Veganism May Be Growing By Leaps And Bounds In Britain
Veganism and animal rights have been established movements in Britain for many years, both on dietary and lifestyle/ethical levels. If fact, the word “vegan” was coined by Donald Watson, an Englishman. The Vegan Society, which Watson founded, continues today as an advocacy group that promotes veganism through a number of avenues. Recently they commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct a study of approximately 10,000 people, ages 15 and older, who live in England, Scotland, and Wales. The goal of the study was to examine the “dietary and lifestyle preferences” of people in those countries, to take stock of the state of veg*ism across the UK.
The survey was structured such that people were first asked, “How often, if at all, do you personally eat any form of meat, fish or shellfish? This includes all forms and types of meat, fish or shellfish and dishes that contain these, even in small amounts.” If people answered that they did consume those products, the interview ended, but if they said “never,” they were asked further questions to suss out whether they were actual vegans or vegetarians. They were also asked questions to determine whether their veganism was diet-based (about food and eating) or if those choices extended to things like wearing leather and wool. If the respondents were vegetarian, the survey branched to ask them if they planned to reduce their consumption of some animal products. If not, the survey asked why not.
The results of the survey offer some potentially very good news for animal advocates in Britain. “Well over” one and a half million people are vegetarian or vegan (3.25% of the population); over half a million people follow a vegan diet (1.05%). And more than a third of a million (0.69%) avoid all animal products including food, clothing and other products. Similar to demographic trends in North America, the UK study found there were almost “twice as many women than men who are vegan.” Of the vegans surveyed, 42% of them were 15-34 years old, compared to just 14% who were over 65%. The Vegan Society notes in a news release that the number of vegans in Britain now represents a 350% increase since 2006. However, the method used for the 2006 estimate is not included in the current study. If the comparison is accurate, it would make veganism the fastest growing lifestyle movement in Britain.