Meat Free Mondays

Cattle in BrazilThe ‘Meat Free Mondays’ campaign was in the news again recently, as Paul McCartney gave it his backing.

I think it’s a really great campaign – something everyone can achieve with little effort – and I have gone meat-free again today.

The difference that reducing meat consumption can make is staggering. The main factor is deforestation in Brazil for grazing. The Food and Agriculture Council of the United Nations said in 2006 that livestock’s contribution to gaseous emissions and climate change “currently amounts to 18 per cent of the global warming effect – an even larger contribution than the transportation sector worldwide” (read the whole report here).

Farmers inevitably hit back at the ‘meat free’ campaign, calling it gimmicky and ill-informed. I have to admit, I felt this blog on the Farmer’s Weekly’s site made a valid point:

“A campaign like this is likely to strike a chord with the sort of middle-class folks who buy higher-quality meat.  The kind of people who eat cheap and intensively-farmed protein from the freezer cabinets (the sort of people who wear a tracksuit even when they are not doing sport) are likely to be unmoved by the argument.  Their meat is normally the cheap and yucky imported stuff, I don’t see these sales being dented by the campaign.”

And surely everyone avoiding meat on the same day of the week could increase food waste, with meat close to its sell-by date not being purchased that day? Treehugger founder Graham Hill has a ‘weekday vegetarian’ suggestion where meat is saved for the weekend, which is interesting.

My repertoire of protein-rich vegetarian dishes is pretty narrow. I love seafood but that’s hardly straight-foward either (I still need to see The End of The Line about depleting fish stocks – it sounds harrowing).

So I’m setting myself a challenge to experiment more with vegetarian and vegan cuisine…any suggestions for any cheap, tasty vegan options?

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