A record-breaking 250,310 people in 190 countries pledged to go vegan in January 2019, according to new statistics released by campaign Veganuary. A majority of this year’s participants (87 percent) were women and 44 percent identified as meat-eaters. Health was the biggest driver for 46 percent of participants this year, with 34 percent and 12 percent choosing to eschew animal products due to animal welfare and environmental concerns, respectively. Almost all participants (98 percent) would recommend Veganuary to friends and 44 percent reported that they would remain vegan indefinitely. “What a year it’s been! More people than ever pledged to try only plant-based foods and we are grateful to every single person who took part and made such a positive change. Veganuary can be seen as a fun, new year challenge— and we really hope it is a fun experience for all—but we never forget there are serious issues at stake,” Veganuary co-founder Matthew Glover said. “Climate change threatens irreversible harm, forests are being decimated, and oceans polluted, while animals suffer unseen [abuse] in factory farms and wild animals are driven to extinction. Behind this destruction and suffering is animal agriculture.” A number of businesses debuted vegan options in January to support the campaign, including (now viral) vegan sausage rolls by convenience chain Gregg’s, vegan pizzas at Pizza Hut, and menu items at Bread Street Kitchen developed by acclaimed chef Gordon Ramsay. “The good news is that we each have the power to protect our planet and its inhabitants with every plant-based meal we eat,” Glover said. “That is why we are so proud of the Class of 2019, and why we, as a charity, will work harder than ever to grow the number of participants for Veganuary 2020, while maintaining a good ratio of people choosing to stay vegan.”
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