Today is World Meat Free Day, a day to explore new plant-based foods and learn about the impact of meat on the environment and our health. World Meat Free Day is backed by Friends of the Earth, who are encouraging people to change their diet to include less meat. Small changes in diet could have long term effects on health, and also help the environment too.
With flexitarianism – the movement to eat less meat as part of a primarily plant-based diet – on the rise, as well as 3 in 10 people in Britain saying they reduced the amount of meat they ate during 2015, eating habits are changing.
Kierra Box, Friends of the Earth Food Campaigner, said: “Thousands of people are switching to low meat diets for healthier, tastier food. But cutting down on meat isn’t just good for our health.
“The meat we eat does more damage to our climate than all the planes, trains, cars and ships in the world. Let’s use today as a chance to change this.
“The government and food industry need to step up to the plate too, and make it easier for everyone to eat less, but better, meat.”
Friends of the Earth encourages people to kick-start a less and better meat diet for the long term by starting with World Free Meat Day – it’s just one day.
- Livestock production makes up 14.5% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the key causes of deforestation and climate change.
- Over 70% of the world’s fish stocks are over or fully exploited.
- Moving to lower-meat diets in the UK could prevent 45,000 early deaths each year, resulting in a saving for the NHS of over £1.2 billion annually.
Friends of the Earth say our attitude to meat is complex – what is clear is the damage it can do to our health and our environment. They add that for people who are not already vegetarian, eating less meat, of better quality, results in immediate benefits while reducing demand on finite resources.