A recent study conducted at the University of Oxford concluded that adopting a vegetarian diet would save 5-8 million lives by 2050, amounting to a 6-10% drop in global mortality. The study joins a growing body of quality research suggesting that a global reduction in meat consumption can help prevent major problems in the near future. However, despite its important implications on the far-reaching impact of our eating habits, the study misses a crucial and obvious point. By only including human lives in its final figure, it ignores the trillions of animals whose lives would also be spared by a global shift towards meat-free diets within the same time-frame.
Removing meat products from our diets would not only save up to 8 million humans, it would also prevent the deaths of up to hundreds of trillions of other sentient beings. Reducing our civilization’s meat intake is thus a matter of extreme moral urgency