Vegan Demographics 2017 – USA, and the world

http://veganbits.com/vegan-demographics-2017/

vegan demographics

 It’s been a long time since I’ve written about vegan demographics. Do we care? Should we care? Probably not, but since Jane and I are coming up on ten years as vegans in a few months, I figured now was a good time to look at the vegan demographic statistics. As you might suspect, it’s not easy to determine how many vegans there are. It’s not like you enter that information on your census report. There are all sorts of polls on vegetarians and vegans. I like getting my data from faunalytics.org. Most, but not all of the following information is from their site.

We are the one (half) percent

So how many vegans are there in the USA? Based on a sampling of 11,000 adults, aged 17 and over, only two percent of Americans are vegetarian. Only one-in-four vegetarians — or 0.5% of the USA adult population — is vegan. Only half of one percent of the USA population — or 1.62 million of us — is vegan.

(Is 11,000 a reasonable sampling? Perhaps you are think that this sampling is too small and is therefore skewing the results. I suspect otherwise. This sampling is, by far, the largest such sampling that I’ve found. Most other such polls are usually only looking at about 2,000 people.)

There are many former vegans than there are current vegans; there are more than five times as many former vegetarians/vegans than there are current vegetarians/vegans. Said differently, 84% of vegetarians/vegans abandon their diet. Extrapolated out, that means that there are 8 million lapsed vegans as opposed to the 1.6 million current vegans.

Only about one-in-eight Americans has ever considered themselves vegetarian/vegan. Roughly 88 percent of Americans have always considered themselves omnivorous/carnivorous.

Vegan Demographics

So who are the 1.6 million vegans? You might be surprised to find that the average age of a vegan today is 42. I suspect that many people think that most vegans are in their 20’s and 30’s. According to this research, those young adults only account for about half of all vegans.

What is less surprising is that 74% — almost three-in-four vegans — are female. Most vegans are left leaning politically and are not religious.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the typical vegan is female, left learning, non-religious. Let’s look at longevity. As we have seen, there are many more former vegetarians/vegans than people who currently eat this way. The survey suggests that for many, it’s fleeting. Only about one-third (34%) maintained the diet for three months or less, and more than half (53%) of former vegetarians/vegans adhered to the diet for less than one year. So it appears that people try this lifestyle on for size and for one reason or another, half of them go back to their normal, traditional diet after a year or less.

If you are thinking that the current vegetarians/vegans might return to their former omni eating ways, only 12% of the current vegetarians/vegans in the survey have been eating this way for less than a year. Therefore, 88% of those who claim to be vegetarian/vegan have been so for over a year, presumably many have been eating this way for several years.

Income

While this might come as a surprise to some, there are more vegans in the lower end of the income range. The average American earns $54,000. The largest concentration of vegans is in the sub $50,000 income range.

This, according to data gathered by VRG as reported by the Huffington Post.

Why the discrepancy? It’s probably age related; there are more vegans in their 20’s and 30’s than there are in their 50’s and older. Older adults are more likely to have higher incomes than younger adults.

The Huffington Post article suggest that younger people are more likely to be vegan and tend to have lower incomes than older people:

Six percent of survey respondents between 18 and 34 were vegetarians compared to only two percent who were over 55. Young people are also more likely to make less money than older adults as more of them are students or are starting their careers.

(The information reported above from Faunalytics indicated that the average age was 42. This survey from VRG suggests that there are far fewer vegans in their 50’s than in their 20’s. The VRG survey which sampled 2,000 adults also found a closer ratio of vegans based on gender than the Faunalytics survey of 11,000 found. The VRG survey suggests that women make up only 55% of vegans. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Faunalytics determination that women account for 74% of vegans seems more accurate to me.)

Why are you vegan?

Participants in the study were asked about their motivations for eating a vegetarian/vegan diet. A great many people indicated that they are vegan for health, taste, and humanitarian reasons.

The same questions were asked of former vegetarians/vegans. There is a statistically significant association between nearly all of the motivations tested and whether an individual is a current or former vegetarian/ vegan, with the exception of cost, social influence, and wanting to follow a food trend.

