Not Only Liberals: Vegan Conservatives Group Formed To Promote Plant-Based Diets Among Tories

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Launched to mark the start of Veganuary this year, Vegan Conservatives is the latest caucus in the U.K. Conservative Party aiming to promote plant-based diets for health, animal welfare and sustainability. Made up of Tory members, councillors and activists, the new group has already received the support of ten MPs who have pledged to participate in Veganuary and go completely plant-based for 31 days. 

While veganism is typically associated with liberal politics, a new caucus of the Conservative Party in the U.K. has proven otherwise, making its core aim to promote plant-based lifestyles within the Party “for the benefit of human health, animal welfare and the environment”. To mark the launch of the Vegan Conservatives group, ten Tory MPs have decided to join the Veganuary pledge, many of them doing so for the first time. 

“I’m looking forward to taking part in Veganuary to learn more about a plant-based diet. We know how important lifestyle changes are to tackling climate change and I’m hoping to learn some new culinary skills too,” said James Daly, MP for Bury North. 

Read: Interview with Veganuary co-founder Matthew Glover on why 2021 is the easiest year to go vegan

I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years because of animal welfare concerns during the meat production process and its impact on our global environment, contributing an estimated 15% of worldwide carbon emissions as well as destroying natural habitats.

Henry Smith MP

Dr. Ben Spencer, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, admitted that it will be “difficult to go full vegan,” he noted that “even small lifestyle changes can make a big difference” and will be participating in the movement as part of his learning experience. 

Crawley MP Henry Smith, on the other hand, has been practicing a meatless diet for decades and is also supporting the cause and Vegan Conservatives. 

“I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years because of animal welfare concerns during the meat production process and its impact on our global environment, contributing an estimated 15% of worldwide carbon emissions as well as destroying natural habitats,” Smith said in a statement. “This January I’m going a step further by trying a vegan diet.” 

Other participating Conservative MPs include John Baron, Mark Garnier, Christian Wakeford, Andrea Jenkyns, Matthew Offord, Dean Russell and Tracey Crouch – although a press release did make a disclaimer that Crouch will only be participating in Veganuary one day per week. 

Moving towards a plant-based food system is critical if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, reduce pandemic risk, and protect animals. The modern vegan movement was born here in the U.K., and as Vegan Conservatives we want to build on, and expand, this proud British tradition.

Andrew Boff, Spokesperson, Vegan Conservatives

What the new caucus aims to do is to encourage more Tories to move towards a plant-based diet in order to help alleviate the strain that meat and dairy-laden meals are having on our planet, to protect animals, and also reduce the chances of another zoonotic pandemic outbreak. The group also seeks to work with the government to introduce new policies. 

Despite the Conservative Party being a staunch supporter of the cruel “sport” of hunting and have long been supported by wealthy fox-hunting Tory donors, spokesperson for the new caucus Andrew Boff says that “at the heart of Conservatism is a desire to conserve and protect our environment.” 

“Moving towards a plant-based food system is critical if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, reduce pandemic risk, and protect animals. The modern vegan movement was born here in the U.K., and as Vegan Conservatives we want to build on, and expand, this proud British tradition,” Boff added.


Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.


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