“Growing up in Liverpool, I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp,” he wrote. "We could be a prejudiced bunch at times but I’m not sure people would automatically think like that these days.
“I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now and over the years I’ve seen how the attitudes have changed around the world, so I’m not surprised when I see new research that shows more and more people are increasingly adopting ‘meat free eating’. Even 20 years ago, it could sometimes be difficult to find vegetarian options in good restaurants. Now it’s great to see more and more choice with some brilliant creative dishes in restaurants, cafés and supermarkets. There is definitely now an overall greater acceptance of being vegetarian.
“People don’t just see it as an issue about kindness to animals. For us, at the time it was about that. One day I had an epiphany. I was taking animals’ lives. These days though, people are better educated about their diets and the health benefits of reducing meat intake but also and crucially the environmental impact that meat production has on our planet. The UN actually produced a report in 2006 (Livestock’s Long Shadow) outlining how the livestock industry was responsible for more harmful gases than the transport industry – they said the best thing you can do is reduce your meat intake. For this campaign some interesting research was produced, predicting a 50% rise in vegetarianism in the UK and the idea of ‘flexitarianism’ becoming more widespread as people become educated about the impact of meat eating on health and the environment. It’s becoming more and more clear that one of the most effective things any individual can do to help the environment is to eat less meat.
“We launched a Meat Free Monday campaign in 2009 in order to encourage people to look at their diets and make a meaningful change by giving up meat just one day a week. It’s not a new idea; it’s something that is done in many places around the world. We thought Monday was a good day to do it as many people tend to overdo it at the weekend. People thought recycling was a bit weird at first but now it’s weird if you don’t recycle!”
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