This week we’ve seen a bunch of new movements form to help make meat a less logical and accessible choice to consumers. Additionally, even more celebrities are speaking out in favour of a plant based lifestyle. Plus tennis superstar, Serena Williams, has just announced she’s launching a vegan leather goods collection. Read on for our top stories of the week. 

Doctors advocate for meat tax in the UK

More than 100 doctors have delivered an open letter to the NHS – calling for a tax to be placed on meat products. The NHS is the national health service of the UK, delivering highly subsidised healthcare to citizens. Unfortunately, the system has long been dealing with the increased burden of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The letter  states that the NHS model is ‘collapsing under the burden of chronic diseases, the majority of which could be addressed through diet and lifestyle factors’. 

Its no secret that meats, especially highly processed meat like salami and spam, are not health foods. In fact, the World Health Organisation has classified these products as a class 1 carcinogen. With this in mind, the frustration of these doctors is understandable. National conversations about health largely ignore the detrimental health consequences of meat consumption – often primarily demonising sugar or oil consumption. These aren’t healthy foods by any means, but it appears disingenuous to conveniently ignore another major contributor to poor health outcomes and chronic disease. 

The UK government has a responsibility to introduce measures that will prevent the development of chronic disease in its population. In 1986, the World Health Organisation’s Ottawa Charter outlined five key principles for health promotion. The last of these is called ‘Reorienting Health Services’, meaning that the focus of health services should shift from the treatment to the prevention of chronic conditions. As stated by this letter, a tax on meat is a way of promoting health by decreasing access to unhealthy foods. It is the prevention of chronic disease, and it is fundamentally irresponsible for a government to refuse to contribute to effective health promotion. 

Harry Styles reveals he is a vegetarian

According to his recently released video entitled ‘Watermelon Sugar’, Harry Styles is a lover of plant based foods. This was confirmed in a recent statement by the pop singer, where he revealed ‘I don’t eat meat’. Whilst Styles is not a vegan yet – we love his record of advocacy for animals: including a firm anti – Seaworld stance which we have to respect. Anyone using their platform for animal advocacy is a big step in the right direction. 

Serena Williams launches vegan leather collection

Yesterday, tennis legend Serena Williams announced a new collection of vegan leather goods as an expansion of her activewear brand. Inspired by one of her favourite places, Williams uses a variety of African motifs such as giraffe print throughout the collection. 

Undoubtedly the most exciting part of this collection is that while Williams celebrates animal prints in her designs, the process of production was entirely cruelty free. In an interview with Essence, Williams stated that she made the decision because she was conscious of the environmental footprint of the brand, saying ‘we can all do one thing to help out’. 

Vegan meat industry expected to grow

Earlier this week, Plant Based News interviewed a variety of economic experts, revealing that Plant Based Meats were expected to grow by 15% this year, in comparison to 3% growth in the ‘regular’ meat industry. This comes off the back of the major production challenges experienced by the American meat industry due to coronavirus, and the growing number of vegetarians and vegans in the western world. Additionally, more and more fast food conglomerates are adding plant based options to their menus, and investing in companies such as Beyond Meat. 

But its not just meatless meat that’s growing – its the entire plant based alternatives industry. ‘Both plant based cheese and ready meals present huge opportunities for growth’, stated head of food industry and retail at Proveg International, Verena Wiederkehr. Wiederkehr recommended that investors recognise this potential for a boom in affordable plant based cheeses in the near future, as ‘a major way to support innovative startups’. 

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Main image: Serena Williams/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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