What is Million Dollar Vegan?
Million Dollar Vegan is a non-profit campaign seeking to effect global change by highlighting the damage caused to animals, people, and our planet by animal farming. With the support of Meat Free Monday and the Blue Horizon International Foundation, we encourage world leaders to take seriously the causes of climate change, deforestation, species loss, animal suffering and harm to human health, and to take meaningful action.
Whose idea is Million Dollar Vegan?
Million Dollar Vegan came into being through a group of friends discussing and debating how to ensure these vital messages and solutions reach the largest number of people as quickly as possible. We knew we needed a world leader, and one that already understood the seriousness and urgency of the task ahead of us. Pope Francis seemed the obvious choice so we asked him to try a vegan diet for Lent. As he didn’t agree to our request we’re now working on a new campaign.
Why the Pope?
Pope Francis – in his 2015 Encyclical Letter, Laudato si’ – has already expressed his deep concern about climate change, harm to the planet and the tyrannical use of animals. He may not be aware that the one thing that underpins all these issues is animal farming. We hoped that he would try vegan for Lent and encourage the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world to do the same. Unfortunately, he didn’t take leadership on this issue by supporting our campaign, but we hope he will in the future.
Do you think meat eaters are immoral?
But many people are beginning to question the morality of devastating the planet, driving countless wild species to extinction, polluting the Earth, keeping animals in appalling conditions and wasting the Earth’s precious resources. For most of us, all these things go against what we believe is good and right. Million Dollar Vegan aims to show people that by excluding all animal products from our diets, we can live in accordance with our principles.
Isn’t going vegan a bit extreme?
Animal agriculture releases more climate-changing emissions than all the cars, planes, ships and trains on the planet. It is a key driver of deforestation; it wastes land, energy and water; and it pollutes the air, waterways and the earth. It causes appalling unnecessary suffering to billions of farmed animals while simultaneously driving countless wild species to extinction.
A plant-based diet, on the other hand, needs less land, water and energy; it is not wasteful of the Earth’s resources; and means that every person on the planet could be fed. It does not demand forests are razed and wild species killed or displaced. It does not create slurry that poisons our air, earth and waterways. It does not condemn billions of farmed animals to a miserable life and terrifying death, and it is kinder to the bodies of those who eat it.
Of the two, we feel that eating animal products is the more extreme choice.
Can I go vegetarian instead?
Yes, of course! Every step away from animal products is beneficial. But why not use the opportunity to try some plant milks, yoghurts and butters, too? Each small change creates a positive effect. Download the Vegan Starter Kit for lots of meal ideas, and for information about where to buy all the very best plant-based products.
What will I eat if I go vegan?
There is a vegan version of almost every product, and so it is often just a question of switching milk for plant milk, cheese for vegan cheese and sausages for meat-free versions. There is even meat-free steak available! Whatever your favorite foods and meals are, you can almost certainly create them plant-based. For meal ideas and to find out more about which products are available and where to get them, download the Vegan Starter Kit that is specific to your country.
What happens to the $1m as the Pope did not try vegan for Lent?
We hoped that Pope Francis would try vegan for Lent, and that he would encourage others to do the same. As he chose not to, the money will be offered to another influential person or world leader in a new campaign. Watch this space!
Who will be offered $1m next?
You will have to wait and see!
How can I collaborate with Million Dollar Vegan?
Is eating vegan enough, or do I need to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
Since it is the creation of animal products – and not whether we eat, wear or use them – that causes the problems, many vegans also choose to avoid wool, fur, leather and silk, as well as down in jacket and duvets, and animal products in toiletries, cosmetics and household items. But it takes a little time to make these changes, and for most people, being vegan starts with what they eat – after all, that is where we have the biggest impact and can do most good. That is why Million Dollar Vegan encourages people to eat vegan for Lent, but if they would like to do more, that is all to the good.
How are you funded?
We are funded by philanthropists and individual donations. Anyone wishing to support our campaigns can make a donation here.