Updated: Friday, 23rd August 2019 @ 11:02am

Manchester urged to go vegan as Veganuary movement gets ready to invade city

Manchester urged to go vegan as Veganuary movement gets ready to invade city

| By Oliver Dawnay

Last year, London's Tube system was hit by Veganuary, a charity initiative helping people to ‘go Vegan’ for January.

Almost £30,000 was raised for adverts to blitz the London Underground with illustrations of Eric the chick, signposted with the hashtag ‘Save Little Eric’, condoning the slaughtering of male chicks at one day old.

Veganuary protests the killing and consumption of animals and promotes the health, moral and environmental benefits of being vegan.

It has been remarkably successful since its launch, inspiring more than 125,000 people to go vegan for a month, with two-thirds of those who tried it last year remaining vegan.

After its unprecedented success, its founders have decided this year it is time to go global and adverts will be located on the Sydney Light Railway, the Boston Subway and also the Manchester Metrolink.

Simon Winch, the chief executive of the charity, has said that the campaign will replicate its bright and bold approach of last year but will also focus more on the benefits of veganism.

He told MM: "We’re very conscious that people try veganism for a number of different reasons, not just saving animals but aspects like the impact on climate change which is massive from having meat in your diet, or from the desire to improve one’s health and well-being or even for some people the spiritual reasons to become a vegan’ .

"This year our adverts will focus on the various different reasons that someone will want to try vegan. Some will feature the animal welfare issues such as the issue of ‘do we have the right to eat something that didn’t want to die?’, but we will also have ones that look at the environmental angle and ones that look at the health angle, such as the fact that the life expectancy of vegans is longer or the rate of heart disease for vegans is lower."

The main challenge for those who attempt Veganuary is undoubtedly sustaining the non-meat diet, and Winch conceded himself that it is ‘very hard’ for many people to do it, but stressed the importance of the time period which made it so successful last year.

He said: "It takes about three to four weeks to break a habit and that is why Veganuary is set up for a month. If you can do it for a month without support, you’re in a very good position to continue should you wish to."

Winch said that the group chose January because it is the time of New Year’s resolution, where people want to live in a way which is more consistent with their values and what they think is important in life.

Perhaps the most interesting advancement of the new campaign is its decision to move to Manchester, by far the smallest location of the campaign, but the decision to move to Manchester was not difficult according to Winch.

"If we look at the participants we already had in the UK, Manchester was really up there, and we know that Manchester has a really good vegan infrastructure already with lots of business and lots of availability," he said.  

"It has things like the Unicorn Grocery and Teatime Collective which offer really good vegan options out there.  We knew that if someone was looking to become vegan in Manchester it would be a lot easier than in other cities."

This year, Veganuary have set the target of 150,000 people across the globe to try becoming vegan and hope that as many of them as possible stay vegan after that.