with valuable skills “should not be allowed to leave.”

In other words, what the campus protesters happily envisage as a utopian, post-Zionist “state for all of its citizens” would under Hamas be one in which Jews were killed, exiled, prosecuted, integrated into an Islamist state or pressed into the servitude of a Levantine version of Solzhenitsyn’s First Circle. Those same protesters might rejoin that they don’t want a future to be led by Hamas — but that only raises the question of why they do absolutely nothing to oppose it.

This is not the first generation of Western activists who championed movements that promised liberation in theory and misery and murder in practice: The Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia in 1975 to the cheers of even mainstream liberal voices . Mao Zedong, possibly the greatest mass murderer of the past 100 years, never quite lost his cachet on the political left. And magazines like The Nation eulogized Hugo Chávez as a paragon of democracy.

These attitudes are a luxury that people living in safe and free societies can freely indulge. Israelis, whose freedom is made more precious by being less safe, can be forgiven for thinking differently.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .

Bret Stephens is an Opinion columnist for The Times, writing about foreign policy, domestic politics and cultural issues. Facebook

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May 15, 2024

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New research addresses alleged benefits of a vegan diet for dogs

by University of Liverpool

New research addresses alleged benefits of a vegan diet for dogs

Associations between feeding dogs a vegan diet and owner perceptions of their health are likely to be minimal, according to a new study by the University of Liverpool. The work is published in the journal PLOS ONE .

Scientists at the University reinvestigated data that had been used to claim that a nutritionally-sound vegan diet is "the heathiest and least hazardous dietary choice for dogs ." The findings from this new analysis do not support those earlier claims, with associations between owner perceptions of dog health and feeding a vegan diet instead being minimal.

The previous research , published in April 2022, utilized an online survey of dog owners to gather information about them, their dogs and the type of food they fed to them. Owners were also asked to recall details of their dogs' veterinary care (e.g. number of veterinary visits, use of medication , etc.) and to give an overall opinion about their dogs' health. The results of this original study implied that dogs fed either a raw meat or vegan diet appeared to fare better than those fed a conventional diet.

However, the new analysis by researchers at the University of Liverpool offers further insights.

Alex German, Professor of Small Animal Medicine, said, "On first reading this paper in 2022, it was evident that the study exclusively relied upon owner survey data and had an observational design, meaning that the associations between diet type and dog health could only suggest a possible correlation and not causality.

"In other words, it was not accurate to conclude that 'Nutritionally-sound vegan diets are the healthiest and least hazardous choices for owners to feed their pet dogs.' Further, the statistical analyses used did not explore the effect of possible confounding from other variables, such as the age and breed of the dogs and owner variables including age, gender, education and diet."

The researchers conducted further statistical analyses on the original study dataset, utilizing different modeling techniques to investigate one outcome variable from the original study, owner opinions of dog health. They tested the effects of owner and dog diet, as well as other owner and dog variables, while some models also included veterinary care variables.

Owner opinions of dog health were most strongly associated with the age of the dog, with other variables (such as owner age, owner education, and breed size) also featuring. Model fit was improved when veterinary care variables were included. However, in all best-fit models (with or without the veterinary care variables), the association between owner opinions of health and feeding vegan dog food was minimal.

Commenting on these findings, Richard Barrett-Jolley, Professor of Neuropharmacology, said, "We know how seriously owners take their pet's health. By revisiting and further interrogating these data, we have been able to draw more nuanced insights. Crucially, we cannot draw a firm conclusion as to what diet type is actually best for dogs; this was never possible given the nature of the original dataset and study design . However, we can conclude that variables other than dog diet are more strongly associated with owner opinions about the health of their dog."

The new study underwent a rigorous peer review process, and as per journal policy, the senior author of the original paper acted as a reviewer. Details of the review process as well as statistical analyses and the statistical code used are published alongside the paper.

Journal information: PLoS ONE

Provided by University of Liverpool

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Vegan — The Positive Effects of Being in a Vegan Diet


The Positive Effects of Being in a Vegan Diet

  • Categories: Vegan

About this sample


Words: 1669 |

Published: Oct 22, 2018

Words: 1669 | Pages: 4 | 9 min read

Captivating opening statement or question designed to engage the reader and make them want to read further.

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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The Positive Effects of Being in a Vegan Diet Essay

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vegan essay conclusion

E. B. White is one of the most famous children’s book authors. But he should be better known for his essays.

vegan essay conclusion

I was well into adulthood before I realized the co-author of my battered copy of The Elements of Style was also the author of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web . That’s right, the White of the revered style manual that everyone knew as “Strunk and White” also wrote children’s books…as well as some of the best essays in the English language.

If you’re of a certain age, you might well remember E. B. White’s pointers in The Elements of Style :

Place yourself in the background; write in a way that comes naturally; work from a suitable design; write with nouns and verbs; do not overwrite; do not overstate; avoid the use of qualifiers; do not affect a breezy style; use orthodox spelling; do not explain too much; avoid fancy words; do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity; prefer the standard to the offbeat; make sure the reader knows who is speaking; do not use dialect; revise and rewrite.

