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Soya today, gone tomorrow

We look into the far-reaching implications of soya grown for animal feed

In the time that you’ve been vegan, it’s highly likely that at some point you’ve eaten soya — it makes up many popular plant-based foods, including tofu and dairy-free yoghurts, and can, of course, be eaten in its natural form. However, the bulk of soya that is grown is not actually intended for human consumption — at least not directly.

Native to Asia, soya has been the fastest-growing global crop in recent decades, and its cultivation has spread to foreign territories, including the United States, South America, Canada, and parts of Europe. In the years to come, cultivation is set to rise exponentially, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (fao.org) predicting that its production will double again by 2050. The reason for the global takeover? Ironically, it’s the meat industry that is driving the demand for this highProtein legume.

Long-time associated with eating soya-based products, the rising population of vegans frequently get the blame for creating the demand, and consequently, the far-reaching issues that mass soya cultivation causes, including deforestation and habitat destruction, species extinction, loss of biodiversity, and food poverty, as well as climate change, water pollution from pesticides, and flooding — the list goes on. Yet, the majority of soya grown is turned into soymeal for the feeding of livestock animals, whose Fate lie in the hands of the meat or dairy industry. Due to the soybean’s high levels of Protein, and relatively low oil content, it makes a Protein-rich feed meal for farmed animals like cattle, poultry and pigs, where high amounts are required to achieve rapid growth rates.

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About Vegan Life

Welcome to our June issue. It’s my favourite time of year, when hot days and warm evenings, beach trips and long walks fill our time. And with all the joy that summer brings, it’s the perfect time to gather your friends and advocate in the best way possible — with fantastic food. It was this time last year that I hosted a BBQ at my own house, and served my omni friends an entirely vegan menu (including my first ever bash at vegan mac’n’cheese). It was a great success and triggered some of my friends into making more animal and planet-friendly decisions when doing their food shops. We’ve put together everything you need to host your own BBQ bonanza (p40) — from food, drinks and sauces to ice cream and hosting tips — so your summer gathering will be both delicious and memorable. Not all experiences with non-vegans are so positive. The topic of ‘vegaphobia’, or hatred towards vegans, has been floating around Vegan Life HQ. As an office full of vegans, most of us have experienced some kind of backlash or negativity — I myself have been shouted at in public, for merely stating my vegan point of view. We asked you about your own experiences of this phenomenon (p68) and your answers were illuminating — one woman was even turned down a job because of her veganism. It seems that despite so much progress, some people still take task with us choosing a peaceful way of life. Jessie Keogh covers how to deal with these testing situations on p120. Have a great month,

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