Almost half of Australians still associate eating meat with ‘manliness’ and 73% of Australian men surveyed would rather die younger than give up meat according to a study commissioned by No Meat May.
The study has found that meat-eating and masculinity remain inextricably linked to the Australian psyche with experts warning it could make it difficult for men to feel comfortable exploring a healthier and more environmentally-sound diet.
No Meat May is expecting a record year of participation for its non-for-profit event and the recent study has looked into one of the main barriers for entry.
“What was perhaps most shocking, was that 73% of male respondents said they’d rather reduce their life expectancy by up to ten years than give up eating meat, with three quarters of men not convinced of the health benefits of a meat-free diet, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary,” No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander says.
“Significant research over many years has shown that eating meat and other animal products increases the risk of developing certain cancers, heart disease, obesity and having a reduced life expectancy, not to mention being one of the biggest contributors to global warming and the destruction of our environment. Yet our survey alarmingly shows that Australian men are either not aware of any of these facts, don’t believe them or simply don’t care.”
Given the results, the organisation is targeting men who prefer to identify with masculine qualities.
“Up until 2013, I was a heavy meat eater and as an Australian man I grew up with the same media and community messages that real men clogged their arteries with meaty saturated fat and should enjoy nothing more than guzzling a baby animal leg down at meal-time,” Alexander explains.
“Australian men are still being fed a lie that meat eating makes them more masculine, when in reality, what’s more masculine than protecting the planet, sparing innocent lives and ensuring you live a long and healthy life for the people you love?”
No Meat May challenges people around the world to eliminate meat form their diets for 31 days for health, environmental and social reasons. It gives participants support, tools and an inclusive community to test a meat-free or plant-based lifestyle for the month.
This year 100,00 people are expected to take part in the campaign yet 90% of participants in the past have been women.
“We reckon it’s time to step up and reject outdated and damaging gender stereotypes around food. It’s never been easier to give up meat and whether you’re giving up for a month, or looking to make a long-term change, No Meat May is here to provide that safe stepping-stone, evidence-based information and a tonne of food inspiration to help you along the way,” Alexander concludes.