The Guardian published a bizzare piece featuring a letter about how soya-eating vegans are destroying the planet - shame no one checked the facts first!
Think soya is something only vegans eat? Think again. The increasing global demand for meat and dairy has driven soya to become one of the world’s biggest crops – because most of it is used to feed animals. In the last 50 years, global soya production has grown tenfold.
In the US, more than nine billion livestock outweigh the human population five times and eat more than seven times as much grain and soya. In the UK, 20 per cent of animal feed is imported from outside the EU, this includes soya beans from South America.
Growing demand for meat is the main driver behind the expansion of soya. The popularity of this humble bean has nothing to do with its original use in tofu, miso, soya milk and soya sauce. The desire, from both industrialised and industrialising countries, is driven by its suitability for animal feed. Only around 6 per cent of soya beans are used directly as food, mainly in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia. Most soya foods in the UK are made with beans from Europe and the US.
The decision to change to a vegan diet is better, not just for the animals and the rainforests, but also for all the other environmental catastrophes that are linked to livestock production – deforestation, expanding deserts, soil degradation, global warming, nitrogen pollution, antibiotic resistance and superbugs. The widescale adoption of a vegan diet would stop soya expansion in its tracks.
Read more about soya and the environment here.