The pandemic has been a devastating and eye opening experience for most of the world. It has put a spotlight on how easily a disease can spread around the entire globe and how helpless we are as a society to stop it. But what some people are learning now is that most of these diseases come from animal agriculture and the way we eat. For this reason veganism is having a moment and you’ll want to take notice because this might be a very long moment that begins a new way of life for most. Have you changed your eating habits this year?
What We Know
We already know that factory farming is responsible for the destruction of our land, pollution of water and air, but it also creates an environment ripe for infection. Hundreds to thousands of birds, pigs and cows are routinely shoved together in close quarters. This causes disease among them to run rampant. In fact, industrial animal farming has caused most new infectious diseases in humans in the past decade – and risks starting new pandemics as animal markets have done, experts are warning.
Valentina Rizzi, an expert in disease at the EFSA, said: “The diseases transmitted directly or indirectly from animals – including livestock – to humans are called zoonoses. A big proportion of all infectious diseases in humans are originating from animals, and more specifically the majority of emerging new infection in humans in the last 10 years really come from animals or food of animal origin.”
What Can We Do?
Much of the world is already starting to cut meat and dairy off their plates. Only 5-7 years ago vegetarianism or veganism was considered a fad diet or looked down upon. If you were one of the early people to adopt veganism, you may have been labeled a hippie or viewed as someone weak. Nowadays, some of the strongest people in the world live a plant-based lifestyle.
The Vegan Society released research regarding veganism in the UK, revealing that:
- 51% are happy to see vegan food in shops and restaurants
- 56% of adults in the UK practice vegan buying behaviors
- 19% have cut down on buying meat and are checking cosmetics and toiletries for animal-testing
- 13% actively choose meat-free or dairy-free meals when eating out
Even those of us who are not willing to go fully vegan are adding more plant-based foods to their diet. Perhaps because of this, the mindset towards vegans has drastically improved, with 43% of people saying they respected vegans for their lifestyle.
Where Are We Going?
2020 has been a heartbreaking year, as to this day we’ve lost nearly 1 million people worldwide. While people will continue to die from this horrible disease we need to educate others on the dangers of factory farming and big agriculture. We need to help our family and friends convert to a more plant-based lifestyle by showing them how amazing plant-based food tastes! Vegan meats like Beyond are gaining market share. Investment firm UBS projects growth of plant-based protein and meat alternatives to increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030. As the demand for animal free alternatives rise, the need for animal products will decline and eventually phase out. These new meat, dairy and egg alternatives taste so close to the real thing it makes consumers more likely to drop the original versions.
Now, we don’t expect the world to go vegan overnight. And it may never, but 2020 has brought awareness to an issue that isn’t going anywhere. The issue of how animals and people live closely together and in a perfect storm event like covid-19, how terrifyingly simple it is to shut down an entire planet and global economy. So while veganism is having its moment, grab a spoon and dig in. We promise you won’t regret it.