Over the last few years, these have become both a realistic option and appealing for consumers, with all major car brands investing in fully electric technology.
Our research suggests that most people – 84.6 percent – believe that the automotive industry has a duty to be more sustainable.
In addition, 79.7 percent of people agree that if plant leathers are better for the environment than cow and bull leathers, then new cars should use plant leathers as standard.
In the survey, respondents were asked whether they believed animal products should be entirely removed from cars.
A total of 75.2 percent said that they would like to see the removal of animal products from cars and other vehicles.
Of this percentage, 43.6 percent said they thought it is unnecessary to use animals, 17.9 percent said so for environmental reasons and 13.7 percent for ethical reasons.
Just 10.7 percent of the panel did not believe that animals should be removed from the car manufacturing process.
Animals are used in the production of electricity, the extent to which was revealed by Ecotricity in a recent investigation.
This investigation gathered evidence of several species of animals including dogs, foxes, and farmed animals being sent to rendering facilities where they would be turned into fuel. This fuel is then sent to electricity-producing plants, in turn powering the national grid.
This raises ethical concerns over the use of dead animals to power our homes and vehicles. It also raises environmental concerns as this process is marketed as sustainable and environmentally friendly, despite the reliance on animal agriculture.
The shift to electric cars looks good for the car brands and the government, but it only scratches the surface of what’s required to combat the climate crisis.
As highlighted in a recent article from The Ecologist, we live in a “car culture”, meaning cars are prioritised as a transportation means, to the detriment of the natural world.
Transitioning to more sustainable cars, including the removal of animals from the manufacturing process, is a necessary and not insignificant step.
However, it’s not going to solve the deeper environmental issues posed by the prioritization of cars over more sustainable and socially responsible methods.
The Vegan Society understands that the global reliance on cars and their contribution to the climate crisis is a complex area.
Though we would like to see a vegan car in the future, the development of new materials and processes, and new methods of manufacturing, will always have an impact on the environment.
This new report is about understanding consumer demand and highlighting the issues resulting from the use of animals in car manufacturing.
Even if a vegan car does emerge onto the market, it’s a whole other moral and personal dilemma if one should use the car at all, regardless of its environmental and ethical credentials.
Fully electric vehicles are not going to solve all the problems associated with transport emissions.
But it is still important for the car manufacturing industry to take on board the environmental and ethical issues highlighted in this report.
Transitioning to fully electric cars is the right thing for the industry to do, as is removing all animal products from the manufacturing process and our energy supply.
Alexander Huntley is a research assistant at The Vegan Society. He recently graduated from SOAS with a degree in the politics of conflict, rights and justice MSc. He is a passionate human and animal rights advocate.