Vegan SA Supports Meat Free Mondays
Vegan SA are supporters of the Meat Free Mondays campaign group. The objective of this group is to raise awareness of the negative impacts that meat consumption has and to provide a means by which everyone can make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world through vegan meal planning and consuming meatless meals on a weekly basis.
Take the Meat Free Mondays Pledge
The Support Meat Free Mondays group of South Africa invites individuals, corporations, councils, schools and other places of higher education to take the Meat Free Mondays Pledge - to abstain from the consumption of meat every Monday (take the Meat Free Mondays Pledge now). Several cities have already signed up including Ghent (the first city in the world to sign up), San Francisco, and our own Cape Town.
If you are a regular visitor to our website, chances are that you are already a vegan or vegetarian. You might well be wondering how this initiative is relevant to you and why a vegan organisation is lending its support to such a project. Although every vegan and vegetarian can make the pledge and lend their support to the campaign, this will hardly change their diet since they already choose to consume vegan meals 7 days per week.
This campaign instead targets those other members of our society that would otherwise never consider eating vegetarian food and would consume meat every day of the week. Having one designated meatless meal day a week is an attractive way for these people to reduce carbon emissions in order to slow the rate of climate change, protect the environment, improve their health and express compassion for the rights and needs of animals.
Vegan SA's aim remains to promote veganism with respect to food and product choices, but we acknowledge that to many people our message falls on deaf ears. Meat Free Mondays is a start for these people, and a step that they would probably have never taken. Of course, any reduction in overall meat consumption can make a significant difference in the total number of animals kept as livestock and killed over a period of time, and some people maybe be tempted to try 2, 3 meat free days per week after their first initial step turned out to be not so bad after all; some may even become vegans after a period of time.
So Meat Free Mondays creates awareness and thought amongst usually non-responsive sectors of society. What's more, active and compassionate vegans and vegetarians can use the Support Meat Free Mondays website to encourage their family and friends to take the vegan meal pledge too. Merchandise is also available for purchase through the website to demonstrate your support for the campaign. And, of course, the Vegan SA website directory will always be a useful tool for researching foods and recipes for vegan meal plans.
Support Meat Free Mondays group members include the successful vegetarian food brand Fry's and other NGOs such as Animal Rights Africa, Wildlife Society of South Africa, Beauty Without Cruelty, the Animal Anti Cruelty League, and the South African Vegan Society.
Why Meat Free Mondays?
The campaign hopes to deliver a healthy message by raising awareness of the importance of limiting cholesterol and saturated fat in our diet, which nutritionists say contributes significantly to several diseases which have reached epidemic proportions.
Cutting out meat, even for just 1 day per week, will help prevent 4 of the leading causes of death: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Reducing the intake of meat means reducing the consumption of saturated fat.
Eating less meat can help minimise your ecological footprint because livestock breeding has a detrimental impact on the environment.
A United Nations report states that emissions from livestock make up 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In relative terms, that is 28% more than all forms of transportation combined. 2 of the gases they produce are methane and nitrous oxide. Methane is 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming, and 37% of the emissions from livestock is methane. Nitrous oxide comes from livestock manure, and these emissions are 65% of all the nitrous oxide emitted in the world.
There are a host of additional issues regarding meat production. These include the vast amounts of water and carbon energy it takes to produce meat, deforestation to make pastures, overgrazing turning pastures into desserts, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones making their way into drinking water and the production of acid rain.
The increase in meat production over time would not have been possible without the development of intensive methods of farming, which have ignored the rights of animals who are now deprived of space, exercise, fresh air and social interaction - all necessary for them to express their natural behaviour.
By introducing a meatless meal day in South Africa, 11,200 cattle, 2 million chicken, 10,000 pigs, and 22,300 sheep will not face slaughter each week.