Plant-based alternatives have been growing in popularity, as people become more conscious of their environmental footprints and the impact animal agriculture is having on the earth and animals. Because of the increased demand for plant-based foods, restaurants across the U.S. have been introducing more options for their customers.

Just recently, Chipotle introduced a new plant-based chorizo, McDonald’s expanded the McPlant Burger to 600 new stores, and KFC partnered with Beyond Meat to offer vegan fried chicken.

In an interview with USA TODAY, a campaign manager at World Animal Protection, Maha Bazzi, stated: “Restaurants are definitely trying to meet this rising demand for plant-based products by offering more meat alternatives on their menus. The industry is expected to stay the course in 2022 as meat alternatives evolve and become more widely accessible.”

Because of the expansion of plant-based offerings and the consumer shift towards plant-based options, an estimated 700,000 animals were spared in 2021 alone.

A report from World Animal Protection found that plant-based alternatives saved approximately 212,000 pigs, 92,000 cows, and 405,000 chickens. The non-profit came to the number by using calculations based on the number of Beyond or Impossible products being offered, and how their weight compares to that of animals.

After factoring in other brands of plant-based alternatives, it’s likely that the number is much closer to 1 million animals saved, if not more.

The report also estimated that in 2021, around 1 million eggs were replaced, removing over 4,000 chickens from the animal agriculture system. World Animal Protection added, “They expect these numbers to grow significantly over the next 5 years, enabling 5 million egg-laying hens to exit the system. ”

In another recent, encouraging study of 222 people from the US and Canada, Faunalytics found that 90% of the people surveyed planned to permanently not eat meat. They also found that people became less speciesist as they ate a meet-free diet, even if they weren’t anti-speciesist in the first place.

Around the world, like in South Korea, Switzerland, Spain, and Canada, people are fighting to have animals recognized as sentient beings. Through education and research, we’re learning just how alike animals are to humans when it comes to feeling a range of emotions – and how important it is to reduce the suffering we cause them. 

You can help reduce the suffering of sentient beings by switching to a plant-based diet and refusing to support factory farming

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