Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Friday, 25 September 2015

Meat Eaters Should Be Treated Like Smokers, Says Vegan MP

Meat Eaters Should Be Treated Like Smokers, Says Vegan MP

The Debrief: Jeremy Corbyn’s new recruit, Kerry McCarthy wants us all to be just like her…

The joke goes that, if a vegan is a vegan and doesn’t constantly blather on to you about being a vegan, are they really a vegan at all? But, most of the vegans we’ve encountered – though incredibly wily and resourceful in tracking down which ostensibly meat-free items actually do have animals in them (jelly! Bread! Marshmallows! Dry roasted peanuts!) – haven’t been too preachy. It makes sense, too. How can you be preaching to other people about what to eat when you’re spending 20% of your day reading labels?

But Kerry McCarthy, the Shadow Minister for the Environment and minister for Bristol East, recently elevated to this post by Jeremy Corbyn, is different.

She’s told Viva Life magazine: ‘I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eat it.’

There are legitimate problems with meat: as well as being directly bad for our health to eat too much (and hello, we’re in a country with an obesity epidemic), it’s bad for the environment, which is precisely what Kerry’s meant to look after.

She added in the interview, picked up by The Telegraph: ‘Progress on animal welfare is being made at EU level... but in the end it comes down to not eating meat or dairy.

‘The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant.’

We’ve seen the benefits of veganism in, say, Beyoncé’s 22-day vegan diet when she’s looking to trim up. But Kerry might have stepped her toe into some murky waters. Meat, just like cars, is such a go-to for so many of us, and we sort of think it’s our god-given right to use it. Unless we’re Morrissey, of course.

That said, rising prices seem to be putting people – at least lower income people – off of meat anyway. A recent survey found that in 2013 compared to 2007, 33% less meat is being bought by lower income households.

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Tags: Food, Health