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New Zealander professional tennis player Marcus Daniell has revealed he dropped meat from his diet for ‘environmental and ethical’ reasons.
The 27-year-old doubles player, who will break into the top 40 for the first time next week, has gone vegetarian after seeking fellow athlete Venus Williams’ advice about her vegan diet – and plans on ‘ideally’ becoming 100 percent plant-based in the future.
Having grown up on a farm, Daniell felt compelled to make the change.
Daniell told news outlet Stuff: “When I did my degree, I did an environmental philosophy paper and there were a lot of questions raised around the ethics of raising meat and vegetarianism.
“I was introduced to some present day philosophers about animal welfare. It opened my mind to it and I asked a lot of questions to my father about farming methods.
“Quite a lot of his arguments about the way he farmed made sense to me, the main one being in steep hill country in a place like New Zealand, there isn’t any way to use cropping to get energy out of the land.”
The professional athlete has also highlighted that he wants to minimize his environmental footprint.
“I kept telling myself that narrative that as a professional athlete I need to get protein from meat,” he said.
“But I’ve been trying to lessen my impact on the environment for years and one of the big pushes was that I recently discovered that my dietary choices made more of an impact on lessening my environmental footprint than any transport choices I’ve made.
“That was the final nail in the coffin for me.”
Daniell eventually plans on eschewing animal products altogether: “Also, on many levels I agree with going vegetarian. Ideally vegan, but that might be taking it one step too far right now.
“So it was an environmental and ethical choice for me, but it seems to be working out well.
“I’ve still got a lot of energy, I’m enjoying my food and I don’t feel like I’m missing out.”
The sportsmas was inspired by Venus Williams’ plant-based diet, whose guidance he sought last year.
“At the end of last year, when I started taking a deeper look into it. I found out that Venus is vegan,” he said.
“At the Australian Open I approached her in the gym and said I’ve been having a bit of a think about this and if we can have a chat about how you do it. She was actually really excited that another tennis player was asking her about it.
“But since I went public, a few other tennis players who are vegan or vegetarian have said to me congratulations and they’re glad I made the choice.”