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General

  • 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. Source
  • If the UK population was killed at the rate farmed animals are killed around the world, it would end in just 11 hours. Sources: [1], [2], [3]
  • Over a billion farmed animals in Britain are killed each year in slaughterhouses. Source
  • Over 10 million pigs, 15 million sheep, 14 million turkeys, 15 million ducks and geese, 982 million broiler chickens, 50 million 'spent hens', 2.6 million cattle, 4.5 billion fish and 2.6 billion shellfish are killed in the UK each year - over 8 billion animals. Source
  • Interest in 'veganism' increased seven fold in the five years between 2014 and 2019, according to Google trends. It now gets almost four times more interest than vegetarian and gluten free searches (see below).

Treatment of animals

Cows

  • Dairy cows have been bred to produce up to 10 times more milk than they naturally would. Source
  • Male calves are of no use to the dairy industry and are less suitable for beef production. This means that every year around 95,000 male dairy calves are shot soon after birth and discarded as a by-product. Source
  • Domesticated cows have an average lifespan of 20 years, but on dairy farms they are killed after 5-6 years on average. Source
  • 30% of UK dairy cows have mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udder. Source
  • Every year on the UK, 2.6 million cattle are slaughtered for human consumption. Source
  • Cows can naturally live for around 20 years, but are sent for slaughter at around 10 - 12 months old. Source

Chickens and ducks

  • Globally, more than 66 billion chickens are reared annually as a source of food, for both their meat and eggs. Source
  • Every year in the UK we slaughter around 950 million birds for food consumption, including chickens, ducks and turkeys. Source
  • 90% of chicken production in the UK is in intensive windowless sheds which house 20,000-50,000 chickens each. Sources: [1, p.10], [2]
  • 51% of eggs produced come from chickens in battery cages. Source
  • 40 million day-old male chicks are killed in the UK by either being gassed or being thrown into a macerator - this practice occurs in all egg farming systems, including organic and free-range. Source
  • Beak trimming is the permanent removal of part of the beak of a bird at a young age. This is standard industry practice in the UK despite being illegal in many European countries due to the pain it inflicts. Source
  • A free-range egg farmer can legally house 16,000 birds in one building, meaning that they can house 9 birds per square metre of space. This means that free-range hens live out their entire lives in an overcrowded indoor farming unit. Source
  • Around 95% of duck production and 90% of turkey production comes from intensive indoor farming. Source

Pigs

  • Every year in the UK, 10 million pigs are slaughtered for human consumption. Source
  • Pigs have an average lifespan of 15 - 20 years, but reach slaughter rate at 6 months old. Source
  • Less than 3% of UK pigs spend their entire lives outdoors. Source
  • Most big slaughterhouses in the Britain and Europe kill pigs in gas chambers. Source
  • Around half of all antibiotics sold in the UK are used on farmed animals, with 60% of these being used on pigs. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Most pigs are entitled to less than one square metre of space each and the majority of sows (female breeding pigs) are kept in farrowing crates. Farrowing crates were made illegal in several countries across Europe, but are still standard farming practice here in the UK. Source [p.4]

Fish and other sea animals

  • Half of all plastic in the sea comes from fishing. Source
  • Three quarters of the world's fisheries are either exploited or depleted. Source
  • We kill between 1 and 2.8 trillion fish every year. This is 143-400x the amount of the entire human population. Source
  • 308,000 cetaceans are unintentionally drowned each year after becoming entangled in fishing equipment. Source
  • Farmed salmon has 10x the amount of cancer-causing organic pollutants than wild salmon. Source
  • For every pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. Source
  • Sharks kill 12 people per year. People kill 11,414 sharks per hour. Source

Sheep

  • Around 1.4 million sheep and goats are killed without being stunned each year in the UK using halal practices. Many people in the UK oppose this form of slaughter, yet purchase halal meat unknowingly, since it is sold in most major outlets, including supermarkets and takeaways, without always being labelled as halal. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Every year around 4 million newborn lambs die within a few days of birth, mainly because of malnutrition, disease or exposure to cold weather. Source
  • Male lambs are castrated using elastration, a technique that involves a thick rubber band being placed around the base of the infant’s scrotum, obstructing the blood supply and causing atrophy. This method causes severe pain to the lambs who are provided no pain relief during the process. Lambs also have their tails docked using the same method. Source [p.2]

