This week we’ve seen more celebrities praising vegan diets for their health benefits, including Usher and Simon Cowell. Additionally, Covid – 19 continues to prompt discussions about the viability of meat as part of a healthy diet. Here are our picks for three of the most impactful stories of the week. 

PETA receives mixed reactions to pandemic billboards 

The predominant theory about the origin of the Covid – 19 pandemic is that it began in a Wuhan wet market, where a variety of animal species interacted as they were being sold for food. This knowledge has lead to many discussions about the existence of wet markets and the exotic animal trade. 

However, many activists have pointed out that the problem does not exactly lie with wet markets. It lies with animal agriculture, and the body of evidence is large. Scores of zoonotic disease outbreaks in the last 50 years have been linked to animal agriculture – including swine and bird flu. So, the question presents itself – should meat and factory farming continue to be a part of our lives when the pandemic is over? 

Billboards across America

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) playfully reflected upon this in their latest activist campaign. Billboards erected around the United States read ‘Tofu never caused a pandemic. Try it today!’ along with an undeniably adorable Tofu cartoon. 

Many people, like me, thought that the campaign was fun and unbelievably cute – and the billboards received praise from vegan twitter. However, as reported by the New York Post, some didn’t see the humour – calling the ads in bad taste considering the US’ coronavirus death toll. PETA has had a lot of controversy in their past, and its understandable to be a little dubious, but  personally I think this campaign is a step in the right direction: based on facts and executed with flair. 

Simon Cowell credits vegan diet for weight loss 

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Hello everyone. I wanted to share something exciting my son Eric and I have been working on. I would like to introduce to you #WISHFITS. To begin with, we have announced a seven book deal with @hachettekids today. WISHFIT is a world where the most unusual animals exist. The WISHFITS are magical, unusual and have evolved in a weird and wonderful way, combining two different species to form hybrid animals with very distinct characteristics! Some of Eric’s favourite WISHFITS include the DAT (dog/cat) the COG (cat/dog), the SNOG (snail/dog – the enthusiasm of a dog at the speed of a snail), the PEEP (pig/sheep) the CHUG (cheetah/slug – the slowest cat in the world), the HIPPOROO (hippo/kangaroo), the CHIMPANPOO (chimpanzee/poodle), the POLARBAT (polarbear/bat), the CROCOPUSS (crocodile/cat), the SHIGER (sheep/tiger – the most nervous cat in the world), the SPIKEY (spider/donkey) and many, many more. To be able to write a series of books with my son Eric has been magical. This idea was inspired 3 years ago by a very special friend of ours who runs a Children’s Hospice charity. I told her one evening about some of the funny animals my son Eric and I would invent, starting with the Cog and the Dat. And how every evening the two of us would think of the most unlikely animal we would like to have as a pet. She loved this idea so much she encouraged me to turn this into a book series. I then met with an amazing company called @tongalteam who have a global community of creators. We loved the idea of thousands of creative people being part of the development of our idea. I am thrilled to be working with Hachette, an amazing publishing house. They shared our passion and enthusiasm from the moment we told them about WISHFITS.
 Two of the children’s charities I work closely with will benefit from profits of WISHFITS, @sschospices and @togetherforshortlives. Simon PS. My gut feeling is that some of these WISHFITS actually exist…somewhere!

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This week, Simon Cowell has again spoken out about the health benefits he’s experienced from making the switch to a plant based diet. The music mogul, primarily known as the ‘mean judge’ on a host of reality singing competitions and the creation of boyband One Direction, announced last year that he had adopted a primarily plant based diet: cutting out meat, dairy, eggs, wheat and sugar for weight loss. 

Now, Cowell has revealed that he has given up fish and eats only plants. There appears to be no regrets on Cowells behalf, stating that he ‘felt good’ and ‘had more energy’ in an interview with Terri Seymor. Additionally, Cowell reported having lost over 60lbs on this diet. 

Clearly, Cowell is enjoying all the benefits of living and eating ethically, and it doing his due diligence by actively promoting his plant based diet to his fans and followers. 

Usher turns plant based for his immune system 

In a recent live Twitter event, singer songwriter Usher spoke out about the beginning of his vegan journey and why he had hired a vegan chef, saying that ‘its very important to know that a healthy option is plant based’. Usher also spoke about trying to boost his immune system through a vegan diet. 

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#HearMeOut

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Whilst evidence is sparse on specific immune boosting claims, Harvard Health supports the idea that a diet high in a variety of fruits and vegetables – as a well planned vegan diet tends to be – is crucial in supporting the immune system. Fruits and vegetables provide essential micronutrients to the human body such as vitamins A, C, and folate, allowing it to perform at its best. However, a properly functioning immune system also relies on other lifestyle factors such as non-smoking, adequate sleep and regular exercise. Whilst veganism isn’t a dietary fix all, it can certainly be part of the puzzle of a healthy lifestyle. 

Additionally, Usher spoke about his new business, entitled ‘Veganaire’. In collaboration with Chef Shay, the service appears to focus on delivering vegan meals on a mass scale. Usher spoke of his dream of it one day being ‘like McDonalds’. Veganaire has reportedly been doing great work behind the scenes, providing over 2,000 meals during the pandemic. We’re excited to see what comes next from the brand. 

Read more vegan news here.

Main image: Usher/Instagram


About the Author

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Lucy Bailey is 18 years old and has been vegan for 9 months. Lucy is an award winning public speaker and passionate writer on animal issues. For her vegan activism, Lucy has been awarded the Sydney University Leadership Award and a Sydney Scholars Award in 2019.

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