Veganism has grown to 2.5 percent of the American population, yet Americans continue to consume 1/6 of the meat eaten worldwide. (1) Many vegans believe that animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation or for any other reason. By switching to a plant-based diet, vegans believe in their ability to alleviate needless suffering and countless animal deaths. By choosing a plant based diet, they also believe in their ability help preserve the environment. (2)
Current agricultural systems often keep animals in overcrowded stalls, cages or sheds, giving them a poor quality of life. The idea of participating in a system that deprives animals of proper exercise, nutrition, and sunlight in exchange for a meal is something that many vegans are strongly against. Animals have the ability to experience love, happiness, loneliness and fear, and each American meat-eater is responsible for approximately 90 animal deaths per year. (2)
400 million less animals were used for food this year!
While research recommends and concludes that a whole foods plant-based diet is best for our health and environment, some argue whether Meatless Mondays is enough. Approximately 93 percent of people still eat meat, however, meat consumption has been on a steady decline in the Unites States since 2007. (3)
In 2007, the United States raised and killed about 9.5 billion animals for food. As of 2014, the number has dropped by 400 million! (3)
“What that means is that compared to 2007, last year, almost half a billion fewer animals were subjected to the torment of factory farming and industrial slaughter plants–and that’s despite the increase in the U.S. population,” explains Paul Shapiro, Vice President, Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States. (3)
“That’s more animals than are experimented on, hunted, used in circuses, puppy mills, and end up in animal shelters each year in the U.S.—all combined.” (3)
Recent years have seen huge leaps in vegetable friendly campaigns, meat and dairy replacement options, and rising awareness of the health benefits of the plant based diet. The HSUS Farm Animal Protection division has been focusing on meat reduction campaigns. It’s been going since 2011 and has been expanding. In Los Angeles, the team convinced a school district to switch to Meatless Mondays in 2012. This one program decreased the number of meat-based meals served each week by 700,000. (3)
Meatless Mondays save animals lives!
“The rates of vegetarianism in our country have remained around five to eight percent for years. But the rate of meat reduction—people who aren’t vegetarians but are cutting back on their animal consumption—is what’s really fueling this trend,” Shapiro explains. (3)
“In fact, a 2013 Mintel study found that while more than a third of Americans buy meat alternatives like Gardein, less than 10 percent of Americans identify as vegetarians. In other words, the market for vegetarian meats is being largely driven by non-vegetarians,” he explains. (3)
Just because someone is not 100 percent vegan, does not mean they are not making a difference. A recent study reports that 36 percent of Americans are open to a plant-based diet, but most are not vegan or vegetarian. Remember, even those cutting back on meat are saving animal lives! (3)
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