SOURCE ET SUITE
So, with all this knowledge about the overwhelming impact of animal
product production, how much are we really changing? The word “vegan”
has become a household name in recent years as restaurants add it to
their menus, grocery stores carry more veg-friendly alternatives and web
surfers Google the term more and more.
In fact, vegan “meat” sales, specifically, are expected to skyrocket over the next few years. The growing success of companies such as Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat (and the anxiety-laden attacks by companies
afraid of losing customers) illustrate a shift toward more conscious
consumerism. Other countries have also experienced a dramatic shift
toward plant-based fare. Germany’s vegetarian options have increased 600 percent in the last four years and one-third of Canadians now admit to eating less meat.
A Chatham House survey
even found that people are open to the idea of taxing meat to combat
its harmful effects on the environment and our health! In a world where
men’s magazine GQ named a veggie burger its “best burger of the year” the industries who depend on consumers buying animal products are shaking in their boots. The proliferation of “ag-gag” laws
all over the U.S. show how insecure these industries are feeling. Not
only will they advocate the criminalization of recording what goes on
behind their closed doors, but industries are also releasing advice on “How to Avoid Hiring an Animal Rights Activist.” Seriously.
Consumers are already demanding more “humane” animal products, mostly
by looking for labels such as cage-free, pasture-raised, grass-fed,
etc. Walmart joined the ranks of Costco, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Denny’s, and McDonald’s by announcing its eventual switch to cage-free eggs, showing how these “humane” demands are reaching the mainstream.
What the public will realize in time is what the industry deems humane is far from what we may envision
as causing no harm. All of these trends indicate one thing: a shift
toward compassion. Rather, it is a shift back toward compassion. As we
grow up we are taught that empathy is sweet and admirable if it is
through a child’s eyes, but weak through an adult’s.
By choosing foods and products that defy the status quo of violence
and destruction we are casting a vote for kindness and conservation. We
are reconnecting with the innate sense that all living things deserve a
happy life. We are reminded to share with others, to not be mean to
others, to clean up after ourselves—the basic lessons we learn in the
most early stages of our lives. Veganism is a return to these ethics.
And veganism is most certainly the future.