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Nearly 40 percent of British Columbians under 35 years-old eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, according to recent survey data.

As local media publication Vancouver Sun reports, the demographic of vegetarian people in Canada’s westernmost province is over three times greater than the average for all Canadians.

More than 28 percent of British Columbians under 35 are vegetarian, and a further 9.2 percent are vegan. Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was most surprised by this high number of young vegans living in the province. “British Columbians are the vegan and vegetarian champions of Canada,” Charlebois told the Vancouver Sun.

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“It’s quite astonishing,” Charlebois adds. “These numbers are the highest in the country.” Charlebois says 7.1 percent of  Canadians identified as vegetarian, whereas 2.3 percent identified as vegan.

The poll of more than one thousand residents also showed that 8.6 percent of people living in British Columbia are vegetarian and 3.9 percent are vegan. This means people in that region, such as Vancouver are 35 percent more likely to opt for a meat-free menu. People living in Ontario and Quebec were hot on the tail of British Columbia residents.

According to Charlebois, people with a high-level of education are more likely to reconsider a traditional diet and go ditch meat from their plates. “People with a university degree are three times more likely to consider themselves vegetarians or vegans than those with a high school diploma,” he said.

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Food reporter Erin Ireland told Vancouver Sun that British Columbians may be more inclined to eat animal-free due to the availability of vegan food. “Vancouver in particular is known for having great plant-based restaurants. It’s becoming a real destination for travelers who want to eat plant-based food,” she told the media outlet.

Ireland uses her popular social media accounts to continue inspiring people to eat more vegan food. An animal-lover since a young age, Ireland opted to go vegan when she made the connection between the animals she loves and the food on her plate. “I realized that I couldn’t be an animal lover and still eat animals.”


Image Credit: Dalhousie University via Vancouver Sun