Veganism in the UK

  • In 2018, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation. Source
  • Waterstones have 3,545 book titles with the word 'vegan' in them available for sale (as of October 2019) compared to 944 in August 2018. Source
  • Orders of vegan meals grew 388% between 2016 and 2018 and they are now the UK’s fastest growing takeaway choice. Source
  • Demand for meat-free food in the UK increased by 987% in 2017 and going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend in 2018. Sources: [1], [2]
  • The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.16% of the population; 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016; and 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014. Sources: Ipsos Mori surveys, commissioned by The Vegan Society, 2016 and 2019, and The Food & You surveys, organised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research (Natcen).
  • Vegans and vegetarians look set to make up a quarter of the British population in 2025, and flexitarians just under half of all UK consumers. Source
  • Almost half (42%) of UK vegans made the change in 2018, which shows veganism has been growing exponentially. Source
  • The sign-ups for the Veganuary campaign - where people eat vegan for the month of January - nearly doubled in 2019, with a whopping 250,000 people signing up. In comparison, there were 168,500 participants in 2018; 59,500 in 2017; 23,000 in 2016; 12,800 in 2015; and 3,300 in 2014. Source
  • 10% of British children aged eight to 16 are vegan or vegetarian, and 44% try to eat less meat, dairy and eggs. Source
  • More than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian. Source
  • Mintel reported nearly a quarter of Brits consuming plant milk in 2019, up from just 19% in 2018. Source
  • 1 in 3 Brits have stopped or reduced their meat consumption. Source  
  • Those who eat meat spend a whopping £645 extra a year on food, compared to those on a meat-free diet. Source
  • Bristol was the most popular British city for veganism in 2018, according to Google Trends, followed by the Edinburgh, Manchester and London. Source 
  • Over half (56%) of Brits adopt vegan buying behaviours such as buying vegan products and checking if their toiletries are cruelty-free. 50% of Brits said they know someone who is vegan. 1 in 5 Brits (19%) would consider going vegan. Source: Research carried out by Opinion Matters for The Vegan Society between 14 and 16 July 2017 involving a sample of 2,011 UK adults
  • The number of vegan residents in UK care homes has almost trebled in the five years to 2019, with a total of 7,000 vegans and vegetarians within 11,000 care homes. Source
  • Scotland: Demand for vegan haggis at Tesco in Scotland skyrocketed by 120% in 2018. Source
  • Scotland: There were over 100 vegan businesses in Scotland in 2019, up from just a handful in 2012-13. Source

Business / Food sales

  • The UK plant based market was worth £443m in 2018. Source 
  • The UK market for meat-free foods was worth £572m in 2017. Source
  • Meat substitute sales grew by 451% in the European market in the four years to February 2018. Source
  • The UK meat-free market is estimated to grow from £559m in 2016 to £658m in 2021. Source: Mintel ‘meat free food’ report, UK, May 2017
  • One in six products launched in the UK in 2018 carried a vegan claim. Source
  • The global market for vegan and vegetarian products was worth $51 billion in 2016. Source
  • The line of 20 Wicked Kitchen vegan meals was rolled out at 600 Tesco stores at the start of 2018 and sold more than 2.5 million units in the first 20-week period ending in May 2018 — more than double the company’s sales projections. Source
  • Vegan and vegetarian baby food is predicted to grow by 10.6% between 2016-2021. Source
  • Waitrose launched dedicated vegan sections in more than 130 stores after increasing its vegan and vegetarian product range by 60%. Source
  • Online grocer Ocado enjoyed a staggering 1,678% increase in sales within its 'vegan' category between 2015 and 2016. Source
  • Dairy milk sales fell by around £240m between 2014 and 2016 in the UK. Source
  • Demand for vegan and vegetarian ready meals and snacks at Tesco grew by 40% from 2016 to 2017. Source
  • Fresh meat sales fell by £328m throughout 2016, a 7.3% decline (beef sales down £72m, pork lost £62m, sausages £51m, poultry £49m and lamb £21m). Cheese went down by £70m (2.8%). Free-from foods rose by £123m, with Alpro adding another £23m. Source
  • Sainsbury’s sales of its vegan cheeses surpassed the company’s predictions by 300%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Sainsbury’s saw a 24% increase in customers searching for vegan products online and a 65% increase in sales of plant-based products year-on-year. Source
  • Veggie Pret was turning 70% profits increase within its first two weeks of operation, despite predictions that they would drop by up to 30%. Source
  • A staggering 92% of plant-based meals consumed in the UK in 2018 were eaten by non-vegans. Source 
  • There was a 39% increase in searches for ‘vegan fashion’ and ‘vegan clothes’ from 2017 to 2018. Source: Hitwise UK survey
  • Scotland: Sales of plant milk hit £367 million in the UK in 2017 and a farming expert called this an opportunity for Scotland to use its wonderful oats and pure water to produce oat milk. Source