Most Vegan Friendly Cities in America

According to PETA, the most vegan friendly cities in America are:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. New York City, New York
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Nashville, Tennessee
  6. San Diego, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Richmond, Virginia

There are many websites which have their own way of determining which cities are most vegan-friendly. Having never been to Detroit or Richmond, I have to say that those locations come as a surprise to me. Several of the other large cities appear on everyone’s list.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Concentration of Vegans (by country)

The following two tables are derived from data gathered by Wikipedia

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Poland
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Israel
  7. Italy
  8. Sweden
  9. Spain
  10. Finland

These are the only ten countries that they have listed for vegans. It comes as a surprise to me that there are so many vegans in Japan. Maybe it’s just the volume of people that skews this data somewhat. According to this table, there more than 3 million of the 127 million residents of Japan are vegans.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Percentage of Vegans (by country)

As you can see, Israel has the largest concentration of vegans, with five percent of the population indicated to be vegan. The USA only ranks fifth on this list.

Please not that the data from Wikipedia suggests that 1.5% of the USA population is vegan, whereas the data from Faunalytics indicates that only 0.5% of the USA population is vegan; just one-third as many.

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Not In My Backyard: The Day My Quiet Cul-De-Sac Turned Into a Bloodbath

By Hope Bohanec, Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns

I live in a rural area of Sonoma County, California in the small town of
Penngrove. It’s farm country and there isn’t much more in the tiny downtown
block than a burger joint and bars. But it’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The
golden hills glimmer in the distance, and mature, majestic oak trees shade
the
wild turkeys and deer in our neighborhood. My husband and I have been in
this
area for over a decade, and while a miniature horse or a goat in a field is
a
common sight, chickens were not, up until a few years ago. The popularity of
having chickens at home has grown, and now we see flocks of chickens
everywhere.
Across the street, there is a chicken “tractor” (a mobile chicken coop) in a
sprawling field. We often see a colorful collection of chickens here and
there,
wandering and scratching around front yards as we take our evening walk.

So when our new neighbors built a chicken coop in their backyard, I wasn’t
surprised, but I was concerned. Our four duplexes share a laundry, and I
walk
directly in front of this neighbor’s house on a regular basis. He is often
outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the chickens first came, I
braved
inhaling a haze of second-hand smoke to inquire about the birds. He said he
got
them for eggs. I said, “You’re not going to kill them, are you?” He said no,
that he had them just for the eggs. I reminded him that coops need to be
cleaned
daily and that he should adopt chickens if he was going to get any more, but
doubted that he would care one way or the other about something like this
as he
blew smoke away from my direction.

A few months later, I was walking some laundry out to the machines. As I
glanced
in this neighbor’s front yard, he and two other men were standing around a
tall,
green, plastic garbage can. There was a scuffle and I couldn’t quite figure
out
what was happening at first, until I saw his arms spotted in blood and a big
black bird flapping her wings furiously as she was being held upside down by
both men in the garbage can. Her large ebony wings beat desperately against
his
arms. The third man was skinning the sandy colored feathers off another
chicken
and there was a third little body, colorless, headless, featherless, with
her
feet cut off, balanced on the top of the garbage can. I dropped my laundry
basket and screamed, “What are you doing!?!?!” The neighbor was immediately
uncomfortable. He said, “Oh, sorry Hope.” One of the other men looked at me
and
said, “We’re gonna BBQ!”

I ran back to my apartment and grabbed my cell phone and then back to the
scene
of the horror and with trembling hands started taking pictures while I
pleaded
with him to stop. There wasn’t another bird out there, just the three now
still
and silent. The neighbor said these three were the “old ass chickens.” I
assume
he meant they were not laying eggs as frequently as the others in his
backyard.

Through my tears, I reminded him that he had promised he wasn’t going to
kill
the chickens. He didn’t say much, just apologized again. He knows my
feelings as
he sees my vegan bumper stickers every day, and we have talked on a couple
of
occasions about veganism and not killing animals. It seemed to me like he
felt
“caught in the act.” I can only hope that he does feel a degree of guilt
and not
just embarrassment about doing something his neighbor disapproves of.

I was so upset I forgot my laundry basket which sat out in the driveway for
hours and I cried my eyes out. It was sickening to witness. My neighbor
literally had blood on his hands from taking a precious life not fifty feet
from
my front door, and there was nothing I could do about it. The fact that
these
men were executing this repulsive act in a garbage can felt terribly
symbolic of
how they seemed to feel about these birds. They treated them like garbage
and
left their heads, feet, feathers, and other parts of their little bodies to
be
thrown away with the trash.

