Britain fast losing its appetite for meat | Viva!

Britain fast losing its appetite for meat

Annual consumption down quarter of a million tonnes in four years

Release date: 
Friday, May 21, 2010


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

Viva! - Europe's largest campaigning vegetarian group - believe this shows that Brits are fast adopting a more veggie way of life. The news gives an added boost to National Vegetarian Week next week (May 24-28).

Recent figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that last year 245,000 tonnes less meat was consumed in the UK in 2009 than was in 2005 - an overall drop of 5.3 per cent**. UK population grew by 1,183,000 during that time, meaning that the drop is even more significant argues Viva!***. Poultry consumption was down 7.6 per cent and pig meat consumption down 2.1 per cent. Viva! also argue that this fall is not because we are importing more, as the consumption figures include both meat from the UK and abroad. Over 37 million fewer animals were killed for the table in 2009 compared to 2005, also.

Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, says: "It is great that so many British consumers are turning their backs on meat and going veggie. However, over 893 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 an answer to all of them."

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

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 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

For more information on Viva!'s campaigns go to

* For details on the figures in this media release please see Defra's Agriculture in the UK (2009) (note: these are the most up to date figures provided by Defra and will next be updated in March 2011). Or contact Viva!'s press officer Helen Rossiter or Justin Kerswell for a breakdown on 0117 944 1000 or

** This figure is based on the data collected as 'total new supply', which incorporates both domestic and import supply. Defra have confirmed to Viva! this is a fair indicator of consumption within the UK.

*** According to the Office for National Statistics the estimated resident population of the UK was 61,383,000 in mid-2008 (figures for 2009 due later this year). In mid-2005 the UK was home to 60.2 million people (Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2007). [img]

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