The meat-free industry has made wonderful inroads in recent years peddling their plant-based alternatives, however, a new British study suggests it still has a long way to go to wean most people off their addiction to eating our farmyard friends.
The survey of 2000 people was done by the vegan movement No Meat May and found a staggering 67 per cent of respondents would rather reduce their life expectancy by up to 10 years than give up eating meat.
According to the study, 20 per cent of men believe humans are meant to eat meat compared to less than 22 per cent of women. More than one in 20 (six per cent) said they would rather go to jail than stop eating meat, rising to 11 per cent for those aged 25-34.
Over 10 per cent of men viewed vegetarianism as being “feminine”.
Furthermore, 27 per cent of men surveyed said they’d rather give up coffee than meat and 19 per cent would give up the booze in favour of another pork chop.
Some 18 per cent of men said they’d give up meat if it improved their sex lives and 35 per cent admitted they’d give it up if it improved their health.
It appears women are far more concerned about the health impact of a carnivorous diet. Thirty-eight per cent of women said they’d go meat-free to improve their health, 36 per cent would ditch it to protect against certain cancers and a third would switch to veggies if it meant losing a stone (6.3 kilos) in weight.
A vegetarian diet was also seen as boring by 42 per cent of respondents. A third said they wouldn’t know what to eat on a vegan diet and 26 per cent were concerned about getting enough protein.
However, it wasn’t all gluttonous bad news. Both sexes admitted they’d like to eat less meat; 60 per cent for women and 51 per cent for the fellas.
That said, maybe don’t put “vegan” on your Tinder profile. Some 39 per cent of women admitted they’d prefer not to date a vegetarian, while 37 per cent of men admitted it was a turn-off in a potential partner.
The study also found that people admitted eating meat to fit in. Some twenty-one per cent of of 16-34 year olds said they’d eaten meat to fit in with friends or family, compared to just eight per cent of people over 65. A further 20 per cent said they’d eaten meat to avoid appearing fussy when eating out, compared to six per cent of people over 65.
The numbers also threw-up a great disconnect between eating meat and saving the planet.
Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed said they cared about the environment but only 26 per cent said they’d ditch meat if it meant reducing their environmental impact.
Some 28 per cent of women agreed that ditching meat would save animals, while it was 21 per cent for men.
Commenting on the results, Dr Shireen Kassam, founder of Plant Based Health Professionals UK, said: ‘This survey highlights a real disconnect between the science and public attitudes relating to meat consumption.
“Given that eating meat, particularly red and processed meat, is a leading risk factor for some of our commonest chronic illnesses, it is quite alarming to learn how entrenched some myths and beliefs about a vegan diet actually are. This is undoubtedly a result of decades of effective marketing and PR by the meat industry,” Kassam said.
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