Should We All Be Meat Free on Monday?

by Jo Madonald

cow-1576740_640.jpg

Unless you've been living on another planet you'll have seen countless articles on reducing meat consumption for both your own health and the good of the planet.  In 2009 the McCartney family (Paul, Mary & Stella) launched a not-for-profit campaign called 'Meat Free Monday' encouraging people to give up meat for just one day a week.

So, should we all be meat free on Monday?  

The simple answer is that if you care about the environment and your health then yes.  

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the meat industry is in the top 3  'most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global' which includes being responsible for around 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions (btw that's more than all forms of transport combined).   The livestock industry also requires far more land than non-meat food sources, a 'farmer can feed up to 30 people throughout the year with vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats on one hectare of land. If the same area is used for the production of eggs, milk and/or meat the number of people fed varies from 5-10.'

And as far as health goes just about every health body and organisation recommends reducing your meat intake. A 2010 study by Oxford University’s department of public health concluded that eating meat a maximum of three times a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from heart disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, not only improving longevity and health in individuals but also saving healthcare systems billions every year.  

Obviously, it doesn't have to be on a Monday but going meat free for one day a week could significantly impact the environment and your own health.  Still not convinced?  Apparently if every American ate a vegetarian diet just one day a week, 'this would result in the same carbon savings as taking 19.2million cars off the road in the US for an entire year, or save emission equivalent to 46 million return flights from New York to Los Angeles' - so, going meat free one day a week really can make a big difference.  And with female celebrity supporters over 40 like Joanna Lumley, Emma Thompson and Gwyneth Paltrow you'll be in good company.  

If you need some inspiration to get started then here are some tasty recipes to check out.