Reduce your impact on the planet by going vegan, says researchers at Oxford Uni. But can one more vegan make a difference, or is a compromise needed

Somehow, Rooney Mara cradling a live turkey has failed to convert the hungry masses.

Food delivery platform, Deliveroo, shared last year their projection that as many as 20% of British families would have a vegan menu at Christmas.

With more and more information available to support meat-eaters make the transition to veganism, and more vegan alternatives available in supermarkets and on the high street, a vegan lifestyle is easier to follow than ever before, right?

Well, it’s certainly more accessible than it ever was before. But still most pet owners (like me) and wildlife lovers, enjoyed an array of meat and dairy products for Christmas.

Even following vegan social media accounts, with their frequent use of shock (truth) techniques, such as sharing videos and images of the appalling conditions of many animals destined for slaughter, has not been enough to stop me including so many animal products from my diet.

Though I have unfollowed several, vegan accounts because I’m hungry, and I’m obviously too fragile to know where my food has come from.

I know, however, that if I was left on a farm and told to slaughter my own dinner, I wouldn’t do it.

I doubt if I’d even want to milk a cow, but lucky enough for me as well as most others, there are still more others willing to do those jobs for us.

We just pick stuff off shelves and pay for it.

But I want to know, would my unlikely embrace of veganism really, suddenly, make a difference?

That seems to be what the clever people at the University of Oxford think.

But such a claim to one person’s ability to make a significant difference misrepresents the truth.

Cynical? Yes. Also, honest.

One person’s individual embrace of veganism can only assuage their own conscience – it can’t make any measurable difference to a society’s collective carbon emissions.

Indeed, one person reducing the time they spend in their car makes only a negligible difference.

But it’s said that many people “doing sustainability” imperfectly is better than one person “doing” it perfectly.

Perhaps, therefore, flexitarianism is a more reasonable recommendation than veganism.

This mainly vegetarian, occasional meat-eater diet can be adopted on a wider scale – since it’s a more tolerable compromise than veganism – and if embraced by enough people, may actually one day make a difference to emissions.

Purveyors of vegan goods and ideals, Shock tactics are not effective.

Meat-eaters like me are far too acclimatised to our usual favourable position within the food chain –

We love our pets, and our exciting sightings of wildlife, but we’re not prepared to go vegan “for the animals”…

And it’s unreasonable to ask us to go vegan “for the environment”, for the reasons I have stated above.

“Go vegan for health” might work for some, but with little conclusive proof that veganism will stop you getting cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, your best option is to tell people, “Go vegan to lose weight”, since this is more realistic and attainable.

“Go flexitarian and commit to vegetarianism most of the time and have meat as an occasional treat” is again, a more reasonable suggestion and expectation.

“Go flexitarian for the environment” might even work if you can get a lot of people to do it.

But who am I to share so many opinions?

I am the stubborn meat-eater you want to convert.

I am also someone who is dedicated to supporting sustainable businesses including vegan businesses, because I know that they’re right.

But I’m not yet prepared to compromise my exploitative diet because like a child who has acquired a stolen toy, I don’t want to give it up.

I don’t want to be amongst the 20% eating only plants, I’d be too jealous of the 80%.

But making efforts to become more flexi doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

Vegan businesses, can you think of any ways to half-convert the masses?

Would you yourselves be willing to make that compromise?

Can flexitarianism be the future? At least, the beginning of a cruelty-free future?

And how might meat-eaters be led to a life more flexi?

Isn’t it time some celebrity vegans and vegetarians made a bigger effort to inspire their followers?

Somehow, Rooney Mara cradling a live turkey has failed to convert the hungry masses.

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