I called our mutual landlord to complain. He sympathized with me but said
only
that he would tell the murdering neighbor that he should do his killing in a
more private and secluded area of his backyard in the future. I know that
it is
legal to kill animals who are your “property” as long as you do it
“humanely.”
But what can be humane about taking a sentient being’s life? And although
throat
cutting and beheading are considered “humane” methods of killing, they
certainly
are not. Throat slashing is a painful, traumatic way to die, and it can take
agonizing, frightening minutes for someone to bleed out. Killing an animal
who
wants to live can never be humane. This idea that we can “humanely” take the
life of another animal is an outrage. And I am outraged that it is
happening in
my backyard . . . in anyone’s backyard.

The idea that it is somehow better to “kill your own” baffles me. One
argument
my neighbor might use is that his bird had a good life and this was her
“one bad
day.” But what about all the other days of life you are depriving her of?
What
about all the days of sunshine, eating, dustbathing, playing with friends,
and
loving being alive? It’s not just one bad day; it’s denying someone a
lifetime
of experience, robbing them of the full knowledge of life. If we don’t want
our
human life cut short, how can we justify taking the life of another sentient
being who wants to live when it is completely unnecessary and we live
healthier
as vegans?

Another position that people who kill animals themselves take is that the
person
is now aware of the process and “knows where their food comes from.” But
this is
useful only to that person. The animal receives no benefit from this
concept. If
they took care of the animal, fed and cleaned and provided for this animal,
then
a bond of trust was formed between the caregiver and the dependent. To turn
on
someone you care for, and then mercilessly kill them, is a terrible
betrayal of
trust. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal. This phrase is the title of my
book
on the subject of small scale animal agriculture, *The Ultimate Betrayal*.
For a
broader, in depth analysis of this issue, I encourage you to read my book
<https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-There-Happy-Meat/dp/1475990936/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1372963043&sr=8-1>
.

I haven’t seen my neighbor since that horrible day, which is unusual as he
is
typically out in his haze of smoke several times a day. I think he has
moved his
habit to the backyard so he doesn’t have to look me in the eye. I hope that
my
reaction made him think deeply about what he did. There is a different
energy
now when I walk past his place and out to the laundry. It feels somber and
sad
knowing what occurred there. It’s horrible to live with but only
strengthens my
resolve to fight for these beautiful birds and help bring about the day when
they no longer suffer at the hands of our neighbors.

__________

Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and author
of
*The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?*
<http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/alerts/170901_not_in_my_backyard.html

If we can’t defend animal rights, we don’t deserve to call ourselves progressives

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/19/if-we-cannot-defend-animal-rights-we-do-not-deserve-to-call-ourselves-progressives_partner/
“The world’s most pervasive form of exploitation, along with its
resultant environmental harm, can’t be laid at the feet of
Republicans, conservatives or those we define as bigots in our
society. That’s because both sides of the aisle participate in the
needless consumption of animals.

“Consumers are increasingly made aware that countless sentient beings,
just like companion dogs and cats, are abused and slaughtered for
products we don’t really need. Marketers convince the public that
animal exploitation is necessary to sustain human life. But it’s not
true.

“This profiteering is a byproduct of unchecked capitalism, producing
food products that cause cancer, contribute to obesity and exacerbate
the diabetes crisis.

“Public consciousness is sorely lagging on the issue. Standing against
the exploitation of sentient beings outside our own species is often
considered superfluous by progressives who embrace radical thought in
other areas. It’s not uncommon to hear a supposed liberal accuse
vegans of not caring enough about humans.”

All of us with compassion

No automatic alt text available.

“For as long as i can breath i will fight for the animals…
The day i stop breathing, on my final breath i will feel sadness, that i can fight no more.
Yet elated that i am freed from this living hell that all of us with compassion have to witness on a daily basis, created by fellow humans that i am ashamed to be connected with.~ X”

Is this the beginning of the end of meat?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/17/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-meat/?utm_term=.2b39ca176579

March 17

Patrick Brown founded Impossible Foods with the goal of supplanting the meat industry. He believes America’s 230 million omnivores can be made to trade their hamburgers and steaks for a plant-based equivalent, scienced into being.

That vision may yet be a long way off — even Brown admits as much. But next week the concept will get an important early test: Impossible Foods is opening its first large-scale facility in Oakland.

