Challenge To Meat Eaters

by the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom


Does anyone know a good reason to eat meat?

In celebration of World Vegetarian Day* on October 1st, The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom is challenging meat eaters to suggest any good reasons to still be eating meat. The Society has drawn up a list of "50 reasons why it makes sense to be a vegetarian" and is setting a challenge to meat eaters to do the same.

The Society is confident that there is not a single justifiable reason to continue to eat meat and that producing a list of 50 reasons to eat meat is unachievable. In order to allow a free and open discussion on the benefits or disadvantages of eating meat, the Society is prepared to dedicate a full page in its own publication "The Vegetarian" to the merits of eating meat. This page will consist of letters and correspondence received from the public and organisations on reasons to eat meat. This will be published in the Winter issue of The Vegetarian, published in November.

"This is a genuine challenge. We want meat eaters to find good reasons to eat meat and we will even publicise them in our own magazine! This is an indication of how confident we are that the vegetarian diet makes perfect sense.

"Eating meat isn't worth the risk. It is becoming an increasingly illogical choice of diet. If you really care about animals, your health and the future of our environment, vegetarianism is the only option. World Vegetarian Day is a chance for more people to discover why vegetarianism is such a winning diet," said Chris Dessent, head of Public Affairs for The Vegetarian Society.

Meat eaters wanting to submit reasons to eat meat can do so by fax on 0161 926 9182, by e-mail to, or by letter to Meaty Challenge, The Vegetarian Society, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4QG. The closing date is October 25th.

The Society is prepared to answer any letters and queries from the public on vegetarianism. Any member of the public contacting the Society with a reason to eat meat will receive a free vegetarian recipe booklet from the Society, along with a list of 50 reasons to go vegetarian.

In celebration of World Vegetarian Day* (October 1st) and World Day for Farm Animals (October 2nd), staff and members of The Vegetarian Society will be taking part in a fundraising ascent of Ben Nevis over the weekend of October 1st-3rd.

For further information, please contact the press office on 0161 925 2000; out of office hours 0973 108 167.

Background notes on issues affecting the meat industry over the past twelve months

November 1998
The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee reported to ministers that an expected 43 animals infected with BSE would be slaughtered for human consumption in 1999.

April 1999
Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that a diet of McDonalds burgers may lead to "a very real risk" of heart disease and that McDonalds was guilty of animal cruelty.

April 1999
A Gallup Poll for the Realeat Company showed that 45% of the population are actively reducing their consumption of red meat and that for the first time taste was cited as the leading reason for doing so.

April 1999
Results from a 1998 survey of meat products were published showing that 14.6% of samples contained species of meat other than those declared on the label.

June 1999
High levels of Dioxin were found in manufactured animal feed in Belgium. Poultry, pigs and cattle may have been fed contaminated feed. Poultry meat and eggs containing cancer- causing dioxin at up to 700 times permitted health levels were found. Dioxin cannot be removed by pasteurisation, conventional processing or cooking. It can severely affect the immune and nervous systems as well as causing cancer.

July 1999
The Calf Processing Aid Scheme, set up as a result of the BSE crisis, closed on July 31st. 1,986,758 calves had been slaughtered or "processed" since April 1996.

July 1998
Diarrhetic shellfish poison was found in 10% of shellfish samples, recorded off the British coast, over the previous year.

August 1999
The French Government admitted that some of its animal feed processing plants had been using untreated sewage, residues from septic tanks and effluent from abattoirs in the preparation of feed for pigs and chickens.

August 1999
The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food published evidence showing conclusively that antibiotics given to animals had led to the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and capable of infecting humans. They concluded that antibiotic- resistant organisms harboured by the animals could be transferred to humans via the food chain.

August 1999
A Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) study found low levels of carcinogenic dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in all the samples of different brands of fish fingers bought in supermarkets, and higher levels in fresh fish sold for the table, especially oily fish.

September 1999
National Farmers' Union review estimates 1999/2000 income for hill farmers will average just £5,300. Lamb prices are down 25% and cull ewes are worthless. Sheep and calves are dumped at animal sanctuaries across the UK.

September 1999
A collaborative analysis of data from five prospective studies comparing the death rates from common diseases of vegetarians with those of nonvegetarians with a similar lifestyle (data from 76,172 men and women) found mortality from heart disease was 24% lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters. Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

September 1999
Current estimates predict that the cost of the BSE crisis will shortly reach £4.2 billion. It is expected that taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for the crisis for a further fifteen years.

September 1999
The beef on the bone ban remains in place.

The UK Government announces a £150 million aid package for struggling livestock farmers.

* World Vegetarian Day is organised by The North American Vegetarian Society. Vegetarian organizations around the world join in to help campaign and celebrate.

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom, email:

Insert date: 2009-05-16 Last update: 2009-05-16

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