Pig in hay at a higher welfare farm in the UK.

Why World Animal Protection isn’t a vegan organisation?


One of the questions we get asked a lot is why we are not a vegan advocacy organization. It’s a good question and something we’ve thought long and hard about.

Top image: Thomas Alexander

There are two schools of thought or approaches that animal organisations take: One is the rigid “shoot for the stars, and you’ll fall on the moon” approach, meaning that if you ask people to go vegan for the animals, then they might hear you and go somewhat vegan/vegetarian and reduce their meat intake.

The other, more real-world approach is to take the world as you find it, not as you’d wish it to be. This requires meeting people where they are. This is the approach we take at World Animal Protection in our mission to give animals lives worth living for the most animals possible.

The overwhelming majority (87%+) of Australians eat meat, eggs, and dairy from animals. We know that most animals in the food system come from factory farms, which means that the vast majority of Australians eat animals raised in cruel conditions.

Instead of tinkering around the edges, convincing a few more people to go vegan, we can create better lives for animals on a larger scale if we take the food system as it is and put our efforts towards improving it. We do this in three ways, by:

  • Asking individuals to do what they can to reduce animals’ suffering by eating fewer of them and buying only higher welfare meat when they shop;
  • Changing corporate policies to improve the lives of millions of animals;
  • Advocating for legislative protections that apply to all animals in the country or a state.   

Here is what our CEO, Steve McIvor has to say:

“My experience is that lots of people who try to be a vegetarian or vegan end up going back to eating meat. Despite being shocked by pictures and videos showing the conditions billions of farm animals are forced to endure, many people feel they just don’t have the willpower or impetus to even try to cut down their meat consumption. But, eating humanely doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.”

“If more people started eating a little less, but higher welfare, meat each week, they could help the billions of animals who are factory farmed every year. Of the 70+ billion animals farmed annually, 50 billion of them are factory farmed. These animals are treated more like cogs in a machine, than living, breathing, feeling animals.”

But don’t just take it from us, Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Eating Animals, says if you asked a room of 10 people to go vegan, the chances are that none of them will likely take you up on the offer. Instead, if you asked them all to reduce their meat intake—most of them will feel that’s in their ability to do. You’ll save more animals by persuading more people to do a little bit than you will convincing a few people to do a lot.

At World Animal Protection, we know your choices have the power to make real change for your health, for animals, and for the planet.

Together, we can move the world to protect billions of farmed animals from cruelty and suffering.  

At World Animal Protection, we know your choices have the power to make real change for your health, for animals, and for the planet.

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