Sherlock star Martin Freeman has lent his voice to a new video by animal protection group Humane Society International/UK, to encourage people to take meat off the menu – even one day a week can help animals, human health and the planet.
In addition to billions of animals around the world enduring extreme suffering in intensive farming, animal agriculture is also a lead contributor to climate change, and a meat-based diet increases our chances of developing cancer and other diseases.
The three minute video officially launches HSI/UK’s new Eat Kind campaign to boost the number of Brits choosing plant-based eating. According to Mintel, around 12 per cent of the British public (that’s 7.8million people) are already vegetarian or vegan, with millions more ‘flexitarians’ actively reducing meat consumption. Aiming to appeal to first-time meat reducers and the veggie-curious, Martin Freeman’s video narration gives a light-hearted introduction to the serious benefits of reducing or replacing meat and dairy. HSI advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs : reducing or replacing consumption of animal products, and refining our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.
Martin Freeman says: “When it comes to solving huge issues like climate change or animal suffering, it’s easy to feel helpless as an individual. So I really like the way the Eat Kind campaign empowers us all to realise that by making simple changes to what we put on our plates, we can help animals, protect the planet and benefit our own health whilst eating delicious and nutritious food at the same time. Millions of people around the world already take part in Meatless Monday but why stop there when you can make an even bigger impact by adding in a Tofu Tuesday and a Veggie Sausage Saturday as well?”
The Eat Kind campaign plans exciting partnerships with universities, retailers and meat-replacement brands, to increase mainstream availability of more humane cuisines. And you can find delicious vegetarian recipes from some of the UK’s top plant-based chefs and bloggers via the campaign website hsi.org/eatkind.
Raising more than 77 billion land animals for food worldwide causes alarming amounts of three of the most serious climate-changing gases – carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – and accounts for approximately 15 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Climate experts agree that reducing global consumption of animal products is essential for tackling catastrophic climate change.
In the UK alone, around one billion land animals are raised for food every year. Life for most of them is a miserable existence in a factory farm. Chickens bred for meat typically live in overcrowded, windowless sheds, forced to grow fat so quickly that their legs often collapse under their weight. Most pigs killed in the UK spend their entire lives indoors, including breeding sows who are immobilised for weeks in farrowing crates every time they give birth. When consumers make more ethical choices, animals are saved from suffering.
Cutting down on animal product consumption is also a great way to protect your health. Studies have found that people who eat less meat have a lower risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Most recently the World Health Organisation warned that processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages can cause cancer.
Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, says: “With an ever-growing range of meat and dairy alternatives, there has never been a better time to dip your toes in to the delicious world of plant-based eating. Millions of vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians are already doing it, and our Eat Kind campaign aims to bring the benefits of animal-free eating to millions more. And with rising consumer demand, and increasingly compelling ethical, health and business case benefits, we’ll be encouraging more companies to jump on board too with reduced meat menus.”
For more information on Eat Kind, and to sign the pledge, visit hsi.org/eatkind.