January 17, 2023, by sustainablenottingham

Why you should try Veganuary

Veganuary is here again! Perhaps you’ve tried it, or are doing it this year. Perhaps you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. Whatever your stance on veganism, UoN Vegetarian and Vegan Society have two reasons you might want to try going vegan this year.


According to the University of Oxford, going vegan could be the ‘single biggest way‘ to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This is hardly surprising, perhaps, when we consider the vast amounts of land that is not only needed for the animals themselves, but also for the crops needed to feed them. People tend to think that vegans only seem to care about animals: and we do care about them. But our food system is rooted in exploitation and inequality for human beings as well.

Veganism is just as much a social justice issue as an animal welfare and environmental one.

How is it that we can feed over 20 billion livestock animals but not 8 billion people? Farmed animals consume much more protein, water, and calories than they produce. They are massively unsustainable and going vegan is such an important step to take in the face of the climate emergency, nature crisis and global lack of resources. These impending catastrophes will hit the most vulnerable people first and hardest. It is only by changing our habits in the West that we can prevent the massive and unnecessary suffering of people as well as animals.


Yet after all this research I know what you’re thinking. Why isn’t vegetarianism enough? let me ask you something. Why do mammals produce milk? Why do birds produce eggs? When we give it a thought, we come to the realisation that these products are not a natural and passive by-product of their existence. To produce milk, cows need to be pregnant, just like humans. However, in these industries this is manipulated for profit with cows repeatedly impregnated and forced to give birth. Their calves for whom the milk was intended are usually killed so the milk can be sold instead. When the cows are no longer able to produce as much milk, they are slaughtered.

The egg industry can contain some similar horrors. Commercial chickens have been selectively bred for years to produce around 250 eggs annually for humans. This would be a painful and draining process on its own but it gets worse. Industrially farmed chickens can be cramped in confined spaces and to prevent them from pecking one another, their beaks are mutilated. Similarly to the dairy industry, only females are useful and males are killed on their first day.

Veganuary is therefore so important as you won’t be contributing to these abominable practices. I know it can be difficult to cut out certain foods if you put it into the perspective of the animals and the planet, it is a lot more manageable, for me at least.

Things you can do:

  • Try going plant based
  • If you are going to eat meat and diary, eat it less often and buy higher welfare produce, free-range or organic if you can afford it
  • Take action with the Humane League

Ashwin Clayden and Madeleine Birchmore, from the Vegetarian and Vegan society.

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