At Plastic Free Home, we’re proud to have never eaten seafood. From an early age, we never liked the idea of taking anything out of the ocean as we love the sea. We’ve also never eaten animals that we know are killed young, lamb or veal for example.

We have however been meat eaters for four decades.

Today, as a family of four, we’re home to two longstanding vegetarians (Mrs Plastic Free Home and our eldest son), one near vegetarian (Mr Plastic Free Home) and a flexitarian (our youngest son).

After years of ‘wobbling’ on the issue, Mr Plastic Free Home is trying to give up meat entirely this year. And it’s going rather well. Going back a good few years, a diet of mainly chicken, with some beef, pork and turkey, has been replaced by a diet of just chicken in 2020 and now, (so far at least), not even that.

Given that Mrs Plastic Free Home has been a vegetarian for over 25 years, Mr Plastic Free Home learned to appreciate and enjoy “vegetarian food” more than a decade ago. And things have continued to move on even further during that time.

Incredibly, according to the Vegetarian Society, just 3% of people in the UK maintain a vegetarian diet all of the time. Unfortunately, too many people still have a view on “vegetarian food” derived from a low cost ready meal forced on the in the eighties or nineties. It’s time to reset that (false) impression. Here are just 10 reasons why (we could list hundreds)…

  1. Raising animals for food consumes more than half of all water used in the U.S. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat. (PETA)
  2. Industrial meat is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally. In Brazil, farmers are deliberately setting forest fires – like the Amazon rainforest fires you may have witnessed in the news. (Greenpeace)
  3. The growing popularity of a Western diet, which contains high levels of meat and dairy, means an area 1.5 times the size of the European Union would be saved if global consumption of animal products was reduced to meet nutritional requirements. (WWF)
  4. The climate impact of meat is enormous – roughly equivalent to all the driving and flying of every car, truck and plane in the world. (Greenpeace)
  5. Producing just one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles. (PETA)
  6. Almost 30% of fish stocks commercially fished are over-fished and 60% are fully fished. (WWF)
  7. By clearing forests, destroying habitats and using toxic pesticides to grow animal food, the industrial meat industry is contributing to the extinction of thousands of species, many of which haven’t even been discovered yet. (Greenpeace)
  8. Today, each person eats on average around twice as much fish as 50 years ago. In that time, there has been a decrease recorded in marine species of over 40%. (WWF)
  9. The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things. Yet, since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds. Excessive animal product consumption is responsible for 60 per cent of all biodiversity loss. (WWF)
  10. Animals bred for meat consumption are often treated appallingly. For example, mothers are separated from their babies at birth, sick and injured animals don’t receive veterinary attention and battery chickens lives in a space smaller than your iPad. (One Green Planet)

And a final reason that’s more relevant now than ever. Don’t forget that sadly many of the viruses and diseases that can affect humans have come from animals, including through eating meat. These are thought to include Influenza, HIV/Aids, Ebola, Swine Flu, SARS, Bird Flu, MERS, VCJD (“Mad Cow Disease”), Bubonic Plague, Malaria, Lyme Disease and of course COVID-19.

If you simply can’t live without eating meat, why not at least consider cutting down? Eat less of those meats that are the worst offenders (e.g. beef) and consider meet free days, weeks or months during the year.

Reducing the amount of meat you eat, or cutting it out of your diet entirely, is one of the biggest impact changes you can make according to widespread research.

Even Sir David Attenborough has said the following on the subject: “I haven’t been a doctrinaire vegetarian or vegan, but I no longer have the same appetite for meat. Why? I’m not sure. I think subconsciously maybe it’s because of the state of the planet.

We can’t go on eating meat like we have. If we had a mostly plant-based diet we could increase the yield of the land.”

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