WORLD Vegan Day on Monday November, 1 heralding the start of World Vegan month, coincided with the COP26 Glasgow climate change summit this year.
While the Vegan Society UK, along with other environmental groups had a presence at the conference, there was no specific discussion timetabled for how the world plans to tackle emissions from agriculture.
Joseph Poore, a researcher at University of Oxford, and co-author of a global study published in the journal Science, said, “a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet earth”.
The University of Oxford study found that cutting meat and dairy products from food intake could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
The Vegan World Alliance members; The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, challenged the leaders of their countries, who attended COP26, but failed to properly address the impact of current food systems on the suffering of animals and as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, to try vegan for a month.
In addition, The Vegan Society of New Zealand, Te Rōpū Whēkana o Aotearoa, called on the entire country to try vegan for 21 days, to support the Prime Minister, the COP26 talks and the future sustainability of the planet.
In Australia, and around the globe, World Vegan Month is an opportunity to explore the vegan diet, and a cruelty free lifestyle that is kinder to animals.
In 2019, Australia’s packaged vegan food market was worth almost $200 million.
A 2020 study found 47 per cent of Australians said they reduced their meat and/or milk intake.
The month of activities and celebrations, centred around food, raises awareness that animals and the environment also benefit from a vegan lifestyle.
Charity partners Vegan Easy and Vegan Australia launched their Vegan Easy 30 Day Challenge initiative as a way for people interested in Veganism to experience a fully plant-based diet.
This means excluding all animal products including meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey as well as other more hidden animal ingredients, such as gelatine.
Vegans avoid animal-derived materials and products tested on animals.
For vegans and vegan business owners, it is an extension of their already dedicated lifestyle; with some businesses using food to support animal charities or sanctuaries.
In Melbourne, the recently opened plant-based eatery, Vegie Tribe, donates 10 per cent of profits to animal welfare.
Sarmuhabat Singh, one of the owners and a vegan, said World Vegan Month means increasing awareness, and a start of conversations.
“For us it is not a day or a month, it is a lifestyle forever,” Mr Singh said.
A few years ago, only a handful of farmed animal sanctuaries existed in Australia.
Now they are found in nearly every state, alongside native wildlife sanctuaries.
“What I believe is if we are successful, if we are making profits, it is to be shared with everyone, with stakeholders in particular,” said Mr Singh.
“Companies are into the idea of cultivating profit out of doing good.
“Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but that should not be the aim of doing good.
“We are not doing good to show off to people, we genuinely want to make an impact.”