What will we have learned about ourselves, and the impact of our food choices, by the time the coronavirus crisis is over?
Panic-buying has seen supermarket shelves cleared of loo roll, pasta, and tins of beans.
But there’s a silver lining: reports are flooding in that British supermarkets, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have closed their meat and fish counters to make room for essentials, most of which happen to be vegan.
Home-cooked meals that rely on pantry staples like beans, lentils, grains, and vegetables are good for us, inexpensive, and satisfying.
By rustling up a three-bean chilli with tinned or frozen, plant-based ingredients, rather than meat, we’ll reduce our risk of suffering from serious health issues and will spare animals a hideous death.
Eating vegan also helps in another tangible way: it lowers food-related greenhouse-gas emissions.
A University of Oxford study found that, globally, the meat and dairy industries generate 60% of agriculture’s emissions — despite providing only 18% of calories and 37% of protein — and use 83% of farmland.
We’re seeing a renewed sense of civic duty and neighbourliness now, as people seek ways to make a difference in these challenging times.
Let’s take this opportunity to redesign our world and be better neighbours to the animals we share it with: we can start by keeping them off our plates.
The crisis we’re experiencing is temporary, but eco- and animal-friendly vegan eating is here to stay.
Senior Media Officer, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Society, London
- This readers’ opinion was published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner on March 25, 2020.