Belgium has launched a month-long campaign encouraging people to go vegan.
Called Try Vegan, the April campaign offers residents giveaways, recipes, nutritional facts, and tips in making the transition to a plant-based diet. It also highlights the benefits of ditching animal products.
Vegan Diet and the Environment
There are many reasons to eat more vegan and vegetarian food, according to the campaign, including to help reduce our impact on the environment.
Animal agriculture creates high CO2 and methane emissions, soil pollution, deforestation, and requires large amounts of resources including water. Plant-based foods have drastically smaller impacts on the planet; some crops, like lentils, can even help restore soil, which sequesters carbon. The largest-ever food production analysis, conducted by Oxford researchers, found that a vegan diet was the “single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth.”
Animal welfare is also inspiring people to make the change.
“Our high consumption of meat, milk, and cheese also entails a great deal of animal suffering,” Try Vegan wrote. It pointed out that the dairy industry repeatedly artificially impregnates cows so that they keep producing dairy. When calves are taken from their mothers — a standard industry practice — it is extremely stressful for both the mother cow and her baby.
Health Benefits of Going Vegan
Try Vegan also nods to health reasons as a motivating factor to going plant-based. “A growing number of studies show the many health benefits of a vegan diet for combatting lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers,” it explained.
By eating more vegan food, you can “tackle all these problems,” the campaign said. “Changing the world has never been so easy and delicious!”
Online, Try Vegan highlights that by ditching animal products in April, people can save 30 animal lives, 60kg of CO2, 21,000m2 of land, and 30,000 liters of water.
Belgium and Veganism
The campaign is not out of character for the Western Europe country, which has been shifting toward a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle for some time. In 2017, Belgium updated its nutritional guidelines, placing meat in the same category as junk food.
In January, the Flanders region of Belgium banned halal and kosher animal slaughtering practices due to animal welfare concerns. In Brussels, traffic lights are causing people to think twice about their eating habits, showing the text “stop meat” under its red lights and “go vegan” under green.