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Veganuary for the Frogs

Many of you will be aware of the phenomenon – Veganuary, launched in 2014. A very successful campaign to promote veganism, this year it is expected that 2 million people will take the pledge to go plant based for the entire month of January.

Veganism more so than vegetarianism, has long been seen as a radical and restrictive diet, difficult to undertake for many, with a potential for people to miss key nutrients. Now with the popularity of Veganuary and the mass uptake of this diet and lifestyle, the transition to a diet with no animal products is easier than ever. Most supermarkets and local shops now stock huge ranges of plant based products, and restaurants have quickly addressed their needs as well. New products are continually under development backed by strong nutritional evidence, that meet all the requirements of a healthy diet.

Plant based or vegan diets historically were championed by those who disagreed with the consumption of meat on an ethical level, and this is still a core motivator. However, the benefits of a diet devoid of animal products has been demonstrated to have many health benefits as well as promoting favourable outcomes for the planet.

What does all this have to do with frogs? Apart from the fact that some species of amphibians are eaten in large quantities across the globe, and ethically, many would look to reduce that consumption. Large scale amphibian farming can also present many risks to wild populations, through disease, risk of invasive species establishing and pollution to natural habitats. However, there are also other less obvious links.

A larger and more indirect impact of reducing global meat consumption is the reduction of pressure on the environment. Large scale agriculture has many negative impacts, as one of the main drivers of deforestation, directly for ranching or to grow the crops that feed farmed animals.

The climate crisis is also exacerbated by animal agriculture, through many ways, including methane produced by cattle – land clearance for grazing and feed crops and water consumption. Animal proteins are less efficient to produce compared to plant based options, with many healthy alternatives available. One exciting finding highlighted this month is that the invasive gorse bush, could provide a sustainable source of protein in the UK.

Deforestation for agriculture and livestock, Menabe, Madagascar. Photo by Olaf Zerbock, USAID.

Helping to combat all these factors will have a dramatic and direct impact on the survival chances of many species across the planet. Going plant based, or even just reducing your consumption of animal products can have a snow ball effect, you only have to look at the difference we have all experienced in our shopping habits over the last decade.

We can all help lend our voices, wallets and shopping baskets to the cause, and help protect frogs, their habitats and the plants and animals which also call them home. All of this, whilst also combating the climate crisis and helping to protect our fragile planet.

Ignition in Greater Manchester Choosing A Climate

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