We Can Save Precious Species By Going Vegan | Viva! - The Vegan Charity
We Can Save Precious Species By Going Vegan

Donald Watson, a joinery teacher, coined the term 'vegan' in November 1944 - a moment celebrated during World Vegan Day today.

Yorkshire-born joinery teacher Donald Watson left a global legacy few could have predicted. Born in 1910, he was a pioneer from a young age. By his mid-teens he had made the unconventional choice to become a vegetarian on ethical grounds, citing the horrors of the animal agriculture industry as his motivation.

But it was his actions some 20 years on which left their global mark. Taking his ethical consumption a step further, Watson is said to have coined a term which has revolutionised the way millions of us eat. In November 1944, Donald Watson proposed the term 'vegan'.

Watson’s influence is internationally recognised on the 1st November each year on World Vegan Day. This year, as our precious flora and fauna continue to vanish before our eyes, we must recognise that the animal agriculture industry is fuelling the destruction and a vegan diet is the best choice we can make to stop it.


In the UK our species have suffered unrelenting net-losses since 1970. Two-thirds of North American birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change. Global marine animal communities are projected to shrink within the next century as temperatures rise. In total, one million animal and plant species could vanish if we do not act. This is destruction on a catastrophic scale. This is the sixth mass extinction.

We know our consumption is exacerbating the crisis. For years we have been told to make changes to our lives in the name of the planet - to cut car and air travel, switch off our lights and take showers instead of baths - but the contribution of our diets has been neglected for too long.

In the space of one year, the agriculture industry was reportedly responsible for some 24 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock farming makes up four-fifths of the industry’s contribution.

This summer the world watched on in horror as more than 40,000 fires devastated the Amazon rainforest, yet it is purged year-round to make way for livestock farming. Some 70 percent of deforestation in the Amazon can be attributed to cattle ranching and most of the rest is cleared to grow fodder for livestock. This is destroying vital habitats once home to a diverse array of unique species.


We are running out of time to put a stop to the obliteration of our natural world. But the solution is simple, choose a vegan diet.

Researchers at Oxford University found that moving to a vegan diet could have transformative environmental benefits. Making this change on a mass scale would slash the land required to produce food by some 76 percent and could reduce food emissions by 50-80 percent. This is the let-up global nature needs to flourish.

As the world reels at the devastation caused by our unfettered consumption, it’s time we turn our gaze to what we eat for a solution. On this year’s World Vegan Day, Viva! is asking everyone to #GoVegan24 and try veganism for 24 hours to see just how easy it is the make this essential change.

Following the path Donald Watson courageously forged over half a century ago, we must wake up to the horrors of the animal agriculture industry and choose a vegan diet to protect our precious species for centuries to come.

This article originally appeared in The Ecologist.

Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Discover Vegan Paris

Discover Vegan Paris

Maryanne Hall |21/10/2020
Take a journey into vegan Paris - a city of plant-based delights. Find our favourite vegan eateries and the unforgettable Veggie Town...
Say no to animal corpse sites in Snowdonia!

Say no to animal corpse sites in Snowdonia!

Guest Blogger |20/10/2020
Use your voice to say no to an animal carcass site! Snowdonia council is considering a planning application that would mean transporting corpses of animals onto the site, and it looks as though the owner is hoping to then incinerate them on site. We are in the middle of a pandemic caused by...
5 Best Vegan Make Up Brands Perfect for Halloween

5 Best Vegan Make Up Brands Perfect for Halloween

Louisa Kendal |12/10/2020
Halloween is just around the corner, so we’ve compiled our favourite vegan face paints to help you enjoy the spooktacular occasion...

Viva! Victory

You may have seen our exposé on a pig farm supplying Morrisons. Now, we have incredible news. The Estate where it is located – DIRECTLY DUE TO OUR INVESTIGATION – are planning to “get the buildings vacated in the quickest time possible”. We have also been informed by locals that there are plans to demolish the farm. This exposé was funded by you – our supporters!

Viva!'s Ultimate Guide to Halloween

Louisa Kendal |08/10/2020
Spooky season is officially here, so we’ve put together the ultimate guide for a perfect vegan Halloween...
Switching from animal products to plant-based ingredients can have huge benefits for your health, the planet and animals. That's why we've launched V7 - our brand new 'one week' food challenge...
Have the Beckhams Gone Vegan?

Have the Beckhams Gone Vegan?

Louisa Kendal |30/09/2020
David and Victoria Beckham made the herbivore headlines at the weekend, after announcing they have gone meat-free on their social media.