Guest blog by David White, Assistant Retail Manager 

Veganism is on the rise and there are lots of different reasons why so many people are taking up the plant-based diet. A well-planned vegan diet can have some excellent health benefits. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol. As well as lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

The other ethological basis for the popularity of vegan diets have been well documented in the media and by animal welfare organisations alike. Preventing the cruelty, the slaughter, and exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many it remains the key factor in their decision not to eat meat or meat products. The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production contributes to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction across the globe. The heavy demand for animal feed means, farmers across the world are growing more and more crops for animal while in some nations of the world, humans go hungry.

Why vegan and not just vegetarian? The production of dairy products leads to the unnecessary killing of male calves, as well as the premature death of cows slaughtered when their milk production decreases. Similarly, in the egg industry, even 'free range' eggs, involve the killing of male chicks, sometimes when only just a day old, for no reason.

Whether you eat meat or not, I’m sure you can agree that there is a need to reduce intensive farming for meat and dairy products across the world. Increasing the amount of plant-based meals we eat on a regular basis will hopefully help to do this. Therefore, vegan foods have become an important part nature conservation.

So, here at RSPB Minsmere, we are doing our small bit for decreasing our reliance on animal products, by offering our new vegan menu options. Of course, many of our non vegan favourites remain available too. With something for everyone, at any time of day, vegans and non-vegans can enjoy a delicious meal knowing that no animals were harmed during the production of this meal (well except for the chef).