Carbon footprint of vegan Christmas dinners less than half that of meat dinners

Humane Society International (HSI), has released figures today, revealing the greenhouse gas emissions of a turkey Christmas dinner compared to a vegan Christmas dinner.

A typical turkey Christmas dinner has more than double the greenhouse gas emissions attached to it. The charity released the information to encourage people to reconsider the impact that their Christmas meal as on the environment, not to mention the animal welfare concerns with a meat-based Christmas dinner.

Dr Harwatt, a research fellow at Harvard University and sustainable food policy advisor for HSI, calculated the amount of CO2 emitted by the production of a turkey dinner with the trimmings. Dr Harwatt found that a shocking 23.5kg of CO2e is emitted from a turkey, with roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, pigs in blankets, meat stuffing and meat gravy for a family of six.

This figure of 23.5kg of CO2e is equivalent to 78.5 miles in a UK petrol car. In comparison, a nut roast for six people with roast potatoes cooked in vegetable oil, vegan pigs in blankets, sage and onion stuffing and vegetable gravy reveals a figure on only 9.5kg of CO2e – equivalent to 31.6 miles in a petrol car.

Dr Harwatt also calculated that if 85 per cent of the UK’s population ate a plant-based Christmas dinner rather than a meat version, 131 million kg of CO2e would be saved (equivalent to 438 million miles in a petrol car).

Dr Harwatt said: “Shifting our consumption from animal-srouced to plant-sourced foods is essential to help meet a range of environmental and health goals – there’s never a bad time to make the switch.

“Any time of the year is a good opportunity to reduce our environmental impacts. This analysis shows that even changing one meal can have a meaningful impact – in terms of both reducing our contribution to climate change, and reducing the number of farmed animals in the food system.”

Eating a meat-free Christmas dinner not only drastically reduces your carbon footprint, but also saves animals lives. Animals are factory farmed to keep up with the demand of food throughout the year, with Christmas being a peak time for food production.

If everyone in the UK ate a vegan Christmas dinner, 125,000 pigs and 2 million turkeys would be saved.

Claire Bass, HSI executive director, commented: “More Brits than ever will be sitting down to a veggie feast for Christmas this year, and the number of options on offer in shops and supermarkets shows that demand is booming.

“Seeing the conditions that some of these birds live and die in on intensive factory farms is pushing more and more people to give peas a chance!”


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