Is being vegan good for animals?
The vegan diet can be traced back over 2,000 years. It’s not a new concept, but more and more people are talking about it for the health and wellbeing of not only themselves but our planet too. In this article, we’re going to discuss what veganism is, who it impacts and what the overall statistics now show of the effects this diet has.
What is veganism?
‘A global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion’
Plant-based diets could save millions of lives… | Oxford Martin School
Veganism is a lifestyle that does not include the use of animals products. It is not just about a diet that involves not consuming animal products but also ensuring that daily life doesn’t also include the use of animal products either. This means not wearing materials like leather, using things like makeup products with animal derivatives in them and having to consider other unusual items too.
Back in 2016, the ‘new’ £5 note that was released caused an uproar because a polymer to make it had animal derivatives in it, making many vegan restaurants ask customers not to use them in their shops. Veganism is a lifestyle that involves no products made from animals.
Who becomes vegan?
Anyone can become a vegan. There are no specific parameters to become a vegan and there is a hugely supportive community to help others reach a fully vegan lifestyle. The lifestyle is dependent on each individual and how they feel it will affect themselves, those around them and the planet. There are many reasons that someone might choose to go vegan and they may transition from an omnivore to a vegetarian and then to vegan to help them create positive habits and a sustainable lifestyle. The vegan community often states that these little movements in this direction are all helping and they continue to support those transitioning in this way.
Can pet’s be vegan?
‘As of 2019, approximately 10.4 percent of pet owners surveyed are feeding their dogs an intermittent plant-based diet. That figure stood at 3.3 percent for cat owners. Only 0.7 percent of cat owners were feeding their pets strict vegan diets.’
Pet food: cats and dogs on plant-based diets worldwide 2019 | Statista
There are welfare laws in place that protect our pets, including protection ensuring that owners feed their pets a suitable diet. There have been numerous studies on the effects that a vegan diet has on a pet and many have concluded that it is suitable for our animals when it's done correctly. It has also been noted that some pets received greater health benefits from having an exclusively vegan diet. There are various elements that can be introduced and even pet owners using vegan treats to supplement their animal's diet can have a positive impact on the pet and the planet. The most important thing about having an animal on a vegan diet is that the nutritional content is balanced and the animal receives all the nutrients it needs.
How do people and animals eating and living vegan impact the environment?
‘One calorie from animal protein requires eleven times as much fossil fuel as one calorie of plant protein.’
Veganism & the Environment By the Numbers Infographic (culinaryschools.org)
The biggest impact that more people (and pets) having a vegan diet has is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Due to the lower demand for meat, fewer animals are needed to be ‘produced’ for consumption and all of the things that are needed for this to take place that have a negative impact on the environment are removed. The meat industry also has a direct impact on deforestation and water pollution which again can be reduced by less demand. There is also significant evidence that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet has significant positive impacts on human health, lowering risks for various diseases and even some cancers.
How has the pet industry adapted to the vegan lifestyle?
‘In 2020 the vegan pet food market was valued at £6.4bn and is projected to reach £11.3bn by 2028’
Dogs go vegan: The plant-based diet and the pet food industry | Post (petgazette.biz)
The pet industry has continued to make great strides towards providing pet owners with products that help them and their pets have a lower environmental impact. From better packaging to the sources of their ingredients, manufacturers have been consistently increasing the way they produce taking more responsibility for their environmental efforts. Included in this is the move to vegan products. The difficulty with this comes from how strict people are about their diets. Many pet product manufacturers have added vegan options to their lines but still use meat products in others. This poses a problem as some people would prefer to support companies who do not involve themselves with the movement or use of animal products. New companies are offering this type of overall package, but just like starting a vegan diet, a few products is better than nothing and an incredible start for companies who have never produced a vegan product before.
What lessons can be learned from the impact of veganism so far?
Veganism has continually proven better for the environment than a meat-based diet. The more people who take on a vegan diet the larger the impact this can have on a healthier environment. This greener lifestyle has helped many balance their carbon footprint too!
Many on a vegan diet have seen an improvement in their health and lifestyle by receiving the right nutrition. They find it easier to maintain a healthy weight along with increased energy and lower risks to certain diseases.
Having a balanced vegan diet is helping to meet environmental objectives. Those who are decreasing their meat intake and the use of animal products are helping the world reduce greenhouse gases, deforestation and water pollution.
The vegan lifestyle is a journey. Those who have taken this on have seen benefits for themselves and those around them. The pet industry is following closely behind other markets to produce quality products without animal derivatives that are nutritionally beneficial. So far the movement to a vegan lifestyle has had a positive impact on people, the planet and our pets.
Vegan pet food as healthy for cats and dogs as meat, says veterinary professor | Veganism | The Guardian
Veganism – Can it save humans and the planet? (birmingham.ac.uk)
10 lessons from science on World Vegan Day - Ethical Pets Blog