Researchers from the Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have conducted a study to evaluate the social impact of veganism and vegetarianism on companion animals’ diets in Spain.

The study found that 93.48% of male guardians who participated in the study followed an omnivorous diet, compared to 84.3% of women. In the study, the only vegans they found were women. The mean age of vegetarian and vegan guardians (27.06) was lower than the age of omnivorous guardians (29.8). Regarding vegan guardians, the researchers found that 34.85% said they felt a moral dilemma when reconciling their ethical principles with the diet of their companion animals, and only 1.79% gave vegan and vegetarian diets to their companions (12 dogs and 2 cats). As far as what these guardians who did not give meat to their companions thought about the diets they gave, 77.7% claimed to observe advantages in the use of these diets, such as increased weight control, increased vitality and general well-being, and better condition of the fur.

The researchers state, “despite the rise of these diets, only 1.79% of respondents use them for their pets, being greater their use in the canine species, due to a more generalised conception about the importance of the consumption of products of animal origin in the feline species.

In recent years there have been many studies showing how a nutritionally complete plant-based diet is not only healthy for both dogs and cats but could be even healthier than conventional meat diets. Professor Andrew Knight from Winchester University in the UK is one of the expert vets on this subject who has conducted several of these studies.  More and more studies are showing this, while there are practically no studies pointing in the opposite direction. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.