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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: other » Rise in Vegetarianism and Veganism

version: 7 / updated: 2013-01-29
id: #1954 / version id: #1951
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Charlotte Bilo
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Last changed by: Charlotte Bilo
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Source of inspiration

Other, please specify:   Media

The source of the Weak Signal is

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/the-rise-and-rise-of-the-vegetarian-1742752.html, http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=59020

Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Rise in Vegetarianism and Veganism

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
Within the developed world veganism and vegetarianism has recently experienced a large increase of adherents. Vegetarianism and then veganism will be the next step in the moral development of humankind. Empathy for animals has existed for thousands of years. Originally we felt empathy for suffering in dogs, they lived with us and we loved them for thier companionship. Their proximity to the lives of humans meant a great affinity between humans and dogs was able to develop. As society has grown in terms of civilisation so has the depth of its empathy. Empathy now extends past dogs to whales, dolphins (for thier size and intelligence) for most people and for the growing number of vegetarians all animals. The ability to empathise with fellow sentient creatures is obviously on the rise. The upshot of this will be the eventual prohibition of eating animals all together.


vegetarianism, veganism, empathy, reason, development, evolution, animals


(max. 250 characters)
It is clear that vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise, in the US 13% of the population follow at least a “largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet" and in Britain a recent poll for the Food Development Association showed that 86 per cent of Brits eat non-meat meals once or twice a week. The reasons the entire world will eventually become vegetarian may go beyond moral development. With the ever increasing population on planet earth and the dwindling ability to supply food for its inabitants the world will eventually face a crisis of massive food shortages. Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. At the moment the world hunger could be cured if all humans stopped eating meat. In the future the world will face a choice whether to start to starve orbegin to adopt a plant based diet. The world will have to turn vegetarian, if not out of moral obligation and the development of empathy then through neccessity. Eventually not eating meat will become a social norm, to eat meat will be something barbaric and a practiced only by a select few backwards people. The very idea of eating an animal will be morally reprehensible. Laws will be introduced in some countries banning the eating of animals. These will then spread across the globe leaving the world entirely vegetarian.

Signal's first apperance

before 2000

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

The development of an entirely vegetarian world


please specify
please select
Level 4: important for the whole world

Filters preventing the signal's monitoring

political filters (party or ideological interests)

Comments on selection:

Vegetarianism will become a politically charged issue and some may argue that the trend is but a fad that will pass. This is not true, but politics may color our ability to see the strength of the rise of vegetarianism

Key driving forces of this signal

Please use these boxes to provide up to 2 drivers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
Driver 1 Driver 2
Social Development of morals
Economic More effective to adopt a plant based diet
Political Ideogoical and value judgement on whether it our right to be able to eat animals

Major risks & opportunities associated to the signal

Please choose the most appropriate timeframe option(s) to which you would like to provide inputs.
Risks Opportunities
between 2025-2050 The development of a more empathetic human race. and the end of suffering for fellow inhabitants of the earth

Potential stakeholders' actions

short-term actions
(after 2015)
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Introduce laws and reforms so as to increase the adoption of a plant based diet by the general public
Non-for-profit organisations (e.g. NGOs, political parties, social movements, voluntary associations) Continue to advocate for the end to eating animals
General public Adopt a plant based diet Adopt a plant based diet

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Behavioural change
Coexistence and conflicts
Diseases, health and well-being Decrease of meat diet disease like bowel cancer, high colesterol and heart attacks
Food security and diet
Energy security/dynamics
Sustainability and climate change

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health Change of diet
Environment (including Climate Change)
Social Sciences and Humanities

Pan-European strategies influencing the signal

please justify:
particularly relevant
Improving researchers mobility and career development by, for example, realising a single labour market for researchers. Changing fields of food suplly
Fostering and facilitating coherent international cooperation in science and technology Need to cooperate across national borders

Research-friendly strategies potentially improving understanding of the signal

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here
please justify:
particularly relevant
Addressing cohesion through a localised articulation between supply and demand
(e.g. making research institutions more engaged with their own context and local users; reinforcing knowledge flows into and out of regions; etc.
increase in the suplly of food, drop in the price of food
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.
Great need for cooperation between researchers and policy makers becuase of the systemic changes in the supply of food

Signal's relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Very relevant. The change in the way food markets across the globe operate will be dramatic. As will the social, political, environmental and religious impacts