“One vegan won’t make a difference.” “Animals are going to die whether you eat them or not.”
I hear statements like this all the time, but are they true? Do vegans make a difference? First of all, that’s a very nihilistic viewpoint. By that logic, why should anyone do anything at all? Secondly, one person can most certainly make a difference. Of course, there’s more power in numbers, and veganism happens to be the fastest growing lifestyle movement in history.
Have you noticed the rise of vegan friendly eating establishments and menu options in recent years? The abundance of meat and dairy alternatives you now find in stores? The push toward local and organic food products? It’s because consumers are becoming more aware of the implications of industry farming, and industry farms are becoming more aware of their decreasing revenue.
Animal products are, unfortunately, a big business, and all business comes down to dollars. Any given market exists because of consumer demand. Less demand equals less supply, et cetera. According to the USDA ERS, the average American consumes over 220 lbs of meat and over 270 lbs of dairy per year. That’s hundreds of animals slaughtered each year, for just one person. The author of Counting Animals has done the math and says, “a vegetarian saves between 371 and 582 animals per year.” And keep in mind, it’s not just animals that vegans are saving. The Vegan Calculator claims that “Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forest, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal life.”
You can learn more about the effects of individualistic diet choices here, and the next time someone tries to deter you from veganism, you can give them the facts.