Vegan culture in the USA

In addition to the editorial I already posted, I also wanted to share this presentation I made about veganism. Not that I’m planning to show all my university work here, but as this topic is something more important than just a “topic for presentations”, I like to share it. And no, I don’t do all my presentations about veganism, I’ll have to find something else for next time 😉

Il s’agit une nouvelle fois d’un travail que j’ai fait dans le cadre de l’université, et je ne vais pas le traduire car c’est assez long ! Il y a donc quelques exceptions à mes traductions (je ne sais pas ce que vaut la traduction automatique de pages par Google), mais comme vous pouvez le constater la grande majorité des posts sont tout de même dans les deux langues 🙂

>> HOW AND WHY IS VEGAN CULTURE EXPANDING IN THE USA ? <<

First, let’s introduce the word « culture ». According to the Cambridge dictionary, it is :
1) A way of life : The way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time.
2) Art : Music, art, theatre, literature, etc.

>> Veganism is related to the « way of life » definition of culture. Vegan culture represents the behavior and beliefs characteristics of a particular social group ; it is a way of life because it is linked to what these people eat, what they wear, and their activities.

VEGANISM

✽ Definition

Veganism « is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals ». (Amethyst Family Foundation)

As said previously, vegan culture is linked to all aspects of life. Vegans don’t eat animals nor products that come from animals. Also, they don’t wear anything that comes from animal exploitation : no leather, no silk, no fur. They don’t go to zoos, circuses, nor practice any activities that involve animals like horse or camel or elephant riding,...

✽ Reasons

Many vegans chose this lifestyle to promote a more caring world. They know that they are not perfect but they believe that they have a responsibility to do their best, while not being judgmental of others.

« Those who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests. »
Peter Singer, Australian philosopher

« The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous. »
David Brubaker, PhD, John Hopkins University

(http://shrinkthatfootprint.com)

  • For the animals

    The key factor that made most vegans chose this lifestyle is the prevention of animal exploitation. It is based on the idea that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Avoiding animal products is the most obvious thing someone can do to stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation.

  • For health

    There are many scientifically proven benefits to a vegan diet. Well-planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. It is a diet that helps reduce some of the world’s biggest health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

  • For people

    A plant-based diet is a more sustainable way of feeding humans, because it requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet.  In Brazil for example, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. It contributes to world malnutrition by making impoverished populations to grow crop for animals rather than food for themselves.

  • For the environment

    The livestock sector is the second leading cause of climate change : it is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. The important amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss, acid rain and species extinction. As for veganism, much lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain the diet.

    >> Here is a video that sums up some of these reasons

    ——-   

    VEGANISM IN THE USA

    ✽ Numbers and facts

    • In 2009, only 1% of the US population reported being vegetarian or vegan
    • Now, 5% of the US population is vegetarian and half of those 5% are vegan. The rates have risen very quickly over the last 5 years and those rates keep climbing.

    ➜ 16 million people in the USA are now vegan or vegetarian

      • 69% chose to eat a vegan diet to support the ethical treatment of animals
      • 45% transitioned into veganism over time
      • 42% of those who don’t eat animal products went vegan after seeing an educational film. There are for example Earthlings (ENG version / FR version) and Cowspiracy that show very well what happens.
      • 52% of vegans have been eating vegan for less than 10 years. It shows that the USA has become more knowledgeable about all this over the last years.

    Restaurants are adapting to vegan culture, by offering more and more vegan meals, and many exclusive vegan restaurants, that were not around five years ago, are opening now.

    Supermarkets are also adapting, by offering more vegan products, and the online vegan food industry has been growing the last five years and keeps developing.

    ✽ Vegan American celebrities

    In the latest years, veganism was often associated with a hippie lifestyle. However, the perception of veganism has changed thanks to celebrities and famous bloggers and it has become more « glamorous ».

    Indeed, many celebrities have become vegan, like Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, Bill Gates,… On the top of the rank, there are Beyonce and Jay-Z who are partners in a vegan food company. There are also vegan athletes, like Venus Williams and Mike Tyson.

    Generally speaking, there are many athletes, talk show hosts, millionaires, and political figures who are now turning to a vegan diet.

    >> Here is an interview of Moby, who has been vegan for a long time : « Why I went vegan »

    CONCLUSION

    Veganism is no longer considered as the diet for hippies or eccentric people, it has become a smart way to live that can help reduce our ecological footprint and develops our compassion.
    Concerning the USA, It’s now estimated that by 2050, it may be a « vegan country », or at least by a large percentage.

    >> Ranking of the Top vegan-friendly cities in the USA here

    Sources :
    The Cambridge dictionary
    The Huffington Post
    The Amethyst Family Foundation
    The Raw Food World
    Vegan Outreach
    Vegan Society

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