SCIENCE DEBATES

The Great Vegan Debate - 20th July 2020

Researchers estimate that 2-10% of the European population have adopted a vegan or vegetarian diet. Is a vegan diet really better for the environment? What are the health benefits? Are there any negative consequences?


We are assembling a panel of experts to explain the facts behind the headlines. After a brief introduction by each speaker, you will have the opportunity to ask them your burning questions about the vegan diet. Register for this free event here.

Read our three speakers' profiles below.
 

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Professor Geoff Simm is Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh. His background is in agriculture and animal breeding, and Prof. Simm established and led for many years a research team working on livestock genetic improvement/sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources.  Prof. Simm has said that meat has many social benefits, and that the costs of livestock production “have perhaps been receiving far more attention recently than some of the benefits”. Prof. Simm says that “balancing the needs to feed our population well, to protect natural systems, to deal with the challenges of climate change are huge, huge challenges”.

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Heather Alberro is a PhD researcher and lecturer at Nottingham Trent University's Department of Politics and International Relations, where she is part of the 'Ethics, Ecology, Identity' research group. Heather’s PhD focuses on radical environmental activists’ behavioural motivations, ecological world-views, and visions of a more socio-ecologically harmonious future. Heather says “everything in my life has been grounded in and centred around my passion for the natural world and our animal counterparts, and today they’re under dire threat… Time is running out for us to learn to live harmoniously with our amazing co-evolutionary kin”. Heather is a writer and frequently contributes to The Conversation, where she has argued that people should choose to “go vegan because of mass exploitation of animals, not because eating them is wrong”.

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Darchite Kantelal is a Portuguese dietitian and sports nutritionist of Indian descent. As a practitioner, he has worked with a variety of patients as well as elite athletes with the aim of optimising their health and nutrition, and improving athletic performance. Darchite is an advocate of a whole foods plant based diet due to the benefits it can have on our health, environment and other living beings, but believes such a diet has to be planned carefully to be nutritionally balanced. Darchite is the author of Eat Well, Play Better – the ultimate guide to eating a healthier diet for performance in football – and strongly advocates the benefits of a plant-based diet through public speaking and media appearances in his homeland, Portugal.