We know the world won't go vegan overnight, and that it is more likely to be a gradual transition, but this is not a reason not to dream about it. Our eating habits have an impact on many aspects of society, so by simply choosing to eat differently gives us an opportunity to create a whole new world. Want to know how? Here you go.
1. We would save more than one trillion animal lives each year
150 million land animals are slaughtered every day just for food. If we count the number of aquatic animals, like wild and farmed fish, it would be even bigger: more than three billion daily. Not only is their death a problem, but also how they are raised and bred: it often involves extreme confinement, mutilations without painkillers, cages, tearing apart mothers from their babies, constant inseminations, and other barbaric measures.
Photo: We Animals
2. Greenhouse gas emissions would reduce drastically
It's no wonder, since animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions -— more than the whole transport industry. Research conducted by Oxford University showed that a plant-based diet could reduce food-related emissions by half!
3. We would have much more free land
By ditching meat and other animal products, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75%! It means that we would need only 3.1 billion hectares of land to plant our food, which is the size of the African continent. The difference could be used to grow trees and forests, therefore storing carbon, and avoiding the loss of wild areas and the current mass extinction of wildlife.
4. More food would be available to feed the ones who most need it
We have already talked about how animal products represent an enormous waste of food: 7kg of grains are necessary to produce only 1kg of red meat, whereas these grains could directly feed many people. 40 million tonnes of food would be enough to end the worst cases of world hunger, according to Dr Walt Willett, professor of medicine at Harvard University. Currently, 760 million tonnes is fed to animals on farms every year.
5. It would avoid 8.1 million deaths every year.
There are several studies showing a clear relationship between the consumption of animal products and cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke being the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years), diabetes and cancer. According to Oxford University, a vegan diet would result in 8.1 million fewer deaths per year. This number is proportionally higher in the Global South, particularly in East Asia and South Asia.
Not only it will save lives but also would save a lot of money on healthcare, unpaid informal care and lost working days, an amount that could be invested in other areas. In the United States alone it represents between $700 to $1,000 billion per year, with more than $570 billion of savings to be had because of the economic benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
6. It would make us save a lot of water
In a world where so many countries are in a “water-stressed” state, because of freshwater reservoirs and aquifers drying up, any water we can save is a big deal. Farming is accountable for up to 92% of our freshwater use, and animal products are related to nearly one-third of that.
While most vegetables have an average water footprint of 322 liters per kg and fruits 962, chicken consumes 4,325l/kg and beef an absurd 15,415l/kg. Not to mention water pollution, which is hugely related to farming, would also decrease. Most of the water used for animal production goes back to the environment in the form of manure or wastewater, and their excrement is rich in a series of substances that include nutrients that can cause water eutrophication, as well as containing drugs, heavy metals and pathogens.
Alone we can't do much, but there are already millions of people around the world that are ditching animal products! Be a part of the change, you too.