November is World Vegan Month!
By Heather Moore
Happy World Vegan Month! Every November, vegans and vegan-curious folk — those interested in trying more healthful, humane foods —bcelebrate the ever-growing popularity of vegan living. Journalists estimate that there are at least 79 million vegans in the world, based on the numbers recorded in Australia, India, the U.K., the U.S. and other nations with a blossoming vegan population. A 2020 study found that the number of vegans in the U.S. alone increased by 300% — about 9.6 million people — between 2004 and 2019.
If you haven’t already, why not pledge to go vegan for World Vegan Month? You’ll be in good company, and you’ll have plenty of options. Experts forecast that the global vegan food market will mushroom to over $24 billion by 2026, and analysts at Barclays bank predict that the global vegan food and drink market will expand by more than 1,000% by the end of the decade.
Vegans are sprouting up left and right because of mounting concerns about cruelty to animals, the climate crisis and health problems. I went vegan 28 years ago, primarily for ethical reasons. I was vegetarian for several years before that, until I realized that I was still supporting cruelty to animals, albeit unintentionally.
I knew that cows killed for their flesh are branded with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and the males are castrated — without pain relief — but I didn’t understand that cows forced to produce milk suffer just as much, if not more.
On dairy farms, cows are repeatedly and forcibly impregnated so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. When they give birth, their calves are taken away from them — the males are often killed for veal, and the females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers. Eventually, they all end up at the slaughterhouse, dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.
And while I knew that it’s cruel to cram chickens raised for meat — smart, sentient birds who grieve when they lose a loved one — into filthy, severely crowded sheds before cutting their throats and often scalding them to death, I wasn’t aware that similar abuses are inflicted on egg-laying hens.
Most egg-laying hens spend their lives confined to a space the size of a standard file cabinet drawer with up to 10 others, unable even to lift a wing. A portion of each bird’s sensitive beak is cut off with a hot blade. Male chicks are useless to hatcheries — they don’t produce eggs, and they aren’t bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they’re usually suffocated or tossed into a grinder while they’re still alive.
Since animals are routinely killed by both the milk and egg industries, being vegetarian wasn’t enough for me. Fortunately, vegan options are now easy to find. Vegan foods not only taste great, they’re cruelty- and cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat. Vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and vegan foods don’t cause animal-borne diseases, such as bird flu, swine flu and COVID-19. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll be pleased to know that producing vegan food uses up fewer resources and generates a lower volume of greenhouse gases than producing animal-derived foods does.
When you consider the many benefits of going vegan, it makes sense that millions of people are celebrating World Vegan Month this November.
And … Vegan baking cheat-sheet for your holidays!♥️💚🍃: