He’s an actor who has mastered both comedy and drama, but he’s best known for his role as the unconventional superhero Deadpool. Apart from acting, he also works as a screenwriter and producer, and he owns multiple companies. But is Ryan Reynolds vegan?
No, Ryan Reynolds is not vegan. He eats meat and other animal products, wears leather and other animal materials, and he has never spoken about animal rights. He does consider himself an environmentalist, but he has never addressed the animal industries’ harmful effects on our environment.
Dogs and other animals
Ryan loves dogs. In 2009, he visited a Houston animal shelter to get a dog for a friend, at the request of his friend’s wife. While he was there, he also fell in love with a 2-year-old dog named Baxter. In his own words: “I whispered to him, ‘Hey, let’s get the hell out of here.’ And he jumped up, like he spoke English fluently. He came with me, he jumped in the car, and we’ve been best buddies ever since.”
Years later, he got another dog, Billie. He posted a picture of Billie on Instagram in 2016 with the following caption: “This is my dog, Billie. Before Nick White intervened, Billie was spitting acid at Sigourney Weaver and haunting the dreams of priests. Now she’s a leash-free, stress-free, fur covered badass. And a certified general accountant. Many thanks to Nick White and the whole gang at @offleashk9training.”
Getting along with cats is harder for him. He said the following about them after working with one for the movie The Voices: “I have respect for [cats] the way you have respect for a sawed-off shotgun. Also, the cat did not like me. Dogs and I are in heaven together. I picked up Mr. Whiskers once, and it was like a Swiss Army knife and a throwing star combined — claws everywhere, I was bleeding out of my arm, my chest, I don’t even know how it got the back of my leg! It was crazy.”
In 2019, he posted some pictures of himself with exotic animals. The organization that facilitated this adopts and rescues animals, but not everything they do is in those animals’ best interest, like encouraging people to touch them and taking them to people’s homes for birthday parties. However, we can reasonably assume that Ryan didn’t think about that and that he visited them with the best intentions.
The truth about Ryan’s diet
In the early days of his career, Ryan was “pretty unhealthy,” according to himself. He said: “I didn’t care what I ate or what I drank.” But as he started playing more muscular characters, he needed to get in shape and eat accordingly. Commenting on the time he was preparing for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he joked: “I was eating, like, live children as they passed in order to bulk up.”
In a more serious moment in a more recent interview, he said he eats “clean, whole foods” every two to three hours when he’s preparing for a role. And he mentioned pizza as his favorite cheat meal. While all of this is possible without animal products, that’s not what Ryan was referring to. He eats meat and other animal products and even did so on a show.
Unfortunately, there’s more truth to Ryan’s joke about eating children than he may have realized. It’s not a topic that’s often talked about, but many of the animals killed for meat haven’t even reached adulthood yet when they’re killed. This doesn’t just apply to calves killed for veal and lambs killed for lamb chops, but also to other animals. Chickens can live up to eight years, but they’re only 42 days old when they’re killed. And pigs and cows are only at 5 and 9 percent of their natural lifespans when they’re killed.
These animals are individuals with personalities and feelings of their own, just like the dogs Ryan loves. The choices we make as consumers are a matter of life and death for them, and we don’t have to choose death.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has stated that “appropriately planned vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” They have also stated that “vegan diets typically meet or exceed recommended protein intakes” and that they’re suitable for athletes as well.
Ryan’s views on wasting food
Ryan cares about world hunger and has a strong opinion about people in the West engaging in and celebrating competitive eating while people in other parts of the world starve to death. He even wrote an opinion piece about this back in 2007. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
“Would it be fair to say competitive eating holds the renown of professional football, or the lore of Major League Baseball? What about other unsung athletic heroes across the globe? 14 year old Mustafat Osmana holds Western Sudan’s competitive Not-Eating-A-Thing-a-Thon record, by going 39 straight days without food. Barely edging out defending champion, Ahmed Rashid who went a whopping 38 days before accidentally eating one of the flies living on his eyelid. (Ouch! Better luck next year, Ahmed.)
“Young Mustafat, who maintains a strict diet of inner turmoil and bleached hope, looks forward to watching the ESPN-televised event to better understand what gigantically wasteful, fucking super-retards we all are.”
While competitive eating is overtly wasteful, eating animal products is just as wasteful, but less people are aware of it. The way it works is as follows: A lot of corn, wheat, barley, and soy is grown specifically to feed animals. The animals use most of the energy in their food to live, and only some of it to grow. So, by feeding it to animals, 10 pounds of plant-based food is converted to only 4 pounds of chicken meat or 2 pounds of pork or 1 pound of beef.
We’re already growing enough crops to feed every human on the planet, but because we feed part of those crops to animals and then eat the animals we end up with less food in total. And people in poorer regions pay the ultimate price for that.
Richard Oppenlander, author of the award-winning books Comfortably Unaware and Food Choice and Sustainability, has summarized it as follows: “Eighty-two percent of the world’s starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, which are then killed and eaten by wealthier individuals in developed countries like the US, UK, and in Europe.”
Ryan on environmentalism
When he was around 15, Ryan joined an outdoor education program in Vancouver, where he grew up. In the program, students would do a year’s worth of school in about three months and spend the rest of the year outdoors, learning about survival, resources, and the environment. That experience “actually changed [his] life.” Looking back on it in an interview, he said: “From that point forward, I led a very different lifestyle than that of my parents.” You can watch the full interview here, it’s under nine minutes:
In the interview, he also mentions working with American Forests, a non-profit dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems. This is what American Forests says about the link between deforestation and animal products:
“To save more forests, buy less animal products. Eighty percent of deforestation in Brazil can be attributed to the demands of cattle ranching, and 33 percent of the world’s entire cultivated land goes toward producing animal feed. As the earth’s population only continues to increase, the demands of agriculture threaten to exponentially increase deforestation rates. In this context, eating less meat would allow more land to directly go towards growing food for direct human consumption.”
Ryan also talks about climate change in the interview, stating that we’re at a “really, really critical time.” He refers people who want to make a difference to The Climate Reality Project. This is what they say about animal products:
“There’s no question about it – a vegetarian diet has a much lower carbon footprint than a diet that includes meat. If everyone in the US cut meat out of their diet for just one day, it would prevent GHG emissions equal to 1.2 million tons of CO2. At our trainings, attendees are fueled by hearty meals that are entirely vegetarian, with vegan options available.”
People often focus on the “just one day” part, but should we really continue to exploit animals six days a week when we can also stop doing it completely and be seven times more effective at tackling world hunger, deforestation, and climate change, while becoming healthier in the process? Ryan’s thoughts on all of these topics logically lead to veganism. Hopefully he will come to realize that too and make the switch.
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