Vegan Myth: "One Person Being Vegan Won't Help

We take some of the biggest lies and misconceptions around veganism and tackle them head on

Out of all the horrible things defensive omnivores say to vegans, the accusation that the vegan isn’t doing anything of worth and  isn’t making a dent in the overwhelming suffering of animals, is probably one of the worst.

“After all,” the self-satisfied omni might say, “the chicken is already dead and wrapped in cellophane on the supermarket shelf. What difference does you not buying it make.”

What this particular omnivore is overlooking is one massively pertinent fact. Like it or not, here in the first world we live in a free-market capitalist society, driven by supply and demand.  Veganuar is an organisation that encourages people to try veganism for the month of January. It puts it simply: “An iron law of economics is that, in a well-functioning market, if demand for a product decreases, the quantity of the product that’s supplied decreases.

“Economists have studied this issue and worked out how, on average, a consumer affects total sales by declining to buy one unit of a product. They estimate that, on average, if you give up one egg, total production falls by 0.91 eggs; if you give up one gallon of milk, total production falls by 0.56 gallons. Other products are somewhere in between: if you give up one pound of beef, beef production falls by 0.68lbs; a pound of pork: 0.74lb; a pound of chicken: 0.76lb.’”

These theoretical changes are starting to add up in reality. Paul Shapiro is vice president of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States. He claims a per capita decline of meat consumption in the US (said to be around 10 per cent between 2007 and 2014) has resulted in fewer animals being killed for meat.

The U.S. raised and killed 9.5 billion land animals for food in 2007. As of 2014, that number plummeted by 400 million to 9.1 billion. Paul Shapiro said: ““What that means is that compared to 2007, last year almost half a billion fewer animals were subjected to the torment of factory farming and industrial slaughter plants–and that’s despite the increase in the U.S. population.

“That’s more animals than are experimented on, hunted, used in circuses, puppy mills, and end up in animal shelters each year in the U.S.—all combined.”

Not only that-but the number of vegans is rising-and rapidly. Look at the stats for GB. When Vegan Life teamed up with the Vegan Society to commission a poll of how many vegans there are, we discovered there’s been a whopping 360 per cent increase in our numbers over the last decade. Over half a million people are choosing to eschew all animal products from their diets.

So next time an omnivore tells a vegan there’s no point being vegan-well, half a billion animals would disagree.


The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.