Queen guitarist Brian May is giving up animal products for the first month of 2020 as part of a New Year’s resolution known as “Veganuary.”
The rock star is documenting his dietary journey on social media and is calling on other people to join him if they feel inspired. He said he felt moved to pursue Veganuary after watching friends embrace a vegan diet and learning about the moral and environmental consequences of animal products.
“My reasons?” he wrote on Instagram. “(1) To lessen the suffering of animals. (2) To lessen the load on our groaning planet. (3) For my health. And... as an animal campaigner, it has been bothering me for a while that I still eat animal-derived food, that has caused indignity and pain to a non-human animal. So I will try to move along the line.”
The first couple of days went “Ok,” May wrote. He’s learning what he can and can’t eat, relying on the support of accommodating restaurants and his family, and craves some of his favorite animal products like eggs and prawns.
Still, May is enjoying his plant-based meals.
“There are SO many great vegetables in the world — artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, roasted parsnips, new potatoes, and a rocket and tomato salad, perked up with olive oil and balsamic vinegar from dear old Luciano Pavarotti’s home town,” he wrote in one post.
Veganuary is more than a stunt — it’s a full-fledged advocacy organization. Founded in 2014, Veganuary encourages people to try a plant-based diet and reduce their consumption of animal products.
More than 250,000 people took the Veganuary pledge in 2019, the organization notes, and hundreds of restaurants, stores, and brands supported the cause.
In recent years, the vegan diet has become more accessible and mainstream. Brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have allowed meat lovers to find convincing alternatives to beef and chicken. Celebrities such as Beyoncé and Leonardo DiCaprio have championed plant-based diets, and documentaries such as The Game Changers and What the Health have made compelling cases for abandoning animal products.
The plant-based movement is driven by environmental, animal welfare, and health concerns.
Animal agriculture is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. It also causes deforestation, habitat destruction, desertification, and pollution. Scientists have urged people to adopt a “planetary health diet” that reduces meat consumption as a way to protect the planet and limit the threat of climate change.
Animals raised in factory farm conditions, meanwhile, essentially live in a constant state of physical and mental pain. Many people are beginning to question why animals such as cows, chickens, and pigs aren’t afforded the same basic dignity as dogs and cats.
Finally, animal products, particularly those raised with hormones and antibiotics, have been linked to a range of health problems, such as different kinds of cancer and heart disease.
For May, the celebrated rock icon, these reasons were enough to try out Veganuary. He’s not pressuring his fans to join the quest, but he would love support.
“I will be looking at your comments to see how your [Veganuary] went, those of you good folks who are joining me,” he wrote on Instagram. “If you’re not, don’t worry. We all have our paths to tread. I wasn’t ready to do this last year, but was so impressed by the success of almost all my SAVE-ME team that I determined to try it out this year.”