Today is World Vegan Day. In addition to being a cruelty-free and healthier way of living, many people are going vegan for environmental reasons.

As many people are reducing their car use, limiting their water waste, becoming more "energy-efficient" and generally seeking to lessen their environmental impact, they are increasingly examining their eating habits, too.

Environmentally-conscious consumers are concerned not only with food miles, over-packaging, pesticide use and GM foods, but are also increasingly questioning the environmental sustainability of modern animal husbandry.

The livestock industry is responsible for 18 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, all forms of transportation combined emit 13.5 per cent.

The world livestock population is currently expanding at a faster rate than the human population - meat production has quadrupled in the past 50 years and livestock now outnumber people by more than three to one.

Animals use most of the protein they eat to live - not to "grow" meat- so meat consumption adds to water shortages, forest clearing, soil damage, use of oil-based pesticides, and, of course, climate change.

The ironic thing is that all of these crops we're growing to feed livestock we could eat directly. Our dietary habits are a terribly inefficient use of the earth's resources.

A 2006 University of Chicago study found that a person switching from the average western diet to a vegan diet would reduce CO2 emissions by 1,485 kg per year.

The bottom line is that eating meat, dairy and eggs threatens our planet.

I have been vegan for six months now - not only was it one of the best decisions I have ever made in terms of my personal health and conscience, but I was surprised how easy and delicious vegan food is.

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Coun Paul Blanchard Chaucer Lane, Strensall, York.