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date: 26 May 2024

The Ethics of Veganism and Plant-based Dietsfree

The Ethics of Veganism and Plant-based Dietsfree

  • Carlo AlvaroCarlo AlvaroNew York City College of Technology


This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Food Studies. Please check back later for the full article.

Humans have been consuming animal flesh and other animal products for at least 2.6 million years. Still today, most human beings eat meat and animal products. Ethical veganism is often touted by many as an ever-increasing lifestyle, an assertion often supported by the exponential growth of the plant-based food market. After almost fifty years of animal rights activism, and with the current popularity of plant-based products, one would expect to see an increase in the percentage of people who follow vegan diets. Regrettably, the devil is in the details. The actual number of people who consume vegan diets is not necessarily increasing. Ethical veganism is not necessarily growing, but rather devolving. For example, while there is no exact figure for the percentage of people who follow vegan diets in the US as of 2023, data from various sources shows that in the U.S., 4% identify as vegetarian, and only a (disappointing) 1% as vegan. Moreover, many countries are increasing meat and animal product consumption. In the U.S., per capita, meat consumption continues to be among the highest in the world.


  • Food, Identity, and Body
  • Food Politics and Policy
  • Food Justice and Sustainability