Help farmers by making India the world leader in vegan food and fashion: PETA in government

NEW DELHI: PETA India on Monday called on the Center to initiate and support pro-vegan collaborations with local farmers and entrepreneurs to meet growing global consumer demand for vegan foods, clothing and more.

People of India for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have written to Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal urging his ministry to seize the opportunity. The pro-animal group has also sent similar letters to state and union territory officials.

Highlighting that the global vegan food market is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026; the global vegan leather market was estimated at USD 37.90 billion in 2020, and the vegetable milk market exceeded USD 12 billion in 2019, the letter noted that various states were already taking action in favor of animals, the environment and their citizens. “And a unified and comprehensive national government pro-vegan initiative is now imperative,” he said.

He cited several examples from across India, such as the Thanjavur-based National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management, which is developing millet-based ice cream; farmers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala who earn US$19.8 million a year from growing jackfruit, a popular meat substitute; and the government of Meghalaya plans to encourage the production of leather from pineapples. Other plants commonly grown in India, such as apples, grapes, coconuts and mushrooms, are also used to produce leather, and one Kanpur-based company even uses discarded temple flowers. Silk and other materials are also made from banana and pineapple fibers.

“From leather harvested from fruits to ‘meat’ made from jackfruit, the global vegan market is growing rapidly. With the help of the government, Indian farmers and entrepreneurs can benefit immensely from the huge interest in a vegan lifestyle,” PETA India Foods and Nutrition specialist Dr Kiran Ahuja said.

India, as one of the most vegetarian-friendly economies in the world, is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in the global vegan economy, contributing to the world’s transition away from animal exploitation and environmental damage and towards creative vegan solutions that are already in demand, a statement from PETA India said.