Today in amazing news: according to a new Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, the number of vegans in the United States has DOUBLED since 2009 to 2.5% of the population. An amazing 7.5 million U.S. citizens now eat vegan diets that do not include any animal products – no meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs. Close to 16 million, or 5%, identify as vegetarian, never eating meat, poultry or fish.
If this rate continues, vegans will be 10% of the U.S. population in 2015, 40% in 2019, and in 80 % in 2050!
This would mean an end to the exploitation and suffering of billions of farmed animals. The study also revealed that 33% of U.S. citizens are eating vegetarian meals a significant amount of the time and ordering vegetarian meals at restaurants, though they are not vegetarians. That is over 100 million people, one third of the country!
Yesterday Jay-Z posted on his website stating that him and wife Beyonce are going vegan for 22 days as part of a challenge. He asked for suggestions on vegan food spots and clarified that he doesn’t know what will happen after 22 days. Maybe he will go back to eating meat, maybe he will stick with a full plant-based diet. I was thrilled when I read this news. Two extremely high-profiled and influential celebrities are trying veganism. That should be applauded!
Except many vegans didn’t feel that way. I found myself reading comments such as “So is whore Beyonce going to give up fur?” or comments such as, “I don’t believe those fur hags are really going vegan.” As an ethical vegan (and very clearly I’m for animal liberation, given the name of my blog), of course I understand that fur is not vegan and yes, I do wish they would stop wearing animal skins. But veganism is not about perfection. I wore leather. I ate meat. I went to the zoo. Any step towards compassion should be celebrated. I was taken aback reading all of the judgmental comments when really, the vegan community should be welcoming them with open arms. Veganism is not an exclusive club. By being pessimistic, you’re only discouraging people from joining the cause and in turn, hurting animals.
I’ll be cheering on Jay-Z and Beyonce during their plant-based challenge and I hope you will join me!