A vegan charity that promotes awareness of the environmental risks of animal consumption is donating vegan meals worth $100,000 (£80,000) to those who suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Million Dollar Vegan (MDV) is distributing free plant-based meals to the poorest families in several countries around the world.
The organisation best known for challenging the Pope and Donald Trump to go vegan for a month in return for a $1million donation to charity has partnered with a London-based charity to provide nearly four thousand plant-based meals in the UK capital. The food is prepared in Hackney and delivered by bike around the city.
Million Dollar Vegan wants to raise awareness of how our food system “affects the environment, both farmed and wild animals, and human health — including the global risks of zoonotic diseases and antibiotic resistance”.
The group is promoting a campaign, called #TakePandemicsOffTheMenu, which aims to help the world avoid another pandemic. The initiative was backed by health and nutrition experts and celebrities including actress Alicia Silverstone and singer-songwriter Mýa among others.
“Now, with our support, they can significantly increase their output, and offer an additional 3,800 meals, which will mean they can feed a lot more families and for longer,” said a spokesperson for Million Dollar Vegan.
The organisation is currently working in nine countries around the world.
In Italy, it is donating 1,000 vegan meals to patients with Covid-19 at Turin hospital. In Argentina, it organised 7,000 “ethical aid” packages consisting of food products, hand sanitisers and masks, for the inhabitants of the poorest neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires. In Spain, MDV supplied food to healthcare workers in Madrid. In France, it distributed 1,200 vegan bowls to homeless people in Paris and caregivers in the city’s hospitals. In India, MDV provided over 50,000 vegan food packages through various charities to poorest families and street children. The charity has also distributed 6,400 vegan meals in Mexico, and about 3,000 in Brazil.
Naomi Hallum, director MDV said: “We hope that the $100,000 of food we are giving will help relieve some of the suffering caused by Covid-19, but the real value of our work lies in education, in telling people how and why these pandemics emerge, in showing the destruction caused to our planet and our bodies when we eat animal products.
“The coronavirus pandemic, like many others before it, is creating tragedies for families all over the world. None of us wants this to happen ever again but to prevent future outbreaks; there are some difficult lessons we must learn.
“If we continue to stress wild animals by decimating their habitats and capture and cage them in markets — and if we continue to mass produce domesticated animals inside squalid factory farms and transport them long distances — there will be no avoiding a future pandemic.”
Alicia Silverstone said: “Killing animals is unethical and obsolete, and it’s killing us too. We need to take pandemics off the menu.”