Innovation

  • It is predicted that by 2040 only 40% of the global population will be consuming meat, with 35% consuming clean (lab) meat and 25% vegan meat replacements. Source
  • Between 2012 and 2016 there was a 185% increase in the number of vegan products launched in the UK. Source
  • Adverts for vegan job roles increased by 123% in 2018. Source
  • Dairy giant Danone invested $60 million in dairy-free products. Source
  • America’s largest meat processor Tyson Foods invested in vegan brand Beyond Meat. Source
  • Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers and HäagenDazs all offer vegan ice cream. Source
  • McDonald’s launched a vegan Happy Meal in the UK in January 2019, including a breaded red pesto goujon wrap. They also have vegan burgers in the US, Finland and Sweden. Source
  • KFC has launched vegan nuggets in the US and trial ran a vegan burger in the UK between June - July 2019. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Europe: In November 2019, Burger King launched their plant-based Rebel Whopper across 2,500 outlets in 25 countries - making it one of their largest product launches to date. Source
  • USA: Burger company Bareburger announced that it will open a vegan chain and remove some of its meat options from the menu. Source
  • USA: Elmhurst Dairy, a century-old company whose dairy milk could be found everywhere from Manhattan Starbucks cafés to 1,400 different public schools citywide, reinvented itself as a plant milk start-up in 2016 because – in its CEO’s words – “milk has sort of gone out of style” and he said he had worked to keep the plant open “long past the years that it was economically viable”. Source

Environment and sustainability

  • A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland. Sources: [1], [2]
  • A 2019 Harvard University report proved that if everyone in the UK went vegan, we would still have enough food for everyone to eat. If the UK returned meat, dairy and egg farms back to forest and grew health-promoting crops for human consumption, we would be able to sustain human calorie and protein needs in place of feed currently grown for animals. Source
  • A 2019 Imperial College study found that your diet is where you can make the biggest difference, followed by travel and heating. It is unrealistic to think that people could travel less or avoid heating their homes – many of them can’t, but everyone can indeed eat a vegan diet. Source
  • According to the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, leather from cows is nearly three times as harmful to the environment as vegan leather, and wool is twice as harmful as polyester. Source 
  • The sustainability argument is often misrepresented as people think that just because something is made of plastic, it automatically must be the least environmentally friendly option; in fact, when you consider how much it takes to stop a piece of cow skin from decomposing, animal leather is right at the bottom of the sustainable materials list. Many people forget to factor in how much water and food the cows consume, how much land they take up, how much waste and methane they produce, and the amount of chemicals used in the tannery industry that harm its workers.
  • Humans around the world drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion pounds of food each day. Cows around the world drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day - nine times as much water and seven times as much food as all humans. Source
  • If every family in the UK removed the meat from just one meal a week, it would have the same environmental impact as taking 16 million cars off the road. Source
  • A 2018 Greenpeace report found that “global meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and keep the Paris Agreement on track. If left unchecked, agriculture is projected to produce 52% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, 70% of which will come from meat and dairy.” Source
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction. Sources: [1], [2], [3]
  • Even the most environmentally damaging plant milk type (almond) is better for the planet than dairy milk. Source