The Oakland plant, which will begin to produce burgers this summer, is the first concrete sign that Impossible Foods and flagship offering are anything more than utopic moonshots. The plant will prove whether or not the concept can scale, which has implications for public health and the environment.

Can a burger made from pea protein replace meat?

Play Video1:30
The beyond burger from Beyond Meat aims to replicate the texture, color and taste of a beef burger. (Jayne Orenstein, Joe Yonan/The Washington Post)

It also has consequences for the emerging clean-meat industry, of which Impossible Foods is an early (and highly visible) player. Unlike Boca or Morningstar before them, which sought to corner the vegetarian market, these companies aim to appeal to hardcore meat-eaters by creating a meaty plant-based product. Beyond Meat, a popular vegetarian brand, has dipped a toe in those mainstream waters with its beet-juice “bleeding” Beyond Burger. And earlier this week, the start-up Memphis Meats announced that it had successfully created a lab-grown chicken strip — at a whopping price per pound of $9,000.

The future of meat?

Plant-based and clean meat companies are attracting big investments. This chart shows the current equity funding, according to Crunchbase, for six of them.

Impossible Foods
$182,000,000
Hampton Creek
$120,000,000
Beyond Meat
$17,000,000
Clara Foods
$3,450,000
Memphis Meats
$3,050,000
SuperMeat
$151,340

But few of these companies have proved that they can commercialize yet, and even those that have, like the Beyond Burger, still only sell at Whole Foods. With this new facility, a spokesperson for Impossible Foods said, the company’s production capacity will increase 250-fold — allowing it to supply 1,000 restaurants by the end of this year.

“The mission of the company is to making the existing method for producing meat obsolete,” said Brown on the phone from California, several weeks before the factory’s ribbon-cutting. “That means we need to be competitive everywhere. And soon we will be.”

Proclamations like this one have earned Brown and his six-year-old company constant attention almost since its founding. A former biochemistry professor at Stanford, Brown became interested in industrial meat production after learning that it’s a major contributor to climate change: livestock account for nearly 15 percent of all greenhouse gasses, according to the United Nations.

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Brown became convinced that, given enough time and resources, science could essentially solve that problem by engineering plant-based “meats” that look and taste like the original artifact. Since 2011, he has received more than $180 million in investments from the likes of Bill Gates and Google Ventures to pursue the project.

His first offering is the Impossible Burger: a patty composed largely of wheat and potato proteins that — thanks to a iron-containing molecule called heme — looks, handles and (reportedly!) tastes quite a lot like ground beef. The burger has caught the eye of several high-end chefs, including New York’s David Chang and San Francisco’s Traci Des Jardins, who have put the burger on their respective menus for roughly $15 apiece.

But even as the burger earned rave reviews from curious patrons, its central tenet has remained unproven. Namely, Brown still has to show that he can churn out burgers en masse — and that red-blooded meat-eaters will buy them.

That could prove difficult in two respects, say analysts and advocates who know the industry. First, Brown and his team will need to optimize their supply chain and manufacturing process to bring the price of the Impossible Burger on par with conventional beef.

Some of that will happen naturally, said Bruce Friedrich, the executive director of the Good Food Institute: all food startups, regardless of what they make, benefit from economies of scale as they standardize and mechanize the way they make their food. Prices will also come down once Impossible Foods has a reliable distribution network. And the company has another advantage, as well: Compared to conventional livestock slaughter, its methods are inherently more efficient.

But sourcing has still provided challenges — such as the question of heme. The iron-containing molecule is what makes the Impossible Burger taste like meat. Brown initially extracted it from the root nodules of soybeans, but that process, at scale, costs a fortune and releases a lot of greenhouse gasses. Impossible Foods eventually skirted the issue by engineering yeast that produce heme, meaning that the company no longer needs to extract the molecule from soybeans. It can be produced in vats.

It’s also not the only uncertainty that faces Impossible Foods. The company’s biggest challenge may be getting it to catch on not only with the coastal Whole Foodies who have flocked to Manhattan or Los Angeles to try it thus far, but with average and middle-income Americans. Brown is adamant that his product is not designed to appeal to vegetarians; he’s after the old-school meat-eater, who is motivated largely by price, taste and convenience.

