As a vegan organisation, we are delighted to witness the fast-increasing popularity of plant-based diets, but sometimes worry that the recent emphasis on mouth-watering foods obscures the deeper core values of vegan living. Our view is that while delicious recipes and health-enhancing foods are a bonus, there are many more important reasons for the world to move towards a vegan future.
It is possible to feed far more people on a plant-based diet. Using animals to turn plant protein into meat and dairy is simply inefficient. Most of the food value of the original crops is wasted in the animal’s digestive system and cell replacement. While conversion rates vary from species to species and from crop to crop, as a rough estimate you can produce anything from 3-10 times more food energy and protein by using land to grow food crops directly for human consumption rather than giving it over to animal feed. Crucially, animal products also require far more water and land than plant-based foods.
Scientists at Oxford University are the latest in a long line to conclude that adopting a vegan diet is in the words of one of the two lead researchers ‘the single biggest way’ to reduce our individual impact on the environment. This study published in Science (2018) has been described as one of the most comprehensive examinations of the effects of farming upon the environment. It concludes that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
Sixty billion animals are slaughtered for food every year a lot of blood for the earth to soak up. Veganism is one emphatic and effective action that each one of us is able to take to demonstrate our opposition to such wasteful and needless violence.
One of the most inspiring explorations of the core belief behind the vegan movement comes from the early twentieth century American writer, John Howard Moore:
In their phenomena of life the inhabitants of the earth display endless variety. They swim in the waters, soar in the skies, squeeze among the rocks, clamber among the trees, scamper over the plains, and glide among the grounds and grasses. Some are born for a summer, some for a century, and some flutter their little lives out in a day. They are black, white, blue, golden, all the colours of the spectrum. Some are wise and some are simple; some are large and some are microscopic; some live in castles and some in bluebells; some roam over continents and seas, and some doze their little day-dream away on a single dancing leaf. But they are all children of a common mother and the co-tenants of a common world. Why they are here in this world rather than some place else; why the world in which they find themselves is so full of the undesirable; and whether it would not have been better if the ball on which they ride and riot had been in the beginning sterilised, are problems too deep and baffling for the most of them. But since they are here, and since they are too proud or too superstitious to die, and are surrounded by such cold and wolfish intensities, what would seem more proper than for them to be kind to each other, and helpful, and dwell together as loving and forbearing members of One Great Family?
While we believe that veganism is an essential ingredient of civilised living, this does not mean that kindness and compassion are confined exclusively to vegans! We invite support for our projects from vegans and non-vegans alike.