Considered being a vegetarian but been put off by the amount of commitment? Meat-free Monday is here to help. Launched by Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, it’s a non-profit project raising awareness of the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, encouraging you to ditch the meat and animal products in your diet for one day a week.
Here are some of the benefits:
Cowspiracy is a must-watch for anyone who religiously recycles their cardboard and plastic, hops out of the shower in two seconds flat, turns off the tap while they’re brushing their teeth and walks to uni. All these commandments have been hammered home since we were in primary school, but most environmental organisations are strangely silent about the effects of eating meat.
- According to the documentary, “raising animals for food is responsible for 30% of the world’s water consumption, occupies up to 40% of the Earth’s land, is responsible for up to 91% of Brazilian Amazon destruction, is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, habitat destruction, and species extinction.”
- In a year, raising cattle emits more methane and nitrous oxide than all transport (cars, buses, trains, trucks, ships, planes) combined.
- 625 gallons of water are used to make a quarter pounder burger (the equivalent of two months’ showers)
- For every pound of fish we want to eat, five times that weight in sharks, dolphins and other uneaten sea creatures are trapped in the nets. Most are killed, as they would be unlikely to survive if put back in the ocean.
- Eating too much red meat or processed meat (things like hot dogs, bacon and sausages) can cause cancer.
- Going veggie can lower your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as decreasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- E.coli, salmonella or other food-borne diseases are largely linked to eating undercooked or poorly reheated meat: aside from the bug that develops on leftover rice, most properly washed and prepared veggie food is safe to eat raw.
- According to some complicated science, cutting out meat can improve your mood and lower your stress levels.
Going veggie can help you to be seriously thrifty, which comes in handy when living on a student budget!
- The meat aisle is one of the most expensive in the supermarket, whereas if you plan your meals based on offers and discounts you can fill your trolley with veggies for around £20 a week.
- You can stock up on packs of frozen veg so you don’t have to constantly refill your fridge.
- Veggie options are often a couple of quid cheaper at restaurants.
The dangers of the meat industry for animals is pretty self-explanatory, but a lot of people seem unaware that the dairy industry is just as harmful.
- Cows are artificially inseminated, tied to a device commonly nicknamed a ‘rape rack’, in order to speed up the process of making milk.
- Male chicks are crushed or gassed because only the females are needed for making eggs.
- When you see the ‘free range’ label you probably imagine a chicken roaming in a grassy field and a farmer throwing corn, but at night time it’s a different story. Nine hens are crammed in a meter square cage, often in squalid conditions.
Whatever reasons are most important to you, going meat free for one day a week is a great start towards lowering the impact of animal agriculture long-term.