Hey everyone, thank you so much for c licking on this video. I hope that your 2020 has started off well. I thought that for the first video that I put out like this in 2020 I would do kind of a recap of everything that’s happening. Obviously with it being Veganuary, there’s a lot going on, but outside Veganuary there’s a lot of interesting conversation taking place about veganism and the impact that our lifestyle choices have on planet and indeed other animals as well. And so this year started with new data being compiled by a group called Kantar, and it did a survey looking at 30,000 households in the UK. They said that in January 2019 1.3 million people gave up animal products for the month of January back in 2019. Interestingly, Veganuary took those figures and those stats and they worked out that that equals about 3.6 million animals that weren’t consumed as a consequence. Now, I think is important to stay but these animals were still killed, you know the supply and demand chain wasn’t disrupted enough to necessary stop those animals from being killed at this point. But what it does show is that when enough people stop eating animal products, then it actually does translate as having a real world effect in the long run, because if we continue this trend for as long as possible, that will mean that farmers will stop breeding these animals into existence and I think that’s quite a good piece of news to start the year with. It also meant that there’s been a slump in the sales of red meat in the UK. And according to a statistic that was released also very recently this year, it said that last year in 2019 the sales of red meat – and also pork included within that figure – fell by £185,000,000 which is a huge loss for an industry in the space of a year. Actually, outside of the UK though is a statistic released in the Netherlands. They said that the sales of red meat had fallen by 9% since 2017, which shows there is a trend definitely happening. And now if we look at the signups already for this year, Veganuary have already had more signups than they did in 2019. There’s also the Million Dollar Vegan campaign as well who are also campaigning to get people to sign up to go vegan for the month of January. And just the Million Dollar Vegan campaign is at 125,000 signups. So when you pool both of those together, you’re looking at nearly half a million signups this year, compared to the several hundred thousand that took place last year. So we’ve got more signups consequently this year, which means the impact will be larger. And of course as we saw from that 1.3 million figure, there’s a number of people that are doing the pledge without actually signing up. And so it’s always hard to know what exactly that figure will look like, but what we can see from the trends is that it’s gonna be significantly higher this year as a result of all the campaigning and all the education and all the information that’s been dispersed as a consequence. Now I do think it’s important to mention something, which is that actually sales of chicken and fish rose slightly. Now, it wasn’t a huge increase, but there wasn’t increase there and that’s actually really troubling and really worrying, because I think what that does show is that particularly for environmental reasons, many people are swapping from red meat to say fish meats or white meat. Now the problem with that is the environmental and ethical consequences of buying those products is no different. From an ethical perspective, these animals are still alive. The numbers of them killed is actually higher in volume – significantly higher in volume – and so the suffering isn’t diminished by swapping to those products. In fact, actually it can be amplified because more lives are suffering as a consequence of that. And of course environmentally what we’re looking at with the oceans is devastating. The overfishing – or in fact just fishing in general – causes huge amounts of depletion, huge amounts of environmental degradation in the ocean, which is scary and very worrying. But even with chicken farming, which is often seen as a sustainable alternative, It’s quite apparent that that is not the case at all. In fact, when we look at the Amazon deforestation that’s taking place for soy farming, the animal who’s most responsible for that is the chicken. Of course for their meat also for their eggs as well. Because we important conservatively 1.83 million tons of soy every single year from the Amazon rainforest, which is equal to about 900,000 hectares of the Amazon being used to produce soy just for the animals in the UK alone with over 50% of that being fed to poultry, so chickens for their meat and also for those eggs – even those free range eggs that we eat. And so when we look at swapping animal products, we’re not swapping the amount of damage has been caused, because the damage is the same. Of course, it comes in different areas, but the environmental consequences are still the same really. And so when we look at making environmental swaps, the swaps shouldn’t be from beef or from cow or from lamb or for pig to chickens or to eggs. It should be from animal products to plant-based products and that’s something that we really need to emphasize this year, because the trends are very clearly showing that people are listening to the information. And so we need to make sure that information – the information that’s getting across – is showing the whole side of the argument. And it isn’t just saying that cows and sheep the problem because of course, they’re a significant part of the problem, but it’s also all the animal products that we consume that have an environmental cost that needs to be addressed. Now if you wanted a clear sign that things are changing and that the animal agriculture industries are worried, then there was a statement released by a – well it’s actually a collection of different animal agriculture organizations – and the statement that they made was this: They said that they’d vowed to reclaim January with a massive campaign that was gonna turbocharge the promotion of red meat. This is what they actually said: “There is a belief that the month is now owned by those who follow alternative