A new study released by Veganuary shows that red meat sales in the U.K. plummeted during the first six months of 2019 as more people turned to plant-based diets.

The U.K.-based non-profit encourages people to adopt a vegan diet during the month of January and beyond. With over 800,000 participants, Veganuary helped save over 3.6 million animals from slaughter in the first six months of 2019. 

In another study, Nielsen, an American data and measurement firm, showed that red meat sales decreased by about 185 million pounds last year. Sales for beef and pork dropped 4% and 6.4%, while meatless options skyrocketed by 18%.

“2019 has seen a rise in meat-free and free-from categories,” said Nielsen’s Head of Retailer and Business Insight, Mike Watkins, “as consumers become more health and environmentally conscious, and veganism hits the mainstream.”

A vast and growing amount of evidence suggests that a plant-based diet is healthier and less harmful to the environment than its animal-based counterpart. The Mayo Clinic and the American Dietetic Association have cited the numerous benefits of a vegan diet, which include decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol, and the chance of cardiovascular and chronic heart disease.

Animal welfare is another factor in peoples’ decisions to embrace a plant-based diet, as millions of animals are exploited, abused, and killed every year for human consumption. Newborn chicks are debeaked to prevent cannibalism and feed wastage. Young male calves are stolen from their mothers. Starved and dehydrated, they are eventually slaughtered to sustain the veal market. Pigs endure tail docking and tooth clipping before their throats are sliced. As more of this barbaric animal cruelty is released to the public, consumers are opting out.

Embracing a plant-based diet positively impacts our health, the world in which we live, and the animals we share it with. If you’re considering making the switch this year, check out our vegan starter guide.