Did Veganuary 2017 Help Animals?

At Veganuary we’re committed to assessing and reporting our campaigns in order to change this world for animals as effectively (and quickly) as possible. Here’s what we’ve worked out* in regards to the latest Try vegan this January campaign and its impact for animals… 

59,500 people registered to take part in Veganuary 2017 by signing up to Veganuary.com. Of those:

  • 23,692 were omnivores
  • 9,835 were pescetarians
  • 15,599 were vegetarians

Whilst animals are spared by vegetarians turning vegan (in the egg and dairy industries), the bigger wins are achieved when omnivores and pescetarians change their diet. So, for the purposes of working out how many animals have been spared, we’re concentrating on the meat eaters.

Based upon Defra figures, people in the UK (on average) are responsible for the deaths of:

  • 0.04 cows
  • 0.15 pigs
  • 0.23 sheep and lambs
  • 0.28 turkeys
  • 0.21 ducks
  • 14.74 chickens
  • 70.20 fish

That equates to 85.85 animals per year, or 7.15 animals per month.

Note: The UK provided the highest number of participants – 39,328 (or 66% of all participants). For the purposes of working out the number of animals spared, we’re assuming all participants eat roughly the same number of animals as a UK consumer. In the US, (the second largest country for participants) the average is higher than the UK, whereas other countries tend not to consume as many animals. These figures do not include shellfish (which are, of course, also animals).

  • If all omnivores completed the challenge then 23,692 x 7.15 = 169,397 animals spared
  • As pescetarians eat roughly 5.85 animals per month, the figure is 9835 x 5.85 = 57,534 animals

It is likely that pescetarians eat more than 5.85 fish per month, as they substitute fish for eating other animals, but for our purposes, we’ll stick with the average consumption per person.

Our recent survey suggests that 76% of omnivores successfully completed the month and 75% of pescetarians. It is likely that the people completing the survey are more likely to have succeeded than those who took part and didn’t complete the survey, so we’ll work on a more conservative 50% challenge success rate for calculating animals spared:

  • 169,397 + 57,534 = 226931 -50% = 113,466 animals spared

One consideration: we’re only factoring in those people who signed up to Veganuary.com. We know that many more people take part without registering on our website. It could be that somewhere between 113,466 and 250,000 animals were spared during the month of January.

  • The big numbers come from looking at the longer term impact:

Our survey results show that 59% of omnivore survey respondents intend to remain vegan, as do 64% of pescetarians.

The average age of participants is 34, and life expectancy is 81 years in the UK. Again, assuming that all participants live a similar lifespan to those in the UK, then those converting to vegan will be saving animals for a further 81 – 34 years = 47 years.

So, assuming 59% of the 23,692 omnivores stay vegan, then:

  • 23,692 x 59% = 13,978 x 47 years x 85.85 animals = 56,401,661 animals have been spared

If you add in the pescetarians the figure is as follows:

  • 9835 x 64% = 6294.40 x 47 years x 70.20 animals = 77,169,404 animals spared

Therefore, potentially over 77 million animals could be spared as a result of the Veganuary 2017 campaign!

However, recent research suggests that as many as 85% of people who go vegan or vegetarian return to eating meat. The average time these people remain vegan is 5 years, but they do tend to eat less meat than others when they revert. For our purposes, we’re going to assume only 15% of our participants stay vegan:

  • 77,169,404 x 15% = 11,575,410 animals spared by those staying vegan

Then allowing for the other 85% staying vegan for an average of 5 years:

  • 13,978 omnivores x 85% = 11,881 people x 85.5 animals x 5 years = 5,079,255 animals spared
  • 6,294 pescetarians x 85% = 5,350 people x 70.2 animals x 5 years = 1,877,814 animals
  • We then have a figure of 11,575,410 + 5,079,255 + 1,877,814 = 18,532,479 animals spared

There’s one other factor we need to take into account: supply and demand. Due to price elasticity, it’s likely that only around 75% of a person’s decision to stop eating animals will be reflected in fewer animals being exploited.

Final calculation

Our estimate is as follows:

  • 113,466 x 75% = 85,100 animals spared during the month of January 2017
  • 18,532,479 x 75% = 13,899,359 animals spared by people staying vegan after the end of Veganuary
  • 14,012,825 animals spared!

Note: It is possible that this estimate is on the low side. Most of those who are not staying vegan are suggesting they’ll reduce their meat consumption, or eliminate some animal products altogether, but we have not factored this in. Equally, these figures do not take into account the thousands of people who took part and didn’t sign up to Veganuary.com. And these figures do not take into account people we have been affected outside of our January 2017 campaign (family and friends of participants), or will continue to affect in the future. They also don’t take into account any impact from the positive media attention we gained, the restaurants adding vegan options to their menus, and how that might affect consumption. (Keep scrolling down.)

How many animals spared per £ spent?

Using the 2017 campaign budget of £130,000:
For every £ spent, 108 animals are spared from ever having to go through the suffering of animal agriculture.

  • 14,012,825 / £130,000 = 108 animals spared per £ spent.
  • £10 = 1,080 animals spared
  • £100 = 10,800 animals spared

**Please see below for additional currencies.

To be an ‘Animal Millionaire’ a donation of £9,259 will help us spare 1 million animals.

*Clearly, these calculations are our best ‘guestimate’, but we believe it’s important to try to calculate our impact (in order to keep improving our effectiveness). We could be way off the mark with our assumptions… It may be that we are sparing more animals when you consider the media exposure we’ve received, our communication and influence with many UK chain restaurants, and the fact that people are reducing their consumption of animal products as a result of our campaign. It’s also possible that we’re overestimating the number of animals spared, but even if that were the case, we still believe we’re one of the most effective animal charities in operation today.

Matthew Glover, 13 February 2017.

**Additional currencies:

How many animals spared per $US spent?

£130,000 British Pound Sterling equals $160,000 US Dollar (current exchange rate):

  • 14,012,825 / $160,000 = 87 animals spared per $
  • 87 animals per $1 spent
  • $10 = 870 animals spared
  • $100 = 8,700 animals spared

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?