Vegetarian UK

Vegetarian UK

Instructions: 

Read about vegetarianism in the UK and then do the three exercises.

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How important is meat in your diet? Could you happily live without ever eating any meat? In the UK vegetarianism is becoming more and more popular.

Vegetarianism is increasing in the UK as more and more British people are deciding not to eat meat and animal products. According to the Vegetarian Society, 2000 people are giving up meat and ‘going veggie’ in Britain every week. There’s even a ‘National Vegetarian Week’ organised every year to encourage people to try a meat-free lifestyle.

Vegetarians and vegans

In 1989 a poll indicated that 3% of the UK’s population was vegetarian. A more recent poll estimated that 5.7% of the population were vegetarian. In numbers this means there are over 3 million vegetarians in the UK today and vegetarians (people who don’t eat meat), and vegans (people who don’t eat or use  any animal products) are becoming increasingly common in UK culture. Visit a British supermarket and you will see a wide range of vegetarian ingredients and prepared meals on the shelves including vegetarian sausages, vegan cheese (it doesn’t contain milk!) and meat-free burgers.

A healthy diet

So why are Brits cutting out meat from their diets? Many vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat or animal products for ethical reasons. They are unhappy about the bad treatment of the animals and the effects of meat and fish production on the environment. Worries about food safety (for example BSE or ‘mad cow disease’ as it is commonly known) cause many people to stop eating meat. Others choose to change their diet in this way to improve their general health. According to the UK organisation, the Vegetarian Society, a meat-free diet could help reduce the risk of certain cancers and the possibility of heart disease, as well as other health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Organic farming

Another rising trend in the UK’s food culture is related to how our food is produced. Many people are rejecting GM (genetically modified) food and intensive farming procedures. They want their food to be organically farmed. What exactly does ‘organic’ mean? Organic food is produced in a more 'natural' way. Organic farmers use no, or very few, chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers. Organic farming isn’t only concerned with plant crops, animals can also be farmed organically. Organic meat is produced without the use of drugs and antibiotics. Organically farmed animals also have better living conditions, for example more space and more nutritious food.

Organic food

According to the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organisation for organic food and farming, three out of every four households in the UK now buy some types of organic food. Some people buy organic meat, fruit and vegetables from farmers’ markets, where local farmers sell their products directly to the consumer. Others have a box of organic mixed fruit and vegetables delivered to their homes each week. Many people buy organic produce in their local supermarket. As with vegetarianism, people choose organic foods for health reasons or because of concern for the environment. Although it’s often more expensive, fans of organic food say it tastes much better!

Total votes: 736

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Discussion

Do you think the world would be a better place if people ate less meat? How much meat do you eat in your diet?

Comments

Crystallized's picture
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I can't go on living without meat. It's just so nice and tasty, especially when it's made by my mom. I think my whole family could not stand a week w/o it.

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51 users have voted.
dzeni's picture
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I don`t eat meat very much, just meatballs and chicken. Recently I watched one tv show about food. There were talked about that amounts of meat will shrink and then won`t be enough meat for all. Then scientists show one solution for that problem: people will eat insects! I was disgusted. I hope that will never happen.
I am sure that the world will be better place if people eat less meat. Meat isn`t the only food. Fruits, vegetables and cereals are nutrient and delicious too and what is the most important - healthy.

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53 users have voted.
dzeni's picture
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Hi Jonathan! I still watched that video and when I saw that how people eat it as if it were something tasty I was surprised. Maybe it isn`t too disgusting but I will never try to eat insects. Anyway thanks on this interesting video. Greetings from Montenegro.

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43 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi dzeni! I was surprised too but I know that insects are actually part of a normal diet in some countries. I suppose what’s strange or normal is different from country to country. In the UK, for example, some people eat rabbit, but when I tell some of my friends from other countries that, they're really shocked! By the way, have you seen this reading text about weird food around the world? It's new on here. Hope you like it :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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42 users have voted.
dzeni's picture
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Hi Jonathan!
Yes, I have just seen it. When I read it I realize that tastes are different and food which is normal for me is weird for others and vice versa. Text is quite interesting and I really like it. Thanks on it!

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28 users have voted.
Kittylove's picture
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I am sorry too that we are killing animals to live but think of that:

People will always kill them and eat it to be healty,you eat or you don't eat...

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56 users have voted.
beyourself15rock's picture
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I would like to be a veggie, but i don't like vegetables a lot .So i'll wait some more time :)
I really hate ,that we need to kill animals for us ,But i don't think it would be better for everyone

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56 users have voted.
AFK2000's picture
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Im not a vegetarian and i like meat,its good for you but people today have no limits and instead of meat being healthy they eat too much and become fat.

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60 users have voted.
cranberry's picture
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I don`t eat a lot of meat, becouse i don`t like it very much and i think it`s sad that we are eating animals like there is no other food in the world. Eating meat once in a while is ok, and eating other animal products (like milk and eggs) is ok becouse it dosen`t cause the animal pain. Eating a lot of fruit and veggies is very important for our health. thats mu opinion

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64 users have voted.

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