There are now over three and half times as many vegans as there were in 2006, a study commissioned by the Vegan Society in partnership with Vegan Life magazine has found.
Over half a million people have switched to veganism in Britain, which is at least 1.05% of the 15 years old and older population.
The study estimates 542,000 people in Britain are now following a vegan diet and never consume any animal products including meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and honey. This is a huge increase since the last estimate of 150,000 from the survey conducted ten years ago, making veganism one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements.
The study, carried out by leading researchers Ipsos MORI, surveyed almost 10,000 people aged 15 or over across England, Scotland and Wales – the biggest ever poll quantifying the vegan community.
"To have over half a million vegans in Britain is fantastic. More people than ever before are acting upon the health and environmental benefits of veganism, and finding out what really goes on in the meat and dairy industries and deciding they do not want to contribute to the pain and suffering of animals"
- Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of The Vegan Society.
An additional 521,000 vegetarians (those who consume dairy/eggs but no meat) who are not currently vegan said they would like to reduce their consumption of dietary animal products, so there could soon be an additional 521,000 vegans to add to the total.
The movement is being driven by young people making more ethical and compassionate choices – close to half of all vegans are in the 15-34 age category (42%) compared to just 14% who are over 65 – evidence to support even greater growth in the future.
The study also found that 3.25% of the population, around 1.68 million people, are either vegetarian or vegan. More than 860,000 of all vegetarians and vegans also avoid all non-dietary animal products such as leather and wool.
Vegan Life magazine publishing director Keith Coomber said:
"The public perception of veganism is changing fast. It’s no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible - you can walk into any supermarket and be greeted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and many more other vegan-friendly products.
As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, this boom will only continue."
Jasmijn de Boo added:
"The reasons behind the rise of veganism are numerous: the positive portrayal in the media has contributed to its changing image; documentaries on the shocking realities and consequences of animal agriculture have gained prominence; delicious-looking vegan recipes have multiplied online and on social media as society becomes increasingly health-conscious; and top vegan athletes keep proving that you can be fit and healthy on a plant-based diet."
"Going vegan is the best thing any individual can do for the animals, the planet and your health. What are you waiting for?"
In the UK, the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) publish how many animals are slaughtered annually. Using the total number of animals killed in slaughterhouses and other data sources, in 2013 the UK population consumed:
2,600,000,000 shell fish
8,104,600,000 animals each year (over 8 billion animals killed in the UK alone)
If you divide the above figures by the UK population of 64.1m the average UK citizen eats:
40.56 shell fish
126.4 animals per year consumed per person.
So 521,000 vegans are collectively saving approximately 68.5 million animals per year!
That's a large amount of animals that will no longer be born into the barbarity of factory farming. As veganism continues to grow more and more, we'll see a gradual decline in animal agriculture and increasing environmental benefits. We'll also see many more vegan dishes on menus, and vegan products in stores. Being vegan in the UK is just going to get easier and easier as time goes on and more socially accepted. Maybe one day people won't even ask us where we get our protein from. 😉
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