While veganism used to be widely unknown, the plant-based diet has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of Brits in recent years.
Pro-vegan documentaries including The Game Changers and Cowspiracy have influenced many people’s decisions to ditch animal products, but new expert advice suggests that this is ‘completely unnecessary.’
Speaking at a panel in London this week, several experts argued the benefits of eating meat.
Professor Mike Coffey, from Scotland’s Rural College, said: “It’s completely unnecessary to go vegan.
“If everybody went vegan it would be devastating for the UK environment. Animals bred for food help boost biodiversity.”
Meanwhile, Professor Geoff Simm, Director of Global Academy Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh, argued that ‘demonising’ livestock farmers is unfair.
He said “I think (livestock farmers) do feel they are being demonised. Often the argument is made that going vegan would minimise land use, and the modelling studies that have been done demonstrate that that’s not the case.
“We feel that while livestock production has a range of economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, the costs have perhaps been receiving far more attention recently than some of the benefits.
“Meat has massive social benefits. It’s an important source of dietary protein, energy, highly bioavailable micronutrients, even small amounts of animal-sourced food have a really important effect on the development of children, in the developing world on their cognitive and physical development and they are really important.”
The experts’ advice comes amid a flurry of people converting to veganism.
According to The Vegan Society , there are currently over 600,000 vegans in the UK – quadruple the number there was in 2014.
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