John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State and the president of the Institute of Food Technologists, believes this type of consumer might prove difficult to convince, even if plant-based meats are priced on par with their conventional equivalents. Some focus-groups and studies have suggested that consumers aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of meat that doesn’t technically have any animal in it.

“So much is going to play out in psychology, more even than in chemistry,” Coupland said. “Meat is an incredibly gendered thing to eat. How is that going to play out? Are you picking the light beer by having this stuff? It’s too early to tell if it’s really going to take off.”

We may find out very shortly. While Impossible Foods is not releasing any details on the new plant’s exact capacity, cost or headcount until after the March 22 launch, it’s already clear that the facility represents a significant ramp-up from what the company has produced thus far.

By the end of the year, Brown said, the burger will be in multiple restaurants, including some chains like Bareburger, which debuted the Impossible Burger at its flagship location in February. Those restaurants won’t all be coastal hotspots, Brown added — they’re pursuing deals in the heartland, as well. Brown has also reportedly been in talks with McDonald’s, though the company doesn’t have that capacity yet.

Such a coup could move the whole industry much closer to dinner tables across America. And other plant-based and clean meat companies are watching the experiences of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat closely, Friedrich said. Their success or failure in scaling could inform the whole market.

“This is brand-new for the plant-based meat industry,” he said. “It’s lifting the whole sector and inspiring other entrepreneurs and food scientists to get involved with it.”

Sign of the Times: Washington Post Says Meat Is Horrible

“Meat is horrible,” a new article in The Washington Post, highlights the negative impacts of a Western diet.
Author Rachel Premack discusses the environmental, ecological, and health reasons Americans must give up or cut back on meat. Featuring multiple graphs, her compelling argument destroys common myths and seems to support a meat tax.
Premack writes:

By 2050, scientists forecast that emissions from agriculture alone will account for how much carbon dioxide the world can use to avoid catastrophic global warming. It already accounts for one-third of emissions today — and half of that comes from livestock.

She also notes that it takes “48 times as many liters of water to produce the same amount of beef as veggies” and we could save “a collective $730 billion in health care by reducing meat consumption.”
The debate over climate change and animal agriculture’s role in it is over. We know how raising animals for food damages our planet, and it’s time world leaders took action.
In the meantime, you can help protect the planet, your health, and animals by switching to a plant-based diet.
Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.

More Morning Meanderings of a Madcap Misanthropist

SmalfutLately I’ve made reference to Bigfoot—that legendary creature that people occasionally claim to see in the Northwest forest, but who have yet to be physically proven—as an analogy for the oft-cited but never really sighted mythical character the “ethical hunter.” The latter, of course, is a contradiction in terms. How can a person make sport of killing of animals in the prime of their lives and call themselves “ethical?”

But aside from the myth factor, the comparison is flawed. Bigfoot are said to be peaceful, self-sufficient vegetarians who live in harmony with the rest of life around them. ( Naturally, they avoid humans like the plague.)

The idea that a human-like creature can fit in with their environment and not destroy it does seem far-fetched these days. But for hundreds of thousands of years, our earliest ancestors lived alongside Australopithecus robustus, a plant-eating hominid who just tried to mind their own business until our direct carnivorous cousins killed or drove them off (just as gorillas of today’s world are falling victim to the bush meat trade.)

Upon reflection, human hunters, even those claiming to be the “ethical” ones, don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as higher beings like Bigfoot. Although a general rule of thumb may be, the more human-like, the more destructive, Bigfoot is a hopeful exception. The notion of a peaceful, inoffensive, upright two-legger is refreshing indeed.

L-R, Bob Titmus, Jim Robertson at Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., with some of Bob's casts

L-R, Bob Titmus, Jim Robertson at Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., with some of Bob Titmus’ bigfoot casts. Circa 1980

“Fish Are Sentient and Must Be Included in Our Moral Circle”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201406/fish-are-sentient-and-emotional-beings-and-clearly-feel-pain

Fish are Sentient and Emotional Beings and Clearly Feel Pain

By Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. on June, 19, 2014 in Animal Emotions

Fish deserve better treatment based on a review of scientific data on their cognitive and emotional lives. According to the author, “the extensive evidence of fish behavioural and cognitive sophistication and pain perception suggests that best practice would be to lend fish the same level of protection as any other vertebrate.” Fish must be included in our moral circle. Read More