A group of more than 100 international celebrities, athletes, activists, politicians, and business leaders have signed an open letter urging everyone to go vegan in January and beyond. Published by global campaign Veganuary, the letter includes signatories such as actors Edie Falco, Alan Cumming, and Evanna Lynch; comedians Ricky Gervais, Tig Notaro, and John Bishop; athletes Dotsie Bausch (Olympic cyclist), Patrik Baboumian (strongman), and Kuntal Joisher (mountaineer); environmental activists and organizations Jane Goodall, Chris Packham, Greenpeace UK, and Friends of the Earth; musicians Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde, and Bryan Adams; and many others.
“Trashing the planet does none of us any good, as the coronavirus pandemic shows all too clearly,” Packham, letter signatory and Veganuary Ambassador, said. “But we can emerge from this stronger and wiser, with a renewed commitment to protecting the environment, its inhabitants and our own futures. Being vegan is a great way to support the natural world and to live sustainably.”
The letter outlines the environmental damage caused by animal agriculture and points to the animal origins of diseases such as H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (avian flu) and warns that the next pandemic could originate from factory farms. “2020 has been an unforgettable year, with our attention divided between fears over coronavirus and anxiety over climate change. What has become increasingly obvious is that these two threats have something in common; both are heavily linked to our consumption of animal products,” the letter states. “Catastrophic climate breakdown and global pandemics could not be more serious, but they are not inevitable. If we act now, the future can be better. So, let’s go into 2021 with positivity and a determination to do all we can to protect our planet, its wild spaces and the health and wellbeing of all its inhabitants. To do that, we must change our diets.”
Founded in 2014, Veganuary is on track to meet its goal of 500,000 participants in 2021 with 250,000 people already signed up to go vegan for the month of January.