No meat, we're British! Vegan population up 360% in 10 yrs

© Fabrizio Bensch
The number of UK vegans has multiplied by over 360 percent since 2006 as increasing numbers of Brits choose to scrap meat, eggs, dairy and other animal-based food stuffs, a new survey suggests.

The poll of nearly 10,000 people aged 15 and upwards was conducted by Ipsos MORI for Britain’s Vegan Society and Vegan Life magazine. It is the largest survey of its kind dedicated to estimating the number of vegans across the UK.

The survey’s findings, which were published on Tuesday, suggest more than 1 percent of UK citizens (542,000) over the age of 15 are vegans. This marks a steep rise since 2006, when Britain was home to just 150,000.

Keith Coomber of Vegan Life magazine says public perception of vegans has shifted in the face of more positive portrayals of the lifestyle choice across UK media outlets.

“It’s no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible,” he told the Telegraph.

“You can walk into any supermarket and be confronted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and other vegan-friendly products.

"As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, this boom will only continue.”

Those who oppose the lifestyle choice say veganism is expensive and awkward to maintain, and drives global warming because consumers source far-flung products and increase their carbon footprint in the process.

However, many vegans argue their way of life stops the mass exploitation and abuse of animals, induces considerable health benefits, halts environmental degradation, and constitutes a sustainable way to feed an ever-increasing global population.