The Guardian view on veganism: high in moral fibre

7 September 2017

Vegans are often unfairly mocked. They should instead be praised.

Jeremy Corbyn is “going through the process” of eating more vegan food, he has said – he just has to bring himself to give up the brie, verboten under vegan rules, along with eggs, milk and everything animals produce. Later, as if fearful of a backlash, his spokesperson issued a statement denying he was vegan. But the Labour leader was right to be proud of his efforts. Vegans are often unreasonably mocked as do-gooders and sniped at for making dinner parties awkward for those who don’t like lentils quite so much. This is unfair: the diet does do the world good and if vegans provoke their friends into going vegan too, so much the better.

There is now a great deal of convincing data that breeding animals for food dirties the air and chews up the earth. One recent peer-reviewed study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculates that should the world go vegan, annual greenhouse gas emissions would halve and the new land used every year for each person would near-halve. The diet is also healthier: some meat products have been linked to cancer and saturated fat from meat and dairy products can cause heart disease. A study published in Nature predicts that global veganism would lead to 8.1 million fewer deaths per year.

Vegans should be encouraged: their choice is high in moral as well as digestive fibre. Their detractors should stop crying over spelt milk.

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