A vegan future: Closer than you might think
Do you think a world without factory farming and the killing of billions of farmed animals each year sounds more like a Utopian dream (or a Star Trek fantasy)?
Believe it or not, an animal-friendly world could be closer than previously imagined.
People worldwide are recognizing the devastating toll of animal agribusiness — on the environment, human health and our collective sense of ethics. There’s still a lot of progress to be made, but the tide is turning; the tipping point is near, and nowadays, all signs are pointing to positive change for animals.
Meat-free meats hit the big-time in 2016
Beyond Meat’s vegan Beyond Burger is now available in meat aisles across the U.S., and the all-vegan Herbivorous Butcher was reader’s choice in USA Today‘s “Best Food & Drink Maker” in the nation. Major publications spotlighted vegan foods, and in Grist: “Someday we’ll look back at 2016 as the year we realized we might be perfectly happy to give up meat.” And that’s just the beginning…plant-based is expected to be a top global food trend in 2017.
The link between animal products and climate change is clear
The science is clear: animal agriculture is a leading cause of environmental devastation, from deforestation to ocean dead zones to air pollution. One recent study showed that if the world went vegan, food-related greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 70 percent and eight million human lives would be saved by 2050. The United Nations has said, “A substantial reduction of impacts [from agriculture] would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change away from animal products.” In other words, plant-based eating could save the planet.
Big Ag’s getting desperate
As non-dairy milks and meatless meats soar in popularity, the animal agriculture industry is trying to squash plant-based sales and even cheating consumers: Our research helped form a class action suit against 70 percent of the dairy industry for inflating prices by slaughtering 500,000 young cows (consumers are now owed a $52M settlement) — and a similar suit has been filed against major chicken producers. As dairy sales drop, the industry has asked the FDA to block the use of words like “milk” and “cheese” on dairy-free product labels — a sure sign of desperate times calling for desperate measures.
Major brands seeing the potential of plant-based products
If you can’t beat them, join them, right? Tyson — the largest meat producer in the U.S. — has invested in plant-based Beyond Meat. Major chains including Subway, Dunkin’ and Starbucks now offer vegan options because consumers ask for them. Taco Bell and Chipotle even released easy guides to ordering their popular veg options–and fast food chains not getting on the vegan bandwagon are getting left behind (read: McDonald’s).
The public saying no to animal entertainment
After years of slowing sales and declining attendance, Ringling Bros. Circus announced that it’s closing after more than 140 years in business. Ringling, the biggest name in animal Big Top, cited declining attendance and changing public views about using animals in entertainment.
People more interested in veganism than ever
Google Trend data shows a major rise in vegan search terms, including “vegan food nearby,” over the past three years, with a huge spike at the end of 2016. From Australia to Canada to Germany, people all over the world are more interested in a plant-based lifestyle than ever before. And Google itself is touting plant-based foods.
Healthcare pros tout the benefits of plant-based eating
The health power of a plant-based diet has made it into the public consciousness. Many doctors now acknowledge that a healthy vegan diet can prevent (or even reverse) heart disease, types of cancer, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic ailments. Kaiser Permanente recommends plant-based eating; the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine opened the vegan-focused Barnard Medical Center in the nation’s capital; and events like the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference are growing rapidly. Plant-based food was even the star of the World Health Summit menu in 2016.