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Monday, November 28, 2022

Are Your Investments Vegan? Know How We Are Contributing to Animal Cruelty Unknowingly

A survey by YouGov reveals that 65 percent of Indians plan to eat more plant-based/vegan foods in 2022. If you were asked “whether you are a vegan?”, what lifestyle factors would you review in your mind to answer that?

Most vegans would consider their diet, some would go a step further and think about clothing. A few more would think about the beauty products they use. These are good points to consider but we are missing a major cause of suffering of animals – our investments.

Our investments in the form of shares, mutual funds, fixed deposits, bank deposits etc, help companies grow their businesses in one way or another.

So, how do our investments lead to animal cruelty?

According to the definition of a shareholder, a person who owns at least one share of a company is essentially an owner of that company. Same holds true for mutual funds since one of the securities that the fund house invests in are shares. By investing in a company, you are doubly associated with the business. This is because by buying a share you are:

  1. Making the business possible – assisting the company in growing further
  2. Reaping the profits that the company is making

Imagine a poultry company looking to expand its business by increasing the number of farms, which are used to breed chickens. To increase the number of farms, it needs capital. There are different sources of raising capital and one of them is by issuing stocks. The company provides a piece of ownership in the new business in exchange for the money. The image below shows how the whole cycle works and we as investors end up in playing a role in animal cruelty.

Investments in animal husbandry, aquaculture, leather, pharmaceuticals, non-veg foods, agrochemicals, pearls etc are helping those businesses to grow.

Given that most investments are through mutual funds these days, just glance over your mutual fund holdings and you will find a majority of them holding stocks of one or more companies directly causing animal cruelty.

For example, Avenue Supermarts (see table below) is one of the top 10 stocks owned by mutual funds in March 2022. It is one of the leading dealers of non-veg food items, dairy products, toiletries, beauty products etc. If our mutual fund holdings include such companies, we are indirectly supporting their growth.

Source - MoneyControl

There has been exponential growth in the animal husbandry, aquaculture and meat processing businesses through our investments. Hence the percentage of cruelty that happens due to our investments is exponentially larger than that happens through food, clothing, household products etc.

It is of utmost importance for us to make our investments green along with making our food plate green!

About the author

Amit Shah is a software architect by profession and has been following the concept of ethical investments for more than seven years. For any questions/discussions on this topic, connect with him through email on [email protected] or on WhatsApp him at 9987458173.

(Views expressed by the author in this article are personal.)

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