You may have seen that The Ethical Butcher has launched a new campaign called ‘Regenuary’, challenging people to eat local, sustainably farmed food throughout January. It is presented as a direct alternative to Veganuary, when thousands of people go vegan for a whole month.
The campaign has caused quite a stir on social media, with over 1 million clicks on the original post last year.
Controversially, Regenuary takes direct aim at imported plant-based foods like avocados and almonds. The Ethical Butcher has claimed that these are worse for the environment than eating well raised animal products, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
To be sure, Regenuary advocates are right to suggest that well-managed and holistic animal agriculture can be regenerative. The Savory Institute has a number of case studies showing how it can rebuild soil structure and sequester carbon in the soil. However, the climate change studies carried out by the United Nations overwhelmingly suggest that we need to eat less meat than we do currently.
View this post on Instagram
If Regenuary encourages more meat eaters to choose higher welfare meat at the expense of factory farms then that can only be a good thing. Everybody who has an interest in building a more sustainable food system, would be glad to see the end of mass-scale factory farms (of which there are nearly 800 in the UK).
Ultimately however, the decision to eat meat or not comes down to a range of factors, including your personal ethics on meat eating, your culture and personal preferences – something which the Regenuary campaign seems to have overlooked.