  • Avocados are often accused of having a high environmental impact as they have a total water footprint of 1,981 mᶾ/ton. When looking at animal products, the largest water footprint is from cow's meat (at 15,400 mᶾ/ton), followed by sheep (10,400 mᶾ/ton), pig (6,000 mᶾ/ton), chicken (4,300 mᶾ/ton) and eggs (3,300 mᶾ/ton). So avocados' water footprint is still less than the lowest animal product. Sources: [1], [2]
  • A study published in Environmental Research Letters found that eating a plant-based diet has three times more positive environmental impact than washing your clothes in cold water; four times more than hang-drying clothes or recycling; and eight times more than upgrading light bulbs. Source
  • We can always be more sustainable in our food choices, but an off-the-shelf vegan diet is the most sustainable of all diets. Source
  • Average annual amount of CO2 emitted by typical UK diets:
    Meat-eater - 2,055 kg
    Vegetarian - 1,391 kg
    Vegan - 1,055 kg Source
  • 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals who are then eaten by Western countries. Sources: [1][2], [3]
  • Clean meat (grown in a lab) could be produced with up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, use 45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use than conventional meat. Source
  • A 2019 United Nations report urged people to eat less meat and dairy to help combat climate change. Source
  • Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of United Nations’ Livestock's Long Shadow report, said in 2006: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.” Source 
  • John Hopkins University found that, on average, a vegan diet is the most environmentally friendly of all diets and would cut emissions by 70%, while a Western style diet adds +135% to the emissions (see below). Source 

For more good statistics on the environment, please see this link.

Beauty and household products

  • Vegan facial skincare launches almost tripled between 2013 and 2018, rising from 13% of all launches in 2014 to 28% in 2018. Sources: [1], [2]
  • 19% people check if their toiletries are tested on animals. Source 
  • Sales of vegan cleaning products at Tesco increased by 80% in 2019. Source
  • Superdrug's own brand vegan cosmetics saw a 750% sale increase in January 2019. Source
  • Boots.com reported a 56% increase in vegan-related searches in 2019. Source
  • 'Not tested on animals' is the most important packaging claim for 57% people. Source
  • There was a 20% increase in searches for ‘vegan make-up’ from 2017 to 2018. Source: Hitwise UK survey 
  • The sale of vegan prestige beauty products in the UK reported an increase of 38% in the 12-month period between February 2017 to end of January 2018. Source
  • 76% people think that more effort should be made to find alternatives to using animals and 44% cite the word 'secretive' as the first thing on their mind associated with animal experimentation. Source
  • Beauty brands with cruelty-free certification account for 20% of the women's face skincare and grew by 18% compared to the overall category which grew by only 7% in 2018. Source
  • There was a 50% increase in the number of beauty and personal care products launched in the UK in 2016. Out of all beauty products with a vegan claim launched in the UK in 2016, 31% were skincare products, 29% colour cosmetics, 23% hair products, 13% soap and bath products, 2% fragrances and 2% deodorants. Source
  • A Market Research Future report predicts a 6% growth in cruelty-free cosmetics in the years between 2017-2023. Source
  • The UK is the biggest reported user of animals in Europe, with 3.9 million animal experiments reported in 2014. Source

Lots of facts and figures on animal testing can be found here. Please contact Cruelty Free International’s (formerly BUAV) press office with specific questions as this is their area of expertise.

Health

  • A global move to a vegan diet would avert 8.1 million premature deaths per year. Sources: [1], [2]
  • A 2019 study, totaling over 300,000 participants, by Harvard scientists discovered that eating a vegan diet can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost a quarter (23%). Sources: [1], [2]
  • A 2019 study of more than 12,000 people found those who ate mostly plant-based foods were 32% less likely to die from heart disease. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Eating a vegan diet may help people who are overweight reduce body fat and promote weight loss without restricting calories. Sources: [1], [2]
  • We could feed twice as many humans with today’s global harvest (in 2019) if we did not feed farmed animals but rather consumed the yield ourselves. Source
  • World Health Organization's first step to healthy eating is: "Eat a nutritious diet based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals". Source
  • The World Health Organisation report in November 2015 ranked processed meat ranked as a group 1 carcinogen (the same category as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos). Eating just 50g per day (two rashers of bacon) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. It also classified red meat as a group 2A carcinogen. Source
  • Vegan diets have been linked to a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. Source
  • High blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, is less common among vegans. Source
  • Body mass index and cholesterol levels are lower among vegans. Source
  • Those who eat seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day have a 33% reduced risk of premature death, compared with people who eat less than one portion. Source

