A new year means new beginnings; new goals, new diets, new exercise plans and more. It is a time to reflect on your past year and think about how you can improve yourself for the one coming. Veganuary is a global campaign to encourage people to try veganism for January and beyond. In 2020 more than 400,000 people took the pledge and more than 600 brands, restaurants and supermarkets promoted the campaign. Since the late 2010's veganism has taken the world by storm. So why go vegan?


One of the main reasons is for the animals. Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason to go vegan but for many people it is the main one. Whether it comes from seeing animals on their way to the slaughterhouse or just loving animals in general it is one of the main reasons that people go and stay vegan. These are some of the facts that show the extent of which animals are exploited daily for our gain. If the UK population was killed at the rate farmed animals are killed around the world, it would end in just 11 hours. This is because over a billion farmed animals in Britain, and 8 billion worldwide, are killed each year in slaughterhouses. And one that really hit home for me as cows are my favourite animals was that 95,000 male calves (19% of those born) are shot soon after birth and discarded as by-product as they can can't produce milk and are less suitable for beef production. This is known as early disposal, it happens because it is much more expensive to rear the cattle (sell on for beef or veal) than it is to dispose of them.


One of the other main reasons to go vegan is helping the environment. If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint going vegan is one of the best ways to do it. If the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion. If people ate a mainly plant based lifestyle we would be able to reduce the land used for farming by half. This is key as in order to help stop global warming we have to re-introduce more forest as half of the trees have been cleared. My cousin, Jordan Lin says "I went vegan almost two years ago now and it was the best choice I've ever made!".


However there are some arguments against veganism. One of them is the production of soy. Soy is one of the most common meat replacement for vegans as it is full of protein, but it is also in things you probably eat everyday in things like chocolate, ice cream, cosmetics and soaps. The problem is that the production of say takes up a lot of land. Millions of hectares of important habitats like the Amazon Rain the Northern Great Planes are being destroyed for soy production. So may people argue that if everyone went vegan soy production would grow even more and ore habitats would be destroyed. However, 80% of the soy produced is actually fed to livestock so the problem isn't that people are eating to much soy directly but more the amount of animals that we rear.


Everything mass produced will have negative effects on our planet, the mere scale of our planet makes it so everyone eating any one thing will be damaging. So what's important is reducing the damage by producing things more sustainably. Overall, the point isn't that you need to go completely vegan today, it isn't all or nothing, but making small changes in your diet and being more aware of where your food came from would really help the world.