Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Britain could be fully vegetarian by later this century

Release date: 
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

THE amount of meat being eaten in Britain is fast diminishing according to the latest Government agricultural figures.*

Viva! " Europe's largest campaigning animal group " believe if current trends continue, the UK will be fully vegetarian by later this century**. The news gives an added boost to National Vegetarian Week later this month (May 18-24).

Figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that last year over 13 million fewer farmed land animals were slaughtered in the UK than the year before. The group maintains that the trend is continuing downwards, with nearly 50 million fewer killed in 2008 than in 2005.

Viva! also argue that this fall is not because we are importing more. Figures show that consumption of poultry meat in the UK last year fell by a massive 67,000 tonnes (four percent); pig meat consumption fell by a staggering 74,000 tonnes (down by over five per cent).

Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "It is great that so many British consumers are turning their backs on meat and going veggie. However, almost nine hundred million animals are still killed for meat each year in the UK, most of them living appallingly short lives in squalid conditions and facing a terrifying death so we clearly have a long way to go but we are winning. Concerns about animal cruelty, health and the state of the planet are growing daily and vegetarianism and veganism provides a solution to all of them. It's needed like never before.'

To find out more about meat reducing, going vegetarian or vegan, contact Viva! for a FREE Go Veggie Pack, by emailing info@viva.org.uk or calling 0117 944 1000.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

According to Mintel (2006), 5-6 per cent of the population is now vegetarian and the number is rising. A 2007 survey for Linda McCartney Foods, found that around 10 per cent of Brits eat no red meat, and there is a huge amount of "meat reducers', with 31 million people eating vegetarian most of the time. The number of vegans has increased ten fold in the last 10 years, up to a million ***.

The average Brit eats 11,047 animals in his or her lifetime: 1 goose, 1 rabbit, 4 cattle, 18 pigs, 23 sheep and lambs, 28 ducks, 39 turkeys, 1,158 chickens, 3,593 shellfish and 6,182 fish. Viva! provides help for those wishing to give up or cut down on meat. Anyone can check their own animal slaughter rate at http://www.timetogoveggie.com

For more information on Viva!'s campaigns go to http://www.viva.org.uk.

* For details on the figures in this media release please see http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/publications/auk/2008/excel.asp (note: these are the most up to date figures provided by Defra and will next be updated in March 2010). Or contact Viva!'s press officer Helen Rossiter or Justin Kerswell for a breakdown on 0117 944 1000 or justin@viva.org.uk.

** According to Defra statistics 881,801,000 land animals (chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, sheep and cattle) were slaughtered in the UK in 2008. 881,801,000 divided by 13,035,000 (the number it went down in 2008) = 67.64 (the number of years before Britain goes fully vegetarian if current trends continue).

*** http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/an-ethica...