Vegan Society statistics

  • The first ever newsletter by The Vegan Society records that there were just 25 members.
  • Some 32,000 products spanning across 1,000 companies are currently registered with our Vegan Trademark. Out of these, over 11,000 are cosmetics and toiletries, produced by around 400 brands.
  • The Vegan Trademark scheme began in 1990 but a half (16,000) of the 32,000 products registered with the Vegan Trademark were registered in the last two years alone, showing the number of registrations is growing exponentially. 
  • In 2017, a total of 6,318 products were registered with the Vegan Trademark, and in 2018 we registered 9,590 - a whopping 65% increase in the number of successful product registrations. 
  • Around 75% of trademarked products come from companies based outside of the UK, with Germany having the most Trademark holders, followed by Italy and then Spain. The Vegan Trademark is present in 53 countries around the world.
  • Products made by companies such as Flora, Alpro, Asda, Aldi, LUSH, Costa Coffee, Nestle and Caffe Nero carry the Vegan Trademark.

Worldwide statistics

  • Worldwide: Australia was the most popular country for veganism in 2018, according to Google Trends, followed by the UK and New Zealand. Source 
  • USA: The number of vegans in America grew by 600% from nearly 4 million in 2014 to 19.6 million in 2017. Source
  • USA: 2 in 3 Americans have stopped or reduced their meat consumption. Source
  • USA: Consumption of plant milk increased by 61% while consumption of cow's milk decreased by 22%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • USA: Plant milks make up 13% of the entire milk category. Their sale gew by 6% in 2019, while cow's milk sales decline by 3%. Source
  • USA: Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of all US water consumption. Source
  • USA: 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US are for farmed animals - not to treat illness but to promote growth and preventatively due to the stressful conditions the animals are raised in. Sources: [1][2], [3]
  • USA: 400 million fewer animals were killed in 2014 compared to 2007 because people were eating less animal products. Source
  • USA: There were as many people searching for vegan Thanksgiving recipes as there were people searching for turkey Thanksgiving recipes in November 2018. Source
  • USA: Egg company Cal-Maine Foods reported a $74m loss due to vegan egg alternatives. Source
  • USA: A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. Source
  • USA: 72% Americans oppose testing cosmetics products on animals. Source
  • Europe: Europe was the largest market for meat substitutes in 2016, accounting for 39% of global sales. Source
  • Germany: Germany is the global leader at vegan product development and launches, accounting for 15% of global vegan introductions between July 2017 and June 2018. Source
  • Germany: One in ten consumers buy meat alternatives, rising to one in five for Germans in the 16-24 age group. In 2005, only 1% of Germans considered themselves vegetarians; this rose to 7% in 2018. Source
  • Iceland: Iceland topped the worldwide rankings for popularity of veganism between June 2018 and June 2019. Source
  • Italy: Italy had the fastest growing meat-free population over 2011-2016 with a growth of 94.4%. Source
  • Italy: Around half of Italian consumers say they are lowering their red meat intake, while 24% say they are increasing the amount of vegetarian processed foods in their diet. Source
  • Ireland: The Just Eat website saw a 94% increase in vegan food orders in Ireland in 2017. Source
  • Poland: Around 60% of Poles said they planned to cut back on their meat consumption in 2018. Source
  • Sweden: Accoring to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Sweden saw its largest decrease in meat consumption for 30 years with a 2.6% drop in people eating meat in 2017. Source
  • China: The Chinese health ministry released dietary guidelines in 2016 that encourage their population of more than 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50%. Sources: [1], [2]
  • Australia: In 2016, Australia's packaged vegan food market was worth almost $136 million and is set to reach $215 million by 2020. Source
  • Southeast Asia: Between 2012 and 2016, new vegetarian and vegan product launches increased by 140% and 440% respectively in Southeast Asia alone. Source
  • South Africa: South Africa is the only African country with a sizable vegan following and the 23rd most popular destination for vegans in the world. Source

Please see this link for more US statistics.

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