Some 50% of millennials may cut meat consumption to save the planet

Yvonne O'Halloran

Half of Britain’s under 34s say they may lower their meat consumption in order to protect the environment, a study shows.

We aren’t surprised to see climate change as a key driver for people reducing the amount of meat they eat,” said Richard McIlwain, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society.

According to a recent You Gov survey some 50% of millennials, those under 34, said climate change was a particularly strong motivator.

And over 27% in the UK say they are considering reducing the amount of meat they eat. Health and climate change are the main motivators.

Twenty one percent of those surveyed also said they were pondering eating less meat due to animal welfare.

The government’s own Climate Change Committee suggests we should be eating 20% less meat by 2030 and the recent National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, suggests this figure should be even higher at 30%.

According to The Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian diet contributes to climate change significantly less than a diet that includes meat. Climate change can lead to the loss of the natural habitats of some UK wildlife, putting them at risk of extinction.

“Choosing veggie food can help protect animals like colourful puffins, inquisitive red squirrels, snuffling hedgehogs, and industrious bees,” it said.

And Britons not following a plant-based diet said protecting bees, aquatic species like  dolphins, turtles and the garden hedgehog could be the catalyst for their meat reduction.

The Vegetarian Society said “evidence shows plant-based food is better for the planet, has far less carbon emissions than meat, and for households on tight budgets it can also be a cheaper, healthy choice.”

 The survey suggests 12% of the population are already vegetarian or vegan.

Despite a growing awareness of how the food we choose impacts the planet, it appears the message could still be clearer – especially among men.

Nearly half of women (48%) and almost two-thirds of men (63%) surveyed said they are not considering reducing the amount of meat they eat.

Nearly a third of those not already following a vegetarian/vegan diet (32%) said they would not reduce their meat consumption, even if it meant the extinction of any animal species.

Article written by Julia M. Thompson – United Kingdom 

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