World Meat Free Day sets the challenge | Photos

ETHICAL: Katherine Whitmore will be taking part in World Meat Free Day, which aims to educate meat eaters about how and why they should reduce meat in their diet. Picture: Piia Wirsu

ETHICAL: Katherine Whitmore will be taking part in World Meat Free Day, which aims to educate meat eaters about how and why they should reduce meat in their diet. Picture: Piia Wirsu

Steak is off the menu on Monday, as World Meat Free Day raises awareness of the impact eating meat has on the planet. 

Launceston woman Katherine Whitmore will be one person taking part in the challenge, which aims to help meat eaters across the globe change their dietary habits. 

With soaring global populations, research has shown that unless people curb their meat intake it will take the resources of three planets to feed the world’s population. 

Ms Whitmore became a vegetarian two and a half years ago, although now she calls herself more of a “flexitarian”. 

I realised that as a human being I have the ability to have a big impact on the world around me. - Katherine Whitmore

“I realised that as a human being I have the ability to have a big impact on the world around me,” she said. 

“I’ve looked at my life over the years and gone, ‘Well how can I reduce what I need and what I consume and therefore what I output?’ and I saw meat as an opportunity, mainly because of the pollution that’s connected to it from especially breeding beef.”

The benefits of cutting down on meat eating range from reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from flatulent cow herds, to preserving land for threatened and endangered species, to reducing the use of water resources. 

Nutritional scientist Joanna McMillan said reducing meat intake is easier than a lot of people think. 

“You think just fill up on greens, beans and vegetables. In many parts of the world, people who are the longest-lived, consume a largely plant-based diet with small amounts of meat,” she said. 

Ms Whitmore said that while she misses the flavour of some meats eating a vegetarian diet wasn’t hard, the most challenging part for her was managing societal expectations around meat eating. 

“The fact that everyone else enjoys and loves meat and the expectation that I should continue to eat meat,” she said. 

“Everyone else around me, or most people, eat meat and therefore it's a bit of an inconvenience to not eat meat.”

Charles Darwin’s great, great grandson Chris Darwin has established The Darwin Challenge, which asks people to give up meat for one day a week. He suggests a meat-free-Monday or perhaps a Tofu-tuesday. 

For more information or to pledge support visit www.worldmeatfreeday.com.