65,000 People Sign Up To Ditch Meat For May – Backed By Joanna Lumley And King’s College Hospital London
No Meat May campaign kicked off this week with a record 65,000 sign-ups – a 91% increase on 2020 – with more than a third (34%) of those taking part citing the impact of overfishing as a key reason for them to try a meat and fish-free diet for 31 days. This is in part due to the awareness raised in recent documentary Seaspiracy, which outlines the damage industrial scale overfishing is causing to the environment and ocean ecosystems.
The 2020 No Meat May campaign received over 34,000 sign-ups, 23% of whom were concerned about overfishing – meaning awareness and concern for our oceans among participants has increased by 50% in 12 months. Consistent with last year, the majority (81%) of sign-ups to the 2021 campaign cited health as a key driver for them to take the 31-day meat-free challenge.
This year, actress Joanna Lumley has given her support to the campaign, stating: “Why not give it a try? Day by day, go without meat, or cut down on how much you consume. Eventually we are all going to have to reduce our reliance on the world struggling to feed cereals to fatten animals to be eaten by rich countries, so why not start now. I am as fit as a very fit flea and I never eat meat or fish... so truly it will not harm your health. Try it. Please. Just for May.”
Taking part in this year’s challenge are 60 staff from King’s College Hospital, London, who were inspired to sign up for the No Meat May campaign as part of the hospital’s new sustainability strategy. Dr Shireen Kassam, a consultant haematologist at the hospital and a founder Plant Based Health Online encouraged members of staff to take part.
King’s College Hospital staff taking part in No Meat May include Chief Financial Officer Lorcan Woods, Chief Nurse Nicola Ranger, and Chief Digital Information Officer Beverley Bryant. They will be able to sign up to a series of helpful webinars throughout the month of May, organised by Plant Based Health Professionals UK in conjunction with King’s College Hospital, and including a Mexican food cook along with GP and Ready, Steady, Cook participant Dr Hayley Tait.
Members of the public who sign up to No Meat May will also receive a stream of plant-based recipes, cooking demonstrations and live feeds from a range of top chefs and dietitians (with a few celebrity cameos along the way). No Meat May aims to help those cooking at home to eat well and feed their families with healthy, affordable, meat-free meals.
No Meat May urges consumers to pledge to give up meat for their health, the environment, for animals, and to ensure a more sustainable food system for all.
Ryan Alexander, No Meat May’s co-founder, said: “Significant research over many years has shown that eating meat and other animal products is not only hugely damaging to the environment but can increase the risk of developing certain cancers, obesity and reduced life expectancy. The coronavirus pandemic has also served to highlight the link between our over consumption of animals and public health crises. Our survey has confirmed that many people are not aware of the impact of their food choices. It’s vital that the causes of these big issues are really brought to the attention of the public, so they can make fully informed choices about what they put on their plate.
“We’re delighted that King’s College Hospital has chosen to take part in the campaign as part of their new sustainability strategy. We hope that more health professionals and business leaders will be inspired by this move and seek to implement campaigns such as No Meat May in their own corporate responsibility programmes.
“Giving up meat might seem hard but it’s never been easier – there are so many brilliant plant based options out there, particularly in the UK. And when you join No Meat May, you get thousands of people from around the world cheering you on and sharing their veggie cooking discoveries. It’s a really fun journey and a fulfilling one - for your health, your soul and your taste buds.”
The No Meat May effect tends to continue long after the month of May is over, with more than 90% of past participants going on to reduce their meat consumption and one third reporting a life changing experience.