A vegan since high school, Emily credits the bestselling book "Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth Second Edition" (click for details) for persuading her that a plant-based diet was the best for the planet and her health.
"It started a whole debate about whether it was ethical to eat meat or not. Which engaged me, and I felt the arguments for not eating meat were much stronger than the arguments for eating meat, when I saw the reality of how our food gets to our plates," she explained.
After evaluating what she had learned, Emily made the decision to transition to veganism.
"Not only the cruelty to the animals but also the detriment to the environment and also our health" prompted her decision. "It was kind of a win-win-win situation when I decided to become vegetarian after that. I wanted to become vegan, but I did that slowly. I became vegetarian for two years, then became vegan. I do think it's the most humane and environmentally sound way to live, as long as you are good about your nutrition, because like any diet you have to be careful."
Emily admits that there's a "gray area" when it comes to talking about relative suffering in terms of animals versus humans. But she is firm that "animals are "not ours to use or to harm." And like people, animals feel pain, she says.
"There are people who might not be as intelligent, but they feel pain. And I don't think we should feel OK or ethically sound hurting them, just as I don't think it's ethically sound to hurt an animal, when it's perfectly healthy and doable to survive on non-animal sources of food," said Emily.
"If there's a hierarchy, humans I might value more than animals on some level, but to me, that doesn't give me a right to hurt an animal. There's a real gray area. If you say you need to kill these 10 rats to cure cancer and save all these people, that's wonderful. But that said, a lot of times it's not about saving people's lives or curing cancer. There's lots of people experimenting on animals for cosmetics that I don't think any of us would agree are ethically sound or justified."