But why are you doing this? Motivations for the Meat Pledge Experiment

About three weeks ago, our plucky participants began a pledge period of less or no meat for 4 weeks. Why did they do it? In this blog entry we’re looking at the reasons some of these volunteers decided to change their dietary habits – and part of their lifestyle.
Andrew attributes part of his decision to the influence of his wife:
Why reduce our meat consumption? Well, even though I’m the one who does most of the cooking, it’s my wife who can take some of the credit – she is in general more healthy and environmentally aware than am I. She often says that she could easily become vegetarian, not least because of all the discussion around climate change and animal welfare. I’ve been wondering if it would be hard for me to not eat any meat; especially since my bag lunches are much more dull!

As an athlete, Nicholas is concerned with his health, and not just in terms of how it affects his sports performance:
I would like to pay more attention to the quality of the food I eat. When recording my regular diet I realized that I ate much more meat than I expected. And often I have felt bloated from overeating. Since I exercise a lot, the calories get burned off, so how much I ate has never seemed important. But now I would like to respect my body and give it more of what it really needs and less of what it doesn’t.

And as scientists, Jacob and Jake have a fascination with measuring the direct relation between meat and nitrogen use:
I know that I can eat a lot, but I didn’t realize that I eat that much meat and grain. By recording my food habits I found out that I have a pretty high N footprint (average of 30 kg), higher than the average of several European countries. This has given me a big motivation to reduce my N-footprint. (Jacob)

It’s crazy, how much even one serving of beef influences the overall N-print for a week! Making vegetarian dishes definitely demands more creativity, which is nice, and the choices in supermarkets and restaurants is wide, so it’s no problem for me to cut down on meat. I would like to be a bit more conscious about my meat intake. (Jake)


It seems that issues of health, environment, and animal welfare are all arguments for cutting down on meat. If this is the case, why isn’t a reduction of meat consumption more widespread? Instead of asking why they are doing this, we might ask in general why anyone is NOT doing this. Seems pretty clear that modern societies need to cut down on meat per capita – or does it?
Write your opinions here on Meaty Matters, or to sandyandersen@gmail.com, and we’ll be sure to discuss them!

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