What Really Motivates People to Go Vegan? 

More and more people are ditching animal-derived products for vegan foods. Dairy-free milk is already more popular than skim milk and 1% cows’ milk, and by 2026 global plant-based meat revenue is expected to double its 2021 total. But can you guess what motivates people to eat vegan? 

Why Most People Go Vegan

People choose to eat vegan for a variety of reasons, but surveys often show three main motivations: animal welfare, health, and the environment. In 2019, vegan travel blog Vomad surveyed nearly 13,000 people from around the world. The majority of respondents (68%) said animals were their reason for going vegan, while 17% cited health concerns, and 10% cited environmental concerns. 


These findings reflect what Mercy For Animals sees on its social media channels all the time: Followers regularly comment that they eat vegan for animals, while other benefits, like improved health and reduced environmental harm, are simply bonuses.

How Most People Learn About Factory Farming

So what prompts people to start thinking about eating plant-based in the first place? A 2019 survey by Faunalytics found that social media and online articles were among the most common sources of information that inspired meat eaters to reduce their consumption of animal products. 


Vomad also noted a variety of influences that led people to seriously consider choosing veganism for the first time. Full-length documentaries finished as the top reason for going vegan, ahead of other major influences, like conversations with friends or family, seeing a short video or social media post, and reading articles, books, or blogs.

These results suggest that documentaries and the internet, along with personal connections and word-of-mouth recommendations, are powerful tools in inspiring people to eat vegan—but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Mercy For Animals’ social media team asked our followers why they eat vegan. This unscientific survey revealed that the vast majority of respondents do so to benefit nonhuman animals suffering at factory farms.

When asked how they first came to consider farmed animal protection issues, they took to the comments to share their stories. As in the other surveys, many commented that they were moved by documentaries like Earthlings and Game Changers. Some people were also motivated to ditch meat and dairy because of the impact of investigative farm footage on social media, information they had received at concerts or school, and their personal experiences with farmed animals.

What’s Next? 

Now that we know what motivates the most people to go vegan, we can all put this knowledge to good use! Are you compassionate toward animals but don’t eat vegan (yet)? Get together with your friends for a movie night, watch a popular documentary about factory farming or plant-based eating, and take the vegan pledge together to get started.

Already vegan and want to do more to help animals? Follow Mercy For Animals on social media, and share informative posts to your feed. You never know who you might inspire!