The inhumane treatment of animals is one of these concerns, but others are damage to the environment, exploitive labour practices, food shortages for others, and the unintended effects of food policy. Everything we eat has an impact on animals, people and the environment, we can choose to ignore that and eat whatever we like, or we can think carefully about what we eat and what we buy, and try to make choices that reduce our impact on the earth.
For example many vegan foods contain palm oil which leads to deforestation and the death of wild animals, like orangutans. There have been several ‘anti-vegan’ articles in recent years about the impact of foods like quinoa, avocados or almond milk, as depending on where and how they are produced they could have negative impacts on the environment and the communities where they are grown. But you can choose to buy avocados, quinoa and almonds grown in Europe by small organic producers.
If you’re not eating local, seasonal or organic fruit and vegetables, then your food may have been transported from thousands of miles away and grown by workers who are being exposed to harmful pesticides. As well as buying local and organic food you can start to shop more ethically by choosing Fairtrade products, and buying from small food producers and cooperatives. Buying ethical food also means thinking about the environmental impact of packaging and trying to buy food in zero waste shops, or with minimal and recyclable packaging.