Next week, 23-29 March, is meat-free week.
As someone wh0 has at least four meat-free days most weeks, this probably isn’t going to be too much of a stretch for me, and a friend of mine who has given up meat for Lent will just breeze through it. My vegetarian and vegan friends (actually, do I have a vegan friend?) may snort and go ‘I’m having a meat-free life’ but whilst I applaud them, I believe that every little helps.
There are a whole bunch of reasons to eat less meat, including these:
- to increase animal welfare
- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from animal methane emissions
- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from habitat destruction for inefficient food production
- to reduce destruction of wildlife-rich habitats such as rainforests
- for health reasons – depending on what you eat before and after the switch and your personal health situation
When I started eating less meat ( a New Year’s resolution to go meat-free two days a week many years ago) reasons 3 and 4 were topmost in my mind. These are, of course, reasons to eat no meat, but if you drop meat from your diet next week at least you will be doing something for all of the issues above (and my experience was that you will find it so very easy that you will keep going with meat-free days)
But this year there is a further reason to give it a go, and that is that the World Land Trust, of which excellent organisation I am a rather useless council member, could benefit too. WLT is one of three UK charities chosen by Meat Free Week to receive financial support from money raised (see below). The others are Compassion in World Farming (see point 1 above) and Beating Bowel Cancer (see point 5 above).
Although Jamie Oliver, Raymond Blanc and Antonio Carluccio are well-known chef supporters of Meat Free Week many of its celebrity supporters seem to me to be younger, more feminine and better-looking than them (or, obviously, me)! But maybe if I give up meat for the week I’ll look like that too?
Here’s a link to the World Land Trust page which tells you more about why they are involved with Meat Free Week and how they will use the money raised.
The serious bit: The World Land Trust is doing a great job, working with local people, to protect rainforests from felling. This helps conserve thousands of threatened species. A major cause of rainforest destruction is to create land for cattle ranching. We are eating those cattle, and we are fuelling the demand for that destruction. You could do a little bit to help by dropping meat from your diet next week, and maybe for a few days a week for ever – or you could cough up some money instead (or as well!).
You can support me (morally and emotionally), and the World Land Trust (financially), by clicking on this link. I’ve donated £25 already and I’ll add another £25 for each day that I eat meat next week – if I weaken. Meat Free Week ends on my birthday so will I manage a meat free day then? We’ll see.