Musician Moby credits a vegan diet for his good health and clear conscience. While many people switch to veganism for health reasons, Moby said his deep love for animals is the key driver of his plant-based diet.
"My reason for becoming a vegetarian was simple: I love animals and don't want to be involved in anything that leads to or contributes to their suffering," Moby wrote in a Rolling Stone op-ed March 18.
"At first this led me to give up beef and chicken. Then fish [f you've ever spent time with fish you realize pretty quickly that they feel pain and are much happier not being hooked or speared or netted].
Then I thought, 'I don't want to contribute to animal suffering. But the cows and chickens in commercial dairy and egg farms are pretty miserable, so why am I still eating milk and eggs?' So in 1987 I gave up all animal products and became a vegan, simply so that I could eat and live in accordance with my beliefs that animals have their own lives, that they're entitled to their own lives and that contributing to animal suffering is something that I don't want to be a part of.
Moby said he's proud of following a lifestyle that's humane to other creatures. During his childhood, Moby cared for a menagerie of animals that included four dogs, 12 cats, an iguana, three gerbils, a hamster, a colony of mice, and a snake.
He said the love he felt for his pets compelled him to become vegetarian at an early age. As he got older, Moby learned about the animal cruelty involved in factory farming and the heavy environmental cost raising livestock for food exacts on the planet. "The more I studied health and the environment, the more committed I became to being a vegan," he said.
According to a 2009 report by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the IFC Environment and Social Development Department, 51% of the world's man-made greenhouse-gas emissions come from livestock production.
In 2012, Oscar-winning director James Cameron revealed he had switched to a vegan diet, citing environmental reasons. Cameron admonished meat-eating environmentalists to adopt a plant-based diet if they're serious about saving the planet:
You can’t be an environmentalist, you can’t be an ocean steward, without truly walking the walk. And you can’t walk the walk in the world of the future — the world ahead of us, the world of our children — not eating a plant-based diet.”
Meanwhile, Moby underscored that he doesn't want to make meat eaters feel guilty or push anyone into adopting a plant-based diet if they don't want to. He just hopes that by voicing his news, others will reconsider their stance on eating animals.
"Just because I'm a vegan I'm not saying you should be a vegan," he wrote. "You should inform yourself as best as you can. But, empirically and epidemiologically, you have a better chance of living a longer and happier and healthier life if you avoid meat."
Former president Bill Clinton recently revealed he reversed his heart disease after following a vegan diet. Clinton, who underwent two quadruple-bypass surgeries, said his heart is healthier today at age 67 than it was a decade ago.
Clinton's improved health and 30-pound weight loss on a vegan diet isn't surprising to medical experts like Dr. David Katz, author of Disease-Proof. “If you shift to a diet more about plant-based foods, you are likelier to live healthier and experience less chronic disease," said Dr. Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.
Dr. Neal Barnard, author of 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, agreed. "A vegan diet takes care of most of what we need to do [to stay healthy]," said Dr. Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.