16th February 2022

National Dairy Council Predicted the end of Veganism Three Years ago

Three years ago, Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the Irish National Dairy Council remarked that veganism was a trend that would die out in two to three years*. Her prediction was based on her estimation that veganism is expensive and restrictive. Therein lies the mistake. Veganism is not a trend. Nor is it a form of consumerism. It is the manifestation of the belief that because other animals can feel and value their lives, we do not have the right to own, breed, exploit, kill or use them for any reason.

Far from being restrictive, vegans can and do consume anything they want. They simply choose to do so in a way that is congruent with their morals. It is true that, in the short term, some plant-based equivalents of animal products are expensive. Retailers that artificially inflate the price of vegan-suitable products are not doing the animals any favour whatsoever. But at least these products do not carry as high a price as animal products in terms of environmental and ecological harm and they do not cost other animals their lives. Neither are they necessary. The supply of plant-based equivalents is improving in availability, quality and price all the time. Remember that the industry is aware of this. That is why companies such as Denny and Kerry have developed lines of plant-based equivalents of animal products. Vegans can live happy and healthy lives by eating some of the cheapest items in the supermarket such as fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Try as they might to retain the status quo and plant seeds of doubt among those who are transitioning to a plant-based diet and living vegan, the animal exploiting industries such as the National Dairy Council cannot continue as they are. In Ireland the agricultural sector is responsible for 37% of Irish Greenhouse gas emissions, most of that coming from animal agriculture. If farming bodies truly have the interests of the public and farmers at heart, they will support the necessary transition to ethical and plant-based farming for the future. It is unlikely our future will be worth having unless it is vegan.


* Full text of original newspaper article

Veganism a passing fad and ‘will only last two to three years’ – claims Dairy Council

Dairy Council chief Zoe Kavanagh

The vegan trend will only last two to three more years, the CEO of the National Dairy Council, Zoe Kavanagh, has predicted.

In January, there was a 40pc increase in sales of plant-based foods in Ireland, but Ms Kavanagh believes that the expense involved with the vegan diet means that it is a movement that is already halfway through its lifecycle.

“I don’t think it’s forever. We all know people who have tried the vegan diet but have dropped it because it is too expensive and that there are too many restrictions,” she said.

In recent years, vegans have used the month of January to promote a plant-based diet through the Veganuary campaign and dairy farmers have used February to promote the industry through Februdairy. Ms Kavanagh warned that campaigns like Februdairy aren’t the answer to combating myths surrounding dairy and that the industry needs to promote the benefits of dairy all-year round.

According to Stephen O’Leary of Olytico Social Media Monitoring Team, Februdairy has been mentioned on Twitter over 65,000 times in the last month.

“The danger with Veganuary and Februdairy is that it will turn into a tit-for-tat debate,” said Ms Kavanagh. “We have to remember, if it was a true debate, we would win hands down every day of the week. The dairy industry has to set its own agenda and take the lead.”

The NDC will launch a new campaign in May to target young and questioning consumers.

A spokesperson for GoVegan World said veganism is not a fad or a diet; it is not restrictive or expensive, and it is not something that can be tried out and discarded.

“Realising that other animals have feelings, that they value their lives, and they are not ours to use changes how we think and feel, and it changes who we are permanently.”

They also said a tit-for-tat debate between vegan animal rights activists and the industries that profit from using other animals is too late. “That is why we direct our efforts at the general public who generate consumer demand. As we debate these issues, we face the devastating consequences of climate change from unsustainable animal agriculture, in the very near future. Plant milk is significantly more sustainable than cow’s milk.

“Try as it might, the NDC will never be able to justify the violation of animals’ rights inherent in the production of dairy.”