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A farmer has branded multiple popular arguments against vegan diets as nonsense, saying they are here to stay – and the farming community needs to accept this.
Farmer and journalist Darragh McCullough, who has a family farm specializing in flowers, also produces dairy via a farming partnership with a neighbor.
Writing an opinion piece for Independent. ie, McCullough said developments like Burger King’s use of the plant-based Impossible Burger patty in its new Impossible Whopper, are signs that consumer interesting in eschewing or ditching animal products is set to stay.
New vegan world
“In this new world, it’s time for the farming community to get their head around veganism,” he wrote, adding that farmers need to ‘stop with the daft accusations’ against veganism.
“Farmers need to stop claiming that if we had to rely on vegans to feed the world, we’d all go hungry,” he said, “It’s a lame attempt to ignore the real point. Equally, claims that you cannot get enough nutrients from a vegan diet ignores the fact that a big chunk of the world’s population in places like India have effectively been living off a vegetarian diet for centuries.
“The assertion that annoys me most is the one about the plight of all the farm animals if the world went vegetarian. Again, this is nonsense since the only reason the 25 billion cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, and other livestock currently exist is because there’s a market for them. If it wasn’t worth farmers’ while putting the animals in calf or producing the eggs, animal numbers would fall.”
Changing product names
He also shared his thoughts on attempts to ban plant-based producers from using words traditionally associated with animal products – i.e, milk, burger, sausages.
A recent instance of this hitting headlines came in recent weeks, when the EU’s agriculture committee approved proposals to force vegan products to change their names from burgers and sausages to names like ‘discs’ or ‘tubes’. The proposals are facing a vote by the full EU Parliament in May.
McCullough believes these attempts will be unsuccessful because ‘consumers will choose the products they want despite labels’.
He believes that consumer tastes are changing – and that ‘the general population is slipping gradually into a flexitarian diet where meat features, but less as a staple’.
This opinion ties in with some market research – including staggering data from UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, which claimed a massive 91 percent of Brits have adopted a flexitarian diet.
“We’re seeing increasing demand for plant-based products, and with the unstoppable rise of ‘flexitarianism’ in the UK, we are exploring further ways to make popular meat-free options more accessible,” Rosie Bambaji, plant-based buyer at Sainsbury’s, said.
Recently, YouGov released more moderate statistics in a white paper titled Is the future of food flexitarian?, which describes Flexitarians as being ‘somewhere in the middle’ consuming meat occasionally, but eating a mainly plant-based diet, and says 14 percent of Brits identify as eating this diet.