Fifty million: That’s more than the entire population of Australia, Canada, or Spain, and it’s also the number of vegetarians in China. And get this—that number is growing! Members of a new, young, more Earth-conscious generation of Chinese are adopting a vegetarian lifestyle and demonstrating both compassion for animals and a desire to protect their own health and that of the environment. The number of vegetarians in major cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai is rising fast. Even ex-Premier Wen Jiabao called for Chinese citizens to eat vegetarian one day a week. Recent news articles have been circulating all over the Internet about China’s growing vegetarian culture.
Vegetarianism is not new to China, though. In the sixth century, Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty refused animal products, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. China’s long vegetarian history goes back thousands of years, spanning dynasties, religious shifts, and revolutions. Modern history is carving a new place for vegetarians, too, with actors, artists, and ordinary people pledging to leave animal corpses off their plates. Wuhan Yangtze Business University has even established the first-ever department of vegetarianism studies, with the aim of exploring vegetarian food and culture.
Why are so many people making the switch? Every vegan saves the lives of many animals each year, and well-balanced vegan meals also reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—not to mention the food-borne illnesses lurking in animal flesh.
In addition to saving animals’ lives and improving your own health, there’s another reason to go vegan, and it’s a big one—the planet! The United Nations and celebrities such as Maggie Q and James Cameron are calling on the citizens of the world to fight climate change with a vegan diet. With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, record-breaking pollution levels, and many other devastating problems, a global switch to a vegan diet is desperately needed to conserve resources and reduce waste.
If you haven’t already, take the pledge to be vegetarian and start living a cruelty-free life today!
Posted by Edwina Baier