One in nine people are malnourished and the vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Because of this, there has recently been a huge push to work toward global goal #2, zero hunger, to end malnourishment, and make food available to everyone all over the world. The majority of hungry people are living in non-developed countries and face extreme poverty.
Living in the United States, we don't see a lot of extreme poverty. We have developed different lifestyles which allow us to choose specifically what we eat. Because our grocery stores have such a wide variety of alternative food options, people have more freedom to omit certain aspects of what is usually considered a “normal” diet. Cutting out meat, dairy, sugar, or gluten have become popular trends, contributing to a rise in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, and a growing movement to promote the vegan lifestyle and get everyone eating plant based diets.
I scroll through social media and see posts from vegans advocating the idea that the entire world going vegan will "make it a better place".
This statement is very frustrating to me. It seems a bit naive because in many parts of the world, people simply don’t have anything to eat. How can they afford the luxury to say what they will or won't eat on a given day? Therefore, before advocating for everyone to be vegan, I believe we first need to make sure all people have something nutritious to eat whether that be animal or plant based.
It is true that here in the United States, we can go to the store and buy protein substitutes for meat at the same or cheaper price but in developing countries, this option isn't always available. According to the United Nations, 836 million people still live in extreme poverty, dealing with conditions where veganism isn't an option. Meat, milk, eggs, and other animal products are vital to the survival of many and offer them their only source of protein, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6), vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium. When alternative options aren't available, animals are necessary for survival.
In Nepal, I stayed in a rural village where almost every household sought to own goats, a cow or buffalo, and chickens. There was no grocery store, therefore, they relied on the animals for their source of nutrition after working long days farming.
The ability to pick and choose what you eat is a special privilege given to those of us living in developed countries.