There are so many reasons to be vegan — 72 to be exact, if you ask Gene Stone or Kathy Freston. The two renowned vegan authors recently partnered up to co-write 72 Reasons to Be Vegan: Why Plant-Based. Why Now., an easy-to-digest book designed to inspire the vegan-curious and show them why now is the perfect time to finally dip their toes into the vegan lifestyle.
To learn more about the book, which hit shelves on March 30, 2021, Green Matters caught up with co-author Gene Stone via video chat.
Gene Stone and Kathy Freston saw a need for a book like ‘72 Reasons to Be Vegan.’
For the past 15 years, Gene Stone has co-written some of the most well-regarded books in the vegan space, including Animalkind with PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk, How Not to Die with Dr. Michael Greger, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life with Gene Baur. So has Kathy Freston — she wrote Clean Protein along with Bruce Friedrich, The Book of Veganish, and Veganist. So, it’s only natural that the two vegan literary powerhouses would team up on a book about the benefits of going vegan.
“The idea is something that I’d been thinking about for some time,” Stone tells Green Matters on the day of the book’s release. He’s written about every element of the vegan lifestyle, from the environment to animal rescue to cookbooks, “but I’ve never had a book that had everything in one. So when people would say, what should I read, I didn’t have that book. So I thought … if it doesn’t exist, then you should make it happen.”
Freston had also noticed a need for a book like this, so the two got to work shortly before the pandemic hit. They wrote most of 72 Reasons to Be Vegan in lockdown, communicating over the phone and dividing chapters based on their areas of expertise.
The book’s various reasons to be vegan will appeal to anyone.
The book's 72 chapters (aka reasons to go vegan) are all very short, at just one to four pages each, and the topics vary widely. Environment-related chapters include Cows Burp and Fart = Methane = Climate Change; It’s Cheaper and Better Than Buying a Tesla; and The World Is Becoming Overrun with Animal Poop.
There are chapters that will tug on anyone’s heartstrings, including Chickens Like to Be Cuddled; and Working at a Slaughterhouse Is Hell. There are chapters that point to the human rights issues presented by our animal-eating word, such as We Can Solve World Hunger; and Pandemics Like COVID-19 Are Preventable. And there are even NSFW chapters, like Dude, Your Erections #BetterLonger; Gals, Your Clitoris #Orgasms; Vegan Is Sexy; and You Will Have Seriously Good Poops.
“We wanted it to be light and fun. We didn’t order it any way specifically — we wanted it so you could pick it up [and just read a random chapter],” Stone says. “Most nonfiction books, you only learn so much. Nobody reads a book and remembers everything. I think this book is best if it’s read in bits and pieces, rather than the whole meal. It’s just an hors d'oeuvre.”
The book also offers some hard facts.
In addition to its light and fun nature, 72 Reasons to Be Vegan also includes some cold, hard facts about the misinformation the animal agriculture industry has been feeding the public for decades — and these facts are what Stone thinks will shock readers the most.
“Farmed fish, which some people think is OK, but actually, if you read the chapter, we explain how it’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for the fish — it’s really not the answer,” he says.
“The same thing with grass-fed beef,” Stone continues. “It just means that maybe the cow got to see a little grass one day. And in fact, it’s even worse, because that poor cow actually got a little taste of grass and freedom for a second before being yanked back.”
He also points to the misconception that cage-free or free-range eggs come from well-treated hens, when in reality, these are just marketing terms — the hens still live their short, uncomfortable lives in factory farms. “What we’re really trying to show here is that animals don’t have it very good,” he says of the book's mission.
Vegans: give this book to your friends and family.
While Stone thinks 72 Reasons to Be Vegan is great for vegans who want to bulk up on their vegan knowledge, he and Freston wrote it with the vegan-curious — as well as the vegan-skeptical — in mind. “I do think it’s the kind of book who vegans can give to their relatives and friends,” Stone says.
“The more we can get this book out, the more I’m hopeful that it will combat the fact that very few people have been exposed to [this information],” he continues. “And the way to make it grow is for vegans to pass this book onto friends and family. This isn’t a book we think is just going to come out and sell a million copies; we want this book to be generating conversations and hopefully changing minds — for a long time.”