Meaty debate expected by PETA

A call for a one-day-a-week ‘Vegetarian Day’ in Byron Bay is sure to be the focus of some meaty debate over mid-morning soy lattes and chai teas in cafes around the town.

People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) last week urged Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham to follow the European example of Ghent in Belgium and proclaim one day a week as ‘Vegetarian Day’.

“Greening our plates is the best way to fight climate change,” PETA said.

“We hope that Byron Bay will do its part to fight against climate change by changing people’s diets.”

In a letter to Cr Barham, PETA said they had chosen Byron Bay because it was already a vegetarian haven, boasting several restaurants and natural food stores.

It said there were dozens of other restaurants which also offered meat-free options and menus as well as the Byron Bay Community Market, the Bangalow Market and The Channon Market which offered more animal-friendly natural foods and healthy meals than any vegan could dream of.

In addition to leading to the daily suffering of billions of animals who were raised and killed for food, eating meat, eggs and dairy products was the number one cause of climate change and was a major contributor to resource depletion, pollution and even world hunger.

“Byron Bay has a golden opportunity to lead the charge for a greener Australia,” PETA director of campaigns Jason Baker said.

Cr Barham said she did not have the powers to declare a ‘Vegetarian Day’.

 A vegetarian herself from the age of 15, she said she was rather annoyed with PETA for releasing a press release to the media, without talking to her first.

“I can’t declare anything like this, but I would certainly support an education campaign by PETA to inform people about the issues,” she said.

“There needs to be education at a grass-roots level explaining to people the benefits of being a vegetarian.”

Cr Barham said she had become a vegetarian as a teenager because of the health benefits and the issues of cruelty to animals.

Vegetarian Julia Barlow from Byron Bay said she thought the call for the ‘Vegetarian Day’ was a great idea.

“I chose not to eat red meat because of the cruelty to animals,” she said.

Meat eater Tamlyn Dalton of Ocean Shores said that people would eat what they wanted to even if one day a week was declared vegetarian.

“I’ve heard that PETA has done some dangerous and extreme things in their campaigns and I wouldn’t want to support them. I love animals – they’re delicious,” he said, tongue in cheek.

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