“I can walk past a field of animals with a clear conscience” – Paul McCartney

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Paul McCartney

There has been a 360% increase in the number of vegans in Britain over the past decade. The young people of the country are leading the movement. So why do people go vegan?

Perhaps the most important reason is that people want to contribute to animal welfare because they are sickened by animal cruelty particularly with respect to livestock. Paul McCartney fronted a very well known video about the abuses on farms and he said that if abattoirs had glass walls everyone would become a vegan.

Another main reason is that cattle produces methane which is a potent climate change gas. Also virgin forests have to be knocked down to make way for pastureland as is the case in Brazil’s Amazon forest. Cattle produces around 17% of greenhouse gases.

Many people believe that being a vegetarian or vegan is more healthy than being a omnivore. Britons need to consider a healthier diet because there is an obesity epidemic in the country. It is probably easier to lose weight on a vegan diet than on a meat and diary diet.

Social media has a role to play because it is very active and it probably has set many people on the path to becoming vegans. Social media includes websites such as Instagram where there are “influencers” and some of these are celebrities who are going to be influential particularly with young people.

The meat and dairy industry is very damaging of the environment. Feeding cattle is damaging because for example in Brazil the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soybeans to feed animals in Europe. This is deforestation on a large scale. Considerably lower amounts of crops and water are required to service a vegan diet.

Further, a vegan diet is no longer boring. The food can be as equally interesting as a regular diet.

Another possible cause might be the coronavirus pandemic which has given people time to reflect on their lifestyles and the needs of the planet which is being abused by humankind. That is now common knowledge. There is certainly a greater sensitivity and awareness of the natural world and the need to protect it. Hugely influential celebrities such as Sir David Attenborough have played a massive role in enlightening people about greenhouse gases and climate change. This feeds back to the points made above about cattle producing climate change gases.

Of all these points there’s no doubt that animal welfare is the primary reason.