As you are reading this you might be tucking into a yummy, juicy bacon buttie and being meat free may be a long way from your mind. However, this clever initiative is starting to catch on. Meat Free Monday is a campaign started and funded by Paul Mccartney along with his daughter Stella. Together, they promote giving up eating meat for the whole of Monday (would you believe?!) for a wide range of reasons. Because when you really start to think about it, eating meat has a bigger impact than just thinking of the cute little animals.
As a Geography student a large proportion of the things we learn are linked to how the world is changing, more often than not for the worse. Yes, this is along with our busy colouring in schedule.. For example, greenhouse gas emissions are globally showing a constant rate of increase. What does this have to do with meat I hear you cry?! A UN study in 2006 showed that the livestock industry was responsible for an astonishing 18% of man’s global greenhouse gas emissions, on top of this factor you have the impact of deforestation for cattle ranches, cattles extraordinary methane emissions and the extra food needed to feed livestock. This is all without even looking at the issue of animal rights and welfare.
Meat Free Monday may appeal to you from a financial point of view as a cash strapped student. The average UK family spends £13.10 on meat and fish and just £6.70 on fresh fruit and veg every week. Imagine how much extra dosh you would have if you spent a bit more on veg or those tasty lentils rather than meat.
Not all vegetarians choose to be so for animal rights and environmental issues, health is also an important factor. We all know vegetarians have a healthy reputation, but does this claim actually stack up? Eating meat less than 3 times a week prevents 31,000 deaths from heart disease every year in the UK. If everyone was able to eat meat less than 3 times a week it is estimated the NHS would save over £1.2 billion a year. Although Meat Free Monday is only one day a week, everyone has to start somewhere!
McCartney’s meat-free mission is being supported by several high-profile celebrities and chefs. The Meat Free Monday website also has lots of great recipes and more information, linked here: http://www.meatfreemondays.com/. So why not give Meat Free Mondays a go and feel totally self-satisfied all Monday long!