This week has seen one of the most significant national weeks of the year and no, I’m not talking about the Markle Debacle, I’m talking about National Vegetarian Week!
As an agency with a special interest in the hospitality industry, it’s important for us to keep on top of all the latest food trends, changes and advancements; both locally and nationally. This week has been especially important for all food and beverage establishments out there so we wanted highlight the changing trends in relation to animal consumption in the UK and discuss the views of meat-eaters and non-meat eaters.
As the only vegan in the office, I was set the task of writing this blog and to give little context and introduction without getting into the nitty gritty, meaty parts (excuse the pun) of the reasons we should ALL be vegetarian (that was my only preachy point – I promise).
I’m a near life-long veggie. The transition from meat-eater to herbivore was made when I was three years old after being horrified that the naked pink lump of meat being put into our oven for Sunday lunch was in fact once a living, breathing REAL chicken. Much to my mother’s frustration and dismay, I decided from this young age that I wouldn’t let another piece of meat pass my lips for as long as I lived and 22 years later, I’ve kept my promise.
For me, my decision to be a veggie was a very personal one, dictated by no one and nothing other than my own feelings towards the idea of eating meat. To me as a child, there was never a difference between Bambi and venison, Flounder and fish and chips, Zazu and poultry… The Disney personification of animals was how I saw them every day – full of love, feelings, tangible and relatable emotions and intelligence that sometimes far surpassed that of most adults I knew (ah to be young and naïve). Other than when I was offered meat, I didn’t talk about my vegetarianism.
Throughout my school years it was never really discussed and I would just tell people that I didn’t eat meat (vegetarianism was still somewhat of a dirty word that wasn’t considered ‘proper’ in my family). When I went to university, for the first time I found myself meeting other like-minded people who had also opted for meat-free diet and I found myself in discussions and debates with people about animal welfare in meat production, the environmental impact of the meat industry and the health benefits of both consuming and not consuming meat.
Over my three years at university, I delved further into my research and started to discover the unfortunate horrors associated with meat production and consumption. My feelings towards a vegetarian lifestyle progressed from not just avoiding meat because I loved animals, but because of the inhumane ways in which a lot of animals are treated in the lead up to and during slaughter. My eyes were also opened to the issues surrounding the dairy industry too and that’s when I decided to go the whole hog (another meaty pun) and went vegan.
I’m not going to list these reasons here (as much as I’d like to), but I do encourage you to just do a littleGoogle research and see if anything you find is of educational value.
Over the past few years, the debate on vegetarianism has picked up traction. It’s now a discussion that’s open in the media, on social forums, between friends and is being welcomed with open arms by many restaurants – some of which are now totally vegetarian and vegan. I regularly find myself engaged in debates and conversations on meat consumption and production and it’s amazing to see the open mindedness and understanding growing amongst the British public.
Finally, this week at the Big Cat Office, we got into one of these ever-so controversial debates.