World Vegan Day: Veganism – A diet, A business, or just a trend?

Is Veganism really going up and saving the environment? Well, let’s take a look at the stats

Virat Kohli, Amir khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Kangana Ranaut, Miley Cyrus, Ellie Goulding, Bill Clinton, Jason Marz….No strange names for anyone, but there is a reason for listing them here. In the past few years many people worldwide including these celebs  have changed their lifestyle and food habits. Our favorite and beloved celebrities have adopted a vegan diet for various reasons and it became a highlight in the news world. Veganism boosted in recent years worldwide, from environmentalists and activists to animal rights advocates and organizations; millions of people have decorated their plates with a plant-based diet. But what the stats and numbers tell about the popularity of veganism? And how is this changing lifestyle impacting our ecosystem? Let’s take a look:

Veganism: The Ancient Diet

Veganism – the term first used in 1944 by Donald Watson, an animal rights advocate and the founder of Vegan Society. But the evidence can be traced long ago in history, as early as 3300-1300 BC during the Indus Valley Civilization. But it was more influenced by a vegetarian diet rather than a vegan diet. A great number of Indian and western philosophers supported a vegetarian and vegan diet including Mahavira, Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya, Empedocles, Theophrastus, Pythagoras, etc. Now, celebrities, athletes, politicians, and activists worldwide supporting a vegan diet for various reasons, whether it’s for saving the environment, protecting animals or following a healthy plant-based diet. 

Vegan Chicken Burger

In recent years, the fast-food industry has changed a bit, KFC and other food outlets, best known for their meat products have added something different from their league to their menu. They are launching vegan fast foods in their outlets. In just within a couple of years the trend for going vegan has raised at a steady pace, especially in the European countries. In the UK alone, more than 3.2 million turned into vegans and vegetarians in recent years.

In the early months of 2019, in the UK, KFC announced a trial launch of a ‘Vegan Chicken Burger’, yes you read it right, a vegan chicken burger. They named it ‘Imposter Burger’, which is served with vegan mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce and a soft-glazed bun. And like this, other competitors are doing the same, Domino’s has launched vegan pizzas, Burger King is launching vegan and vegetarian burgers, and thousands of other restaurants are opening and only providing vegan foods.

Veganism And The Environment

What if we say by going vegan alone you can save the environment like Avengers? Researches by the University of Oxford say that if everyone cuts down the use of meat and dairy products from their diet they can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent. Researches say that the dairy and meat industries are responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

To fill the appetite and satisfy the addiction of meat, we humans are cutting down the forests. A report by Peta says, 80% of all the agricultural land in the US is used for raising animals for food and producing food to feed them. The land isn’t the only thing that is affected, water is another major issue to concern. A single pig consumes 21 gallons of drinking water every day while a cow drinks as much as 50 gallons, and it takes more than 2500 gallons of water to produce a pound of cow’s flesh whereas to produce a pound of whole wheat flour it takes just 180 gallons of water.

Meat and dairy industries are one of the largest contributors to air and water pollution. The manure produced by farm factories ends up in the lakes, rivers, and oceans. The cows and cattle are responsible for raising the Methane level which is 10 times more lethal than the Carbon Dioxide.

Meat is one of the major reasons for the current sixth mass extinction. A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations states that meat and dairy products are the largest sources of greenhouse gases globally and the leading factor in the loss of biodiversity and water pollution. Another study by FAO says that livestock is responsible for around 15 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Is Veganism Just a Trend?

Veganism went infamous in public with a rocket pace in the past decade, and people worldwide adopted veganism more than just a diet. But is veganism just a trend which is now declining? 

Recently, a limelight vegan Youtuber Yovana Mendoza stunned her followers. Last March she posted a video on her channel Rawvana where she was spotted with a plate of fish. She later explained that while relying on a completely vegan diet for Six years her health went down. “I decided to put my health first. For a while, I hadn’t put it first,” she added. In November 2018, vegan athlete Tim Shieff admitted in a video that he had stepped down from the vegan diet and started eating egg and salmon. The list goes on and increases daily although all the vegan diet influencers later received hateful comments from their followers, they called them hypocrites and showed their disappointment.

Despite a lot of people opting out from being vegan, still, veganism has made its significant impact in the 21st century. Nearly 12 per cent of the world population is estimated to be vegan, vegetarian and other semi-vegetarian, whereas India has the largest numbers of non-meat diet followers which is about 31%, followed by US 8%, UK 7%, Switzerland 14%, Brazil 14%, and Australia 12%. Within a decade, the vegan population in Britain has increased to 542,000 from 150,000. 

Read more: The Men Made World: What will happen to earth without humans?

The Bottom Line

A lot of people are adopting this newly born diet-style due to various reasons, whether it is for saving the environment or abstaining from animal cruelty, and a lot of people opting out veganism too. But the world is seeing a rise in vegans in the 21st century, and the fast-food industries are also enjoying getting purely direct profits from producing more plant-based products. Whatsoever it is, a trend, a diet or just a business, but there is one good thing about veganism and that is its benefits to the environment and animals.

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