The BBC News Magazine reported that more than 3,000 people have pledged to give up meat and other animal products for the month, with support from Veganuary. Reasons for making the pledge varied, with some people looking to detox and others aiming to shed weight after the Christmas holidays.
The Vegan Society reported a 40% increase in people signing up to trial a plant-based menu in the first two months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.
Singer Beyonce and her rapper husband, Jay-Z, went meat free for 22 days at the end of last year, explaining that they considered it part of “a spiritual and physical cleanse”. Top tennis star Venus Williams says that, for her, giving up meat has helped reduce the joint pain associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease from which she suffers. “I think it’s pretty well known that I’m a cheagan (a vegan who occasionally eats meat)”, she said. “I’m not perfect but I try.”
Luke Graham, a personal trainer from Cardiff, pledged to give up meat in January, partly due to ethics and health and partly as an experiment. “I need to be strong and in good shape for my job”, he said.
Director of the campaigning group Viva!, Juliet Gellatley, identifies a shift in men’s attitudes towards eating meat, with wealthy and powerful men including former US President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Oscar-winning film director James Cameron making public statements about their meat-free diets. “Any change is positive in my view”, said Gellatley. “It’s about opening hearts and minds.”