In recent years, veganism has risen in popularity worldwide with consumer markets reflecting this change. Shops and restaurants now boast a wide array of vegan tailored food, clothing and toiletries (including Mile End’s 90° Degree Melt restaurant 5 minutes from QMUL’s Engineering building). McDonald’s is trialing its own vegan burger in Norway and even the Great British Bake Off has included a vegan week this year.
There doesn’t seem to be a singular universal reason for this dietary shift but some of the leading reasons “include”, animal welfare, greater awareness of the effects of meat production on the environment, health concerns and/or Cowspiracy. While social media has also had quite a substantial role to play, with #vegan accumulating more than 61 million posts on Instagram and a wide range of public figures sharing their vegan lifestyles online such as: the grime MC JME, Madonna and Ariana Grande (a line up you’re not going to find anywhere else) to name a few.
The influence of these factors is reflected the huge increase in veganism in the UK, with more Brits than ever before choosing to enjoy a meat-free lifestyle. According to a survey by comparethemarket.com, there has been a significant spike in the number of people going vegan in the UK since 2016, with more than 3.5 million British people now identifying as such. That’s seven percent of the population and according PETA Director, Elisa Allen this includes “huge numbers” of students in the UK. To cater for this, PETA is launching a new campus rep programme to help young vegans reach out and connect together.
The PETA UK Campus Rep Programme aims to encourage more British students into activism, offering them the tools, resources, and guidance to achieve this. According to PETA, successful applicants for the programme will organise “fun and effective animal rights outreach events and campaigns on campus [and] receive a stipend to put on vegan outreach events that inform other students about important animal rights issues.”
Organising vegan food events and on-campus campaigns and demonstrations are just some of the responsibilities PETA campus reps will be tasked with. They will also be expected to arrange around six of these outreach events during one term and continue to stay in contact with their PETA programme adviser during the process.
In the wider world students at the University of Ottawa are trying to create sustainable, vegan meals for students with food that would have otherwise been thrown away and in California, at the University of Berkeley, the creation of the ‘perfect’ vegan streaky bacon is on the agenda.
If you’re interested in veganism you could check out QMUL’s Vegetarian and Vegan Society here: https://www.qmsu.org/groups/vegandvegan/
Image – Pixabay