That’s some good advice, much better than the terrible counsel offered on Page 76: “Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute.” Thanks, E. B., I do what I want. ☹️

Born in 1899 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Elwyn Brooks White attended Cornell University, where he earned the nickname “Andy.” (Weird historical fact: If your last name was White, you were automatically an Andy at Cornell, in honor of the school’s co-founder, Andrew Dickson White. There is no connection to fellow Cornell alum Andy Bernard .) After graduation, White worked as a journalist and an advertising copywriter for several years. He published his first article in The New Yorker the year it was founded, 1925.

White became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1927, but was an early enthusiast of the work-from-home movement, initially refusing to come to the office and eventually agreeing to come in only on Thursdays. In those days, he shared a small office (“a sort of elongated closet,” he called it) with James Thurber.

His famous officemate later recalled that White had an odd a brilliant habit: When visitors were announced, he would climb out the office window and scamper down the fire escape. “He has avoided the Man in the Reception Room as he has avoided the interviewer, the photographer, the microphone, the rostrum, the literary tea, and the Stork Club,” Thurber later remembered of the chronically shy author. “His life is his own.”

In 1929, White and Thurber co-authored their first book, Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel the Way You Do . (Don’t worry: It was comic essays.) That same year, White married Katharine Angell, The New Yorker’s fiction editor from its inaugural year until 1960. She was the mother of Roger Angell , the famed essayist and baseball writer who himself became a fiction editor at The New Yorker in the 1950s.

In 1938, White and Katharine moved permanently to a farm in Maine they had purchased five years before. If you’re wondering about the inspiration for 1952’s Charlotte’s Web , look no further than White’s 1948 essay for The Atlantic, “ Death of a Pig .” (He bought the pig with the intention of fattening it for slaughter; instead, he later nursed it through a fatal illness and buried it on the farm.)

Stuart Little had been published seven years before Charlotte’s Web . Along with 1970’s The Trumpet of the Swan , these books have made White one of the nation’s best-known children’s authors. I’m sure White didn’t mind, but by all rights, he should be better known for his essays. He authored over 20 collections of such classics as “Once More to the Lake,” “The Sea and The Wind That Blow,” “The Ring of Time,” “A Slight Sound at Evening” and “Farewell, My Lovely!” Endlessly anthologized, many are also taught in writing workshops to this day.

In 1949, White published Here Is New York , a short book developed from an essay about the pros and cons of living in New York City. In a 2012 essay for America , literary editor Raymond Schroth, S.J., noted White’s juxtaposition in Here Is New York of technological terrors like nuclear bombers (the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949) with the simple beauties of nature:

Grand Central Terminal has become honky tonk, the great mansions are in decline, and there is generally more tension, irritability and great speed. The subtlest change is that the city is now destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a flock of geese could end this island fantasy, burn the towers and crumble the bridges. But the United Nations will make this the capital of the world. The perfect target may become the perfect “demonstration of nonviolence and racial brotherhood.” A block away in an interior garden was an old willow tree. This tree, symbol of the city, White said, must survive.

“It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it,” White wrote in Here Is New York . “In a way it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun. Whenever I look at it nowadays, and feel the cold shadow of the planes, I think: ‘This must be saved, this particular thing, this very tree.’”

The tree lasted for another six decades —two more than the Cold War, in fact—before finally being chopped down in 2009.

In a 1954 review of books by White and James Michener, America literary editor Harold C. Gardiner, S.J. , said White “has one of the most distinctive styles discernible on the American literary scene.” Since even the most cursory review of Father Gardiner’s many years of commentary shows he hated almost everything, it was quite a compliment. (Later in the review, he noted that “Mr. Michener, who has done better in his other books, comes a cropper here mainly because his style is wooden, sententious and dull.”)

In 1963, White received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his writings. Fifteen years later, he was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for “his letters, essays, and the full body of his work.” In 2005, the composer Nico Muhly debuted a song cycle based on The Elements of Style at the New York Public Library. Among its signature moments was a tenor offering more of White’s good advice, this time in song:

Do not use a hyphen between words that can be better written as one word .

White died in 1985 at his farm in Maine. His wife Katharine had died eight years earlier. His obituary in The New York Times quoted William Shawn, the legendary editor of The New Yorker:

His literary style was as pure as any in our language. It was singular, colloquial, clear, unforced, thoroughly American and utterly beautiful. Because of his quiet influence, several generations of this country's writers write better than they might have done. He never wrote a mean or careless sentence. He was impervious to literary, intellectual and political fashion. He was ageless, and his writing was timeless.

Our poetry selection for this week is “ Another Doubting Sonnet ,” by Renee Emerson. Readers can view all of America ’s published poems here .

Also, news from the Catholic Book Club: We are reading Norwegian novelist and 2023 Nobel Prize winner Jon Fosse’s multi-volume work Septology . Click here to buy the book, and click here to sign up for our Facebook discussion group .

In this space every week, America features reviews of and literary commentary on one particular writer or group of writers (both new and old; our archives span more than a century), as well as poetry and other offerings from America Media. We hope this will give us a chance to provide you with more in-depth coverage of our literary offerings. It also allows us to alert digital subscribers to some of our online content that doesn’t make it into our newsletters.

Other Catholic Book Club columns:

The spiritual depths of Toni Morrison

What’s all the fuss about Teilhard de Chardin?

Moira Walsh and the art of a brutal movie review

​​Who’s in hell? Hans Urs von Balthasar had thoughts.

Happy reading!

James T. Keane

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James T. Keane is a senior editor at America.

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