If you love Meat Free Monday and are missing Veganuary, then say hello to No Meat May. Next month, those who are concerned about the effect our food choices are having on the environment are being asked to give animal products a miss.
The global campaign began in Australia, whose reputation as the land of the barbecue needs updating to take account of Aussies’ growing fondness for meat free grub. Not only are 2 million of the country’s 25 million citizens vegetarian, but veganism is on the rise too – Australia reportedly has the world’s third fastest-growing market for vegan food.
Now in its seventh year, No Meat May is expected to tempt 10,000 new recruits to sign up. People in more than 50 countries are taking part in campaign, launched in 2013 by Ryan Alexander and Guy James Whitworth, who persuaded 30 friends to join them in giving up burgers, bangers and bacon for 31 days.
Those pledging to make next month a meat free one are asked to do so for four reasons: to save the planet, help feed the world, improve their personal health and end factory farming. “The evidence is undeniable that a well-balanced, plant-based diet is far healthier than a diet rich in animal products,” said Alexander, the campaign’s co-founder. “We also know that animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change, rainforest destruction, species extinction, ocean dead zones and consumption of scarce water resources.”
If one in five Australians take part in May, he added, it would mean saving 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and the lives of 80 million animals and sea creatures. Breaking it down to a personal level, enjoying a No Meat May would mean not eating 7 kg of meat, and thereby preventing 134 lb of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
In the same way as Meat Free Monday and Veganuary, those who join up often find themselves going much further once they discover how delicious saving the planet can be: according to No Meat May, 94 per cent of those taking part in previous years have reported a permanent decline in their meat eating, while a third have gone permanently meat free.
Guy James Whitworth added: “We recognise that most people change incrementally over time and No Meat May provides a safe stepping stone, evidence-based information, and support for that bold first step. There are so many exciting reasons to engage and inspire people to become plant-powered superheroes and No Meat May provides a practical and fun way for people to give it a go.”
To take part and get access to recipes, tips and nutritional guidance, sign up on the No Meat May website.