Opinion: “I went through cold turkey by not eating cold turkey.”




Next time you’re tempted to pig out on bacon sandwiches, have a think about the potential benefits if we all cut our meat consumption. In 2016 I ceased being an omnivore. I’d originally given up meat for Lent and planned on getting back to chomping dead animals from Easter Sunday. I even had the idea of my Easter egg being a Scotch egg.

Yet something changed. As I contemplated the death and resurrection of Christ, I found myself contemplating the well being and suffering of all God’s creatures. I went from Love Divine to love bovine. Did you know, there are over a billion animals killed each year in UK slaughterhouses, including 2.6 million cows? They also dispatch over 945 million chickens; hardly a poultry sum.

The craving to eat meat subsided. I went through cold turkey by not eating cold turkey, experiencing the same pangs of withdrawal and liberation as when I gave up smoking. Instead of Nicorette patches I stuck slices of salami to my shoulder.

The NHS should set up a meat addiction line: “To speak to an advisor press the corned beef hash key.” The main reason for becoming veggie isn’t animal welfare, it’s love of the environment. I love the environment so much that I’ve decided to eat more of it.

With world population estimated to reach 11 billion by the year 2100, the rising per capita meat consumption is unsustainable for the planet. It’s like we’re sitting on the Titanic eating roast beef. Raising livestock is the leading cause of global deforestation, 60% of direct global greenhouse gas emissions, uses 30% of the earth’s landmass and 80% of all antibiotics.

The world’s cattle alone consume more calories than the entire human population, and don’t get me started on how much they break wind. Never get stuck in a lift with a cow. Methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of CO² and cows produce 150 billion gallons of it every day – nobody light a match!

Remember too, the health benefits of a plant based diet. Red meat can stay in your system for up to a week (green meat leaves it immediately). I hope I don’t come across too preachy, or sound like I’m jabbing an invisible carrot stick of accusation. But if you are feeling moo-ved, all we are saying is, give peas a chance.

Main photo credit: Ryan Song via Unsplash

Tony Vino

Tony Vino is a professional comedian who straddles the world of comedy clubs, festivals and churches.

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