I’m not vegan. Yet. But I’m moving towards it. And here’s why.
Like many people in the world, I have had an interest in how what I eat impacts on the environment and on myself for a long time. I was brought up as an omnivore, but in my early 20s stopped eating meat after being pestered by Michaela Strachan – this is when we were doing The Really Wild Show. There was a thing called Veggie Pledge Week, where you pledge not to eat meat for a week. I only ate meat twice more, so I have not eaten meat, with no regrets whatsoever, since the 1980s.
But I continue to have concerns about animal welfare and transportation. I don’t see any difference between the way I should treat my dog – who I love and whose wellbeing I’m preoccupied with – and a pig, who is just as intelligent and important as Scratchy, but is kept in a concrete pen where it can’t turn around. The progress we have made on animal welfare standards is nowhere near good enough for me. I am joining Compassion In World Farming as a patron very soon, because it is really important.
It is wasteful, ecologically. There is no ambiguity about that.
Alongside that, I am aware how eating meat impacts negatively on the environment. It costs so much more in terms of the world’s resources, including water, to produce meat than vegetable food. Producing meat is very expensive
environmentally. As our population grows and becomes burdensome, we will have to put the farmed part of our planet to more effective and efficient use – and that means growing vegetable food.
We produce perfectly edible food and feed it to animals who cannot convert it into the same quantity of protein or carbohydrate – so it is wasteful, ecologically. There is no ambiguity about that.
We also know cattle produce more methane than anything else. As our population grows, the impact on our environment is so detrimental. I also have real concerns about the way the dairy industry is run. I don’t want to be a part of that.