The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Adopting the greens alternative

By Lou Margetson

From The Universe dated March 15 1998

Could you face life without meat? Lou Margetson discovers that turning to vegetarianism is both a moral and healthy choice

Once they were the butt of jokes, lentil-eating eccentrics who knew no better. But today, research shows that one in six British people class themselves as vegetarians - or at least believe they will become one.

And national campaign group Animal Aid (AA) is aiming to encourage more people to give up meat for good.

A special round-the-clock helpline is being launched to help people cope with the 'cold turkey' of turning their back on life as meat-eaters - offering advice and support.

Recent statistics compiled by pollsters Gallup reveal 13,000 people-a-week have stopped eating red meat in the past two years. Of them, around 5,000 go on and complete the move to a wholly vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians and vegans now make up 5.4 per cent of the population - a 20 per cent rise since 1995.

AA spokesman Andrew Tyler says that animals raised for meat production face a life of cramped conditions, ill-health, injury or death during transportation and the risk of not being properly stunned before they are slaughtered for human consumption.

And Tyler believes such methods have a ripple effect through the food chain.

"There are consequences for the humans. Intensive rearing causes stress to animals. They get sick, and people consume sick animals, which in turn can cause them to become ill."

AA also believes that by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle people can improve their own health. The view is backed by the Vegetarian Society.

"People are starting to sit up and listen about healthy eating recommendations, and these all include fruit and vegetables which are high in fibre and low in fat," says Chris Dessent, VS spokesman.

"Research shows that vegetarians have 40 per cent less chance of contracting cancer, and thirty per cent less chance of getting heart disease."

Opponents of vegetarianism often say that adopting the lifestyle could lead to iron and vitamin deficiency.

But Dessent said: "That theory has been totally disproved. Many families now have vegetarian meals once or twice a week, without even realising it."

Reproduced with thanks.

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