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Home ยป Over 70% of Brits people who eat meat feel guilty, new study finds

Over 70% of Brits people who eat meat feel guilty, new study finds

Over 70% of Brits people who eat meat feel guilty, new study finds

Around 71 per cent of the UK population feels guilty about eating animal products, new research has found. The Vegan Society asked 2,000 non-vegans questions to help them understand the connection they make between animals and their food. This included carnivores, those who actively reduced their consumption of animal products, vegetarians, and pescatarians.

It found that 49 per cent of those surveyed felt guilty about “ever” eating meat. Another 22 per cent felt guilty “all” of the time.

The results also uncovered a generational difference in attitudes toward meat. The research found that 80 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 30 felt guilty. This compares to 59 per cent of people ages 50 to 65.

The results revealed a generation gap. For those aged 18 to 30, 80% said they had felt guilty about eating meat. For those aged 50 to 65, the figure was just 59%.

Interestingly, when asked, older respondents were more likely to say they were “a lot” animal lovers (68%) compared to younger respondents (61%). The results revealed that the UK remains a “nation of animal lovers”: Overall, 65% of the panel said they were “very” animal lovers, while 31% answered “somewhat”. Only 3.3% of the panellists said they had no interest in animals.

There were marked differences between respondents’ level of guilt for eating different animal products. When asked to select answers for each animal product as to whether they “ever felt guilty” about eating them:

  • Of the non-vegetarian respondents (1,837 people), only 31% said they did not feel guilty about eating meat.
  • Some also said they felt guilty about eating fish: half of these respondents selected “some” (39%) or “all” of the time (10%).
  • 10% of all respondents (2000) said they felt guilty “all the time” for consuming cow’s milk, while 29% selected “ever”. 61% said they “do not feel guilty.”
  • Eating eggs had the lowest level of guilt associated with it, with only 8% of the total panel admitting to feeling guilty “all the time” and 31% feeling guilty “some of the time”.

shame for eating meat

The study also found that people felt different levels of guilt depending on the animal, or “product,” that was eaten.

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Overall, people felt less guilty about eating eggs. Just eight per cent of those surveyed felt guilty “all” of the time, while 31 per cent felt the same way “some of the time.”

Milk consumption was also associated with a lower level of guilt. Of all respondents, 10 per cent said they felt guilty “all” of the time, while 29 per cent selected “some” times.

Campaign lead at The Vegan Society, Elena Orde, said: “No one wants to contribute to suffering but unfortunately most of us were raised to think of certain animals as ‘something’ rather than ‘someone’. Be AnimalKind is about helping us to reconnect with our sense of compassion and to learn how to live in alignment with our values. All animals deserve our love and respect.  Be AnimalKind creates a welcoming and non-judgemental space for everyone to consider how their actions impact the lives of all animals, not just the ones we share our home with.” 

Environmental impact of animal agriculture

To prevent climate change from worsening, meat and dairy consumption must be significantly reduced around the world. During the UN Climate Change Conference last year, eight countries announced they had pledged to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, a practice only possible by limiting livestock. The international coalition stated that reducing methane is the “most effective strategy to reduce global warming.”

Meat and dairy only provide the world with 18 per cent of its total calories, yet animal agriculture requires 83 per cent of the planet’s available farmland to produce. This practice not only harms livestock but also threatens hundreds of species that live in lands impacted by deforestation such as the Amazon.

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