A new study called the Veganism Impact Report reveals the huge impact on the UK’s health, economy and emissions if the current meat-eating population went vegan, and vice versa, and says there would be a 70% decrease in CO2 food-related emissions and one billion hectares of the world’s land surface currently used for livestock would be made available.
The Veganism Impact Report uses statistics on the UK’s, EU’s and world’s annual animal product consumption, employment, trade, health, environment and economy. UK statistics are based on 1.16% of the population being vegan and do not take into account the vegetarian or pescatarian population. EU statistics are based on 5.9% of the population being vegan and vegetarian.
Impact on economy, emissions and health rates
The statistics show the huge impact that both an all-vegan and non-vegan population would have on the EU’s economy and the world’s agriculture and emission rates. The interactive report demonstrates that if 100% of the global meat-eating population was to go vegan, a staggering 9,600,000,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 equivalent food-related emissions would be released annually (greenhouse gas emissions from food equated to 13.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, but a vegan population would reduce these emissions by a huge 70% to 4.1 billion).
The report also highlights how one billion hectares of the world’s land surface used for livestock would be made available if nobody consumed animal products. This is based on 2018’s figures that 1.5 billion hectares of the world’s total land surface were used for agriculture.
Heart disease and cancer rates would also be hugely affected, with 130,000 fewer deaths in the UK each year if its meat-eating population went vegan. 152,405 people in the UK died of heart disease in 2017, but this would fall by a massive 129,544 to just 22,861 deaths per year if the population were to follow a vegan diet.
In addition, there are 8,800 cancer cases linked to processed or red meat consumption each year in the UK, suggesting that opting for a meat-free diet would significantly reduce the chances of developing stomach and bowel cancer.
A world without veganism
The report also goes on to detail various economic factors that would also be affected if nobody was vegan, with a key focus on the EU. Hayley Stansfield of Blueclaw, representing the study, said: “For example, if 100% of the current EU vegan population consumed fish, the UK’s aquaculture trade would receive a €1,787,700,000 boost and would employ 644 more fishermen.”
It states further that the dairy and egg industries accounted for £386 million of the UK’s exports in 2017, but if production rose to meet the increased consumption of a solely non-vegan population, these exports could rise to £390.5 million. In terms of the leather industry, Hayley comments, “In 2018, the leather industry generated a turnover of €48 billion (£42 million), and if 100% of the current EU vegan population began to consume animal products and purchased leather, the industry would generate a staggering €2,832,000,000 turnover per year – representing a 6% boost for the industry.”
Failing to acknowledge vegan industry…
The report does not factor, however, the increase in jobs that would take place in the vegan industry if veganism were to be adopted by the public as a whole. When more and more people create demand for vegan products, this of course means that more products are created and a new, more sustainable economy is reinforced. Just today, for example, we have reported on the first vegan recruitment company, and more and more jobs are being created by the week with the growing global vegan trade.
A year ago, vegan investor Heather Mills created hundreds of jobs by converting a Walkers crisps factory into a vegan meat facility, then this April, Mills purchased a Proctor and Gamble factory to create a “Plant-based Silicone Valley”. It also goes without saying that when people turn to leather alternatives this also creates jobs in plant-based materials, which we are already seeing take place in fashion, interior design, beauty and cosmetics, and even the automotive industry.
[Stats gathered from associated sources including NHS, Macmillan, Office for National Statistics, Europa and the RSPCA.]