Vegan Myth: "Vegans are Destroying the Rainforest"

We Take Some of the Biggest Lies and Misconceptions around Veganism and Tackle them Head On

Soya is often associated with a variety of dairy-free and meat-free vegan products. It’s believed a football pitch-size area of rainforest is razed down every second to grow this crop. Changing a rich and vibrant rainforest into a monoculture farming plot affects wildlife and biodiversity. It also adversely affects people, the global climate, water reserves and soil quality. The global soya habit is a destructive one and the blame is often laid at the feet of soy-latte quaffing vegans.

But is it fair to point the finger at those following a plant-based diet?

Animal charity the WWF says: “In South America [the most affected area] almost four million hectares of forests are destroyed every year, 2.6 million of them in Brazil alone. Although this is lower than in the 1990s, it is still far too high and can largely be blamed on heavily soya-dependent livestock farming.”

Livestock farming you say? Turns out the vast majority of soya grown is used in animal agriculture. In fact, according to documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, up to 70 per cent of the soya grown globally feeds animals destined for the food chain.

The WWF adds: “Soybean meal is the largest source of protein feed in the world, and is generally used in animal feed.

“Therefore, most of the world’s soybeans are consumed indirectly by humans through products like meat (chicken, pork and beef), dairy, eggs and farmed fish. People also directly consume soybeans in tofu, soy sauce, meat substitutes and other soy products.”

The upshot of this is that meat eaters frequently indirectly digest more soy than vegans. And it’s not just used for food-the use of soya for biodiesel production is growing rapidly, as is its use in other non-food related items including paint, ink, wax, and foam-products used by people following all diets, not just a plant-based one.

Despite the many uses of soya, there is one single thing that people can easily and practicably do to save the rainforests. According to the WWF: “Limiting consumption of animal-based food products, particularly meat, is one thing people can do to help end this devastating trend.”


The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.