According to a report from the Swedish Board of Agriculture, average meat consumption dropped by 2.6 percent, or about five pounds per person, last year.
Beef saw the biggest drop, with consumption down around 2.4 pounds per person, followed by pork and then poultry.
Åsa Lannhard Öberg, a spokesperson for the Swedish Board of Agriculture, said in a statement:
There are many explanations for the reduced consumption of meat, but the trend of vegetarianism, debates about climate change, health aspects and ethical reasons are some.
It’s no wonder McDonald’s chose Sweden as one of only two countries to test out its new McVegan sandwich late last year. According to FoodNavigator, the fast-food giant sold over 150,000 McVegans in the first month at locations in Sweden and Finland. The plant-based burger was such a hit that McDonald’s made it a permanent menu item.
But meat consumption isn’t just declining in Sweden. Last year Bloomberg reported that Germans increasingly choose plant-based meat alternatives over animal-based products. In fact, Germany is one of the fastest-growing vegan hotbeds. A 2016 study based on 2008–2011 data estimates that 4.3 percent of Germans between 18 and 79 identify as vegetarian, with the majority between 18 and 29. Compare that to 2 percent in the United Kingdom and 3.3 percent in the United States.
This past decade veganism has seen consistent growth as millennials—the world’s largest generation—purchase their own foods. Concerned about health, the environment, and animal welfare, this generation boasts more self-identifying vegetarians than any other, explains The New York Times.
Reduced meat consumption is great news for the billions of farmed animals who suffer at factory farms. Cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are just as smart and sensitive as dogs and cats. But at factory farms, they’re subjected to unimaginable cruelties: extreme confinement, brutal mutilations, and violent deaths.
See for yourself.
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