lifestyle choices and set out to convert others while spreading misinformation and mischief about livestock farming.” This was said in response to the idea that the farmers or at least the industry in general is worried about the Veganuary campaign. They say that they kind of sit there and wait in trepidation, when actually they should take the front foot. I think it’s very interesting to note that they try and accuse us of spreading misinformation and also mischief. Because I mean look at the information has been spread, well, this is some of the most conclusive scientific research there’s ever been conducted. In fact, when we talk about the environment we’re talking inciting studies that are considered the most comprehensive analyses that have ever been conducted on the matter. Take for instance the one that was headed by Joseph Paul. It looked at 40,000 farms in 119 countries around the world and analyzed all different systems of farming from factory farming, grass fed animals, but also plant-based farming as well. And they said the single biggest thing that we can do is swap to a vegan diet if you want to lower our impact on the planet and to alleviate our personal responsibility on climate change. And I want to just state now before we move into the next bit that I think that the Veganuary campaign is amazing, not just in terms of what it achieves, but in terms of what it shows, in terms of what it proves that we can do if we believe in ourselves. So Veganuary was a campaign created by a couple – Matthew and Jane – in their kitchen. And they believed in this idea and they pushed for it. I think in the first year they had around 3,300 signups, which I’m sure at the time seemed amazing, but now, in just a period of time – a very small period of time, a number of years – it has exploded. Exploded in terms of the number of participation – hundreds of thousands of people now, of course, but exploded in just a recognition. I mean, it’s redefined the conversation here,
not just in the UK, but around the world. It’s not just this small isolated thing anymore. It’s actually a global phenomenon in that sense. And it’s not just the people signing up through Veganuary who are taking part. It’s inspiring millions of people to try veganism in a way that they wouldn’t have done before. Also, it’s encouraging industries and companies to bring out vegan options which makes it more accessible and easier for people that want to make that change. And so I think it’s really wonderful what Matthew and Jane, in terms of the actual Veganuary team have achieved in such a short space of time. And in other news, I wanted to keep this video really centralized just on what’s happening in the UK then talk about wider issues maybe in other videos. But there was an article released in The Guardian and it was released by an expert within climate science. And he said that in the UK we need to re-wild half of our farmlands. Now, for those of you who listened to me speaking during my Europe tour or maybe watch videos in the past, I’m a big advocate for the notion of rewilding, of returning farmland back to its more natural state. You know, whether it’s forests, woodlands, grasslands, whatever it may be. It just creates the more harmonious ecosystem by, well, taking out human interference and selectively bred animals and rewilding those landscapes. And so I just wanted to go through this article, not really in too much detail, but just read out some of the quotes and then discuss what it means on a bigger scale. “Half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis.” “Professor Sir Ian Boyd said such a change could mean the amount of cattle and sheep would fall by 90% with farmers instead being paid for storing carbon dioxide, helping prevent floods, providing beautiful landscapes where people could boost the health and well-being.” “Boyd said the public was subsidized in the livestock industry to produce huge environmental damage.” “If anybody asked me -” this is what he said “‘If there’s one thing I can do to help save the planet, what would it be? I would say just eat a lot less meat. It’s the easiest thing to do. I’ve done it.'” Now, I think this is a really interesting article and something that’s incredibly important. When we talk about sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, the best thing that we can do in terms of taking carbon from our atmosphere is to rewild these landscapes. Let me put this into perspective. In the UK, 70% of the entire land mass of the UK is dedicated to agriculture, with 80-85% of that being given to animal agriculture, which is an absolutely startling amount of land given to an industry, well, that doesn’t provide us nearly enough nutrition to justify its amount of land use. In fact, it does the opposite. It causes chronic illness and disease and because of the chronic illness and disease that it causes, it costs us as taxpayers even more not just through subsidizing agriculture, but indeed through healthcare and the NHS, so it’s costing us on every single element as a taxpayer. But in fact actually beyond just the money and the illness, we’re looking at the huge amount of environmental degradation that it causes. Of course animals produce huge amounts of emissions. They also require huge amounts of water, of resources, and of course arable land for feeding as well. And so if we took animals off these landscapes and rewilded it, not only would that provide us with the best defense we have in terms of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, but it would create beautiful landscapes, improving biodiversity and the harmony of the ecosystems that we all want to restore so desperately. Now there’s a quote in this article from Guy Smith, who is the deputy president of the National Farmers Union. For those of you who’ve seen the Dismantled Dairy campaign, you’ll be familiar with the name Guy Smith. This is what you had to say: “Urgent action is needed to tackle the climate emergency. British farmers are already some of the most sustainable in the world. For example, the beef produced in Britain is already 2.5 times more efficient than the global average. And we are committed to doing even more.” And of course, like I said, Guy Smith, the farm that he’s on the Companies House as owning, was documented by Surge as abusing animals, both sexually and also physically beating them, swearing at them, hitting them, just general abuse and violence – both legal and illegal. And so it’s interesting that Guy Smith is still seen as a reputable voice within the National Farmers Union when on the farm that he is down on Companies House as owning, huge amounts of violence and abuse were occurring. But that says a lot, doesn’t it, about the industry in general. Now let’s just talk about the comment that he’s left. I don’t think that there should be any source of pride in saying that the way that beef farming is done in the UK is more sustainable than it is and say like Argentina or Brazil. It doesn’t prove anything. Just because it may be more sustainable than in say Brazil where huge amounts of deforestation occur in the Amazon, doesn’t mean that actually it’s sustainable in this country. Sure, it might be more environmentally friendly than in other areas, but still objectively is hugely damaging for the environment. And this still doesn’t address the root the problem. This is what the National Farmers Union and the farmers always do. They’re not talking about the actual root of the problem. This article and the conversation is not ‘is British beef better for the environment than Brazilian beef?’ The question is ‘is rewilding and reclaiming these landscapes a better alternative for the environment than British agriculture or animal agriculture?’ That is the question. And yes, it is. Guy Smith doesn’t debunk the actual argument put forward by Sir Ian Boyd. He merely states that it’s better than in other countries, which to me shows very clearly that actually rewilding these landscapes, reclaiming them – of course is often, often cited and is so obvious as well – is far superior for the environment than grazing animals or using it for arable land to produce crops for animals that we factory farm. It’s obvious. As we look towards the future, this is a conversation that is going to continue and has to also be implemented as well. Now Guy Smith says that they’re “committed to doing even more.” Then show it. Take away those vested interests. Take away those ingrained traditions, those ingrained notions of what it is that you would like to do with your life and the the heritage of farming. Take that away, and look at the bigger picture here. The science is clear, and it’s also just obvious. Let’s reclaim these lands, create beautiful landscapes, rewild it. Now, I think what’s really interesting is that Guy Smith makes a point about animal agriculture being sustainable, but that’s not true at all. In fact, there was a report released last year that looked at the state of UK biodiversity, and had this to say: It said that in the UK we are ranked 189th out of 215 countries for biodiversity intactness. In fact, it said that 56% of UK species have declined since 1970 and a quarter of UK mammals and nearly half of the birds assessed are at risk of extinction. Does that sound like a sustainable system? Does that sound like British farmers are doing everything they can to reduce their environmental impact? Half of our birds and a quarter are mammals are at risk of extinction and the number of animals living in the wild has plummeted dramatically in just the past five decades. And on top of that, out of 215 countries we were ranked 189th for the intactness of our biodiversity. Doesn’t that just say everything that we need to know? That the system in the UK is not really better than anywhere else in the world. In fact, compared to many areas It’s even worse! And so actually the best thing we can do is rewild these landscapes. We can do that by switching to a plant-based diet, changing how we subsidize these industries, incentivizing farmers through subsidies to rewild landscapes and to store carbon in healthy soils and in rewilded lush areas of the world. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Hope you found it insightful. I think many great things are happening in terms of the conversation so far this January. We’re not even halfway through yet, so long may it continue. We have Februdairy probably happening in February, which will create even more positive conversation in terms of the vegan message. And it is just wonderful to see that actually there is a tangible change happening and the trends are very clearly showing that. Also a little side note at the end, there’s a big thing I have not mentioned in this video, which is of course what’s happening in Australia. The bush fires, the absolute decimation of landscapes and of course of just the insane number of animals being wiped out and killed as a consequence. And so I’m gonna make a separate video about that. I wanted to make this one just about what’s happening in the UK and we will look further afield in the next video, look at what’s happening in Australia and those bush fires and talk about what we can do what the science is showing and if there is a tangible benefit that we can bring through our lifestyle choice as well. But until then thank you so much for watching this video. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Keep going if you’re doing Veganuary and when January stops, keep going for the rest of your life as well. It’s the best thing that you’ll ever do, but I hope you’re having a wonderful Veganuary. If you’re watching this and you’re not vegan, then try it. Just sign up to Veganuary and give it a go and look at the science. Look at the science that I’m presenting, but look at the science that’s just being shown in general about what’s happening to animals. Look at the footage that’s taking place on farms, in slaughterhouses in the UK or wherever is that you live. Look at the science that’s shown it is the absolute best thing that we can do in terms of our impact on the environment and make that change for yourself, for your health, for the environment, and of course, for those non-human animals who have been murdered by the trillions every single year. Thank you so much for watching this video. I hope you enjoyed it and I will speak to you in the next video.