Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?

 

Jonathan Safran Foer in “Eating Animals”, 2009  

 

 

Anyone who wants to give their family a healthy dietplay their part in drastically reducing environmental damage, climate change and global hunger, places value on ethical consumption and wants to raise their children to be responsible citizens cannot afford to ignore the benefits of vegetarianism. Things would look different if there were coherent and justified arguments in favour of meat-eating – if meat were essential to a healthy diet, for example, ethically driven parents would have to live with the accusation that they are deliberately not acting in the best interests of their children. The reality, however, is completely different: there are no good reasons to eat meat, but many very good reasons not to. Whoever is aware of the facts but wilfully ignores them must be ready to accept the accusation of indifference – and for parents, indifference towards matters as important as nutrition, health and the future of one’s own children is not an option.
 

More and more people are questioning the view that meat-eating is normal, natural and necessary, and never has there been such an interest in vegetarian lifestyles – and especially veganism. There are estimated to be at least 600,000 vegans in the UK today and this number is on the up, as is the number of vegetarian and vegan families. Like Jonathan Safran Foer, more and more parents(-to-be) are deciding to live and raise their children vegetarian because they feel unable to live up to their responsibility for feeding and raising their families if they simply blank out what it really means to eat animals. And children from families in which the consumption of meat is not (yet) questioned nowadays very often, as early as nursery or playgroup, come into contact with children of the same age from vegetarian and vegan families, which raises their awareness of the fact that a different kind of diet and lifestyle is possible.

As parents, it is in our very best interests to be part of the solution, not the problem. With this in mind, we should be aware that we have the power in our wallets to dictate demand and, in turn, the products on our supermarket shelves. This gives us the capacity to make a powerful statement each and every day about the kind of future we desire for us and for our children.

 

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