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O. M. Veggie

Eve Bolt attends the [no-meat] and greet to do justice for “rabbit food”

On my way to the Vegetarian & Vegan Society meet and greet, sporting my Animal Aid badge, I was given a £25 gift-card for a new delivery company, Hello Fresh. The card advertised, solely, vegetables, despite offering a wider range of produce. Why? Greens are the new black.

Three styles of hummus, carrots, olives, apples, tangerines, grapes, bananas, pita-bread and ginger cake were offered and all sampled – for the article’s sake, of course. They proved delicious and filling. Sampling a range of food is one of the attractions of this ethical society. Showings of Vegucated, Cowspiracy and Earthlings, visits to Bethnal Green Gallery Café, and meat-free Mondays are planned for the effort towards limiting what is considered animal abuse.

This is no vain celebrity fad, but a highly universal campaign to reduce carbon emissions. Animal farming is said to generate around 40% more greenhouse gases than all modes of transport. Giving up meat may do more for the environment than boycotting cars.

To those who dismiss this diet as expensive nonsense, consider how many leading supermarkets – even the cheap ones – now have free-from aisles. Markets offer organic produce that promise less packaging.

May, a second year, was raised vegetarian and transitioned into veganism based on the idea of a fairer food-chain. She assured me she was healthy – blood tests have found no low iron or vitamin counts. Nuts, fruits and vegetables are rich in the nutrients found in meat. The brazil nut is full of zinc and magnesium; the protein to calorie ratio in a slice of ham can be found in a bowl of oats or a handful of tomatoes.

Dev, a fourth year medical student and President of the group, has based his diet on Jainism, a religion built on the tenet of non-violence. A question he is frequently asked is ‘’If you like animals, why are you eating their food?’’ “This lifestyle is not dependent on liking animals, but on not wanting to cause them harm.”

This is what was emphasised: that carnivorism is cruel slaughter. A video was shown that juxtaposed animals’ rights with those of slaves and women. Is it fair, it asked, that pets are loved and other animals killed? If eating a guinea-pig is not acceptable, why a pig?

Political ethics are not the sole motive. Fun and the chance to try something new are central too. It may be a surprise that some of the strongest creatures on the planet are vegan. Elephants and gorillas are but two on a list that include humans Fiona Oakes, elite marathon runner, and Patrik Baboumian, Germany’s strongest man.

The belief is that QM’s support could be stronger, although it isn’t doing badly; vegetarian options are available alongside the salad bar. The Vegetarian & Vegan Society wants to take this further, with vegan options offered, as on Goldsmiths’ campus. Reading University’s Underground advert shows off their research to reduce and improve food packaging.

I thought this choice of dining may be difficult in Mile End, the carne-val of chicken + chip outlets. My doubts were rebuffed as a cyclist shot past wearing a ‘Vegan Pro’ hoodie. Joining this society isn’t only for those pro-veggies, though, but anyone wishing to add a new colour to their palate and participate in a current debate that keeps on cropping up.

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