World Vegan Day 2015! And TFI-Frightening Response to WHO Research

This week has been a HUGE week for vegans! First of all, the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s research showing the link between processed meats and cancer was made public, and it has been broadcasted widely.

Many tabloid newspaper articles about these recent findings have dimmed it down quite a bit, saying something along the lines of ‘there’s still no harm in a bacon sandwich’, so the best place to find the research is directly from WHO’s report on their website. To summarise, meat has been found to be carcinogenic to humans – with processed meat being classed as Group 1:

This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans. In other words, there is convincing evidence that the agent causes cancