save a cow and eat your veg

Submitted by MichaelE on Tue, 2010-04-13 12:05

Cape Town has become the first city in Africa to officially endorse a meat free day a week. This is thanks to an initiative by Compassion in World Farming and was endorsed by the City’s Health Portfolio Committee.

Many South Africans love their meat and the country celebrates International Braai day; not that we need an excuse other than our good weather, many people seem to spend every weekend at a function including a braai.

Yet this massive consumption of meat – which is often beef or lamb, is adversely affecting the health of our general population and contributing to the global food crisis.

Cape Town has recently been declared the unhealthiest city in the country in a Discovery Vitality poll! Now, this has a lot to do with how much we drink – I know Capetonians know how to party, but many of us here in Cape Town eat out a lot and eat a lot of meat.

Tozie Zokufa, South African representative for Compassion in World Farming commented that: "It is a triumph. We started negotiating with the City Health Committee last December. Their decision yesterday to work with us on this issue is not only a triumph for human health, but also for the planet and animal welfare too."

James Vos, chairman of the Health Portfolio committee, said: "We're not prescribing a specific day for giving it up”.

However he urged Capetonians to give meat up at restaurants, at home and at work at least once a week.

Vos said he would speak to his colleagues about implementing the no-meat day at council kitchens and that "We need people to eat more healthily and then there are also environmental benefits."

By just eating a vegetarian meal once a week, you can make a big difference to your health.

We need to eat more vegetables in our diet and by eating less meat you can lower your cholesterol and improve your overall health.

In March, Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for the UK government said: “Our diet is warming the planet. It is also damaging our health.” He estimated that reducing meat consumption by 30% could save 18 000 human lives from premature disease every year in the UK alone.

Eating less meat also make sense from an environmental point of view. It takes a lot of resources to produce that steak and boerrie, you consume with such relish. Animals consume a large volume of natural resources in order to grow so that we can eat them. Therefore a lot of our resources are channelled into growing animals for the consumption of those who can afford it, whilst many people go hungry.

I had a vegetarian friend who was always quoting, that if the whole human population were vegetarian there would be no hungry people in the world. It's often the small things that we do that can make a big difference.

So why not try and avoid meat at least one day a week, and make sumptuous vegetarian fare a more regular feature in your diet.

Also read: green your diet for eco-friendly eating and our review of superfood's raw food course