There has yet to be another move that significantly addresses--and even reverses--as lots of the significant health and environmental concerns out there since the vegan movement.
One study that made its rounds earlier this year researched an idealized change toward plant-based ingestion and predicted that between 6 and 10% of the world's mortality rates and 29 to 70% of greenhouse gas emissions could be cut if the world went mostly vegan. Fortunately, if we believe some recent trends, it appears we're already headed in this direction.
In regards to animal suffering, eating meat, egg and dairy products are the biggest culprits globally, hands down. It may feel fine to exercise our outrage about a cat and dog abuse we see in the news, but when 70,000,000,000 (yes, that's billion) land animals are slaughtered worldwide each year--since our diet needs it--our outrage is seriously missing.
Mercy for Animals, an animal rights nonprofit organization, is famous for its undercover investigations exposing the general public to what goes on behind closely hidden slaughterhouse doors. Due to their hard work people have seen the horrors of both business-as-usual clinics and horrendous abuse by employees at big names like Perdue, Tyson, Butterball, Seaboard Foods, Maple Lodge Farms and countless others.
And the public isn't liking what it is seeing. The ability of this documentary has shown how companies can have the wind knocked out of the sails from clients taking a glance at what is behind the curtain. The volatile momentum of Blackfish and SeaWorld's travel from scoffing refusal to announcing its ending to orca breeding programs is sufficient to observe how an educated public can create real change. Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circuses are also felt the heat from activists and decided to "retire" the dinosaurs that have lived in misuse as entertainers (however, some of those majestic creatures will face a future in cancer research experimentation, so we still have work to do).
With climate change becoming harder and harder to deny--although some still cling desperately to their snowballs and lack of critical thinking--the effects of animal agriculture on the world's fate may also no longer be overlooked. 1 report from earlier this year demonstrated that some of the highest poultry and meat producers, such as Tyson and Perdue, have a much bigger pollution footprint compared to Exxon Mobil. The Worldwatch Institute estimates that livestock and their byproducts create 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. Even if these numbers are too large to completely understand, seeing what animal agriculture is doing to our world with our own eyes can change hearts and minds in an instant.
There are awakenings blossoming into larger and more impactful moves in the health and health care fields, also. This year the first plant-based medical center opened up in Washington, D.C. and other medical programs are providing residents training to assist patients to cure chronic health issues with plant-based eating.
And just this month that the American Osteopathic Association published a study of 1.5 million people showing how meat-eating increases mortality rates throughout the board.
The term "vegan" is now a household name recently as restaurants add it to their menus, grocery stores carry more veg-friendly choices and net surfers Google the term increasingly.
In actuality, vegan "meat" earnings, especially, are expected to skyrocket over the next few decades. The growing success of organizations like Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat (and the anxiety-laden strikes by companies fearful of losing clients) illustrate a change toward more conscious consumerism. Other nations also have undergone a dramatic shift toward plant-based fare. Germany's vegetarian choices have increased 600% in the past four decades and one-third of Canadians now admit to eating less meat.
A Chatham House poll even discovered that people are open to the notion of taxing meat to fight its harmful impacts on the environment and our health! In a world where men's magazine GQ called a veggie burger its "best burger of this year" the businesses who rely on customers purchasing animal products are shaking in their boots. Not only will they urge the criminalization of documenting what goes on behind their closed doors, but businesses will also be releasing advice on "How to Prevent selecting an Animal Rights Activist." Seriously.
Consumers are already demanding more "humanist" animal products, largely by searching for labels like cage-free, pasture-raised, grass-fed, etc..
What the people will recognize in time is exactly what the business deems humane is far from what we may envision as causing no injury. All of these trends indicate something: a change toward empathy. Rather, it's a shift back toward empathy. As we grow up we're taught that compassion is sweet and admirable if it's through a child's eyes, but feeble through an adult's.
By choosing foods and products that resist the status quo of violence and devastation we're casting a vote for conservation and kindness. We're reminded to share with others, not to be mean to other people, to clean up after ourselves--the fundamental lessons we learn in the earliest stages of our lives. And veganism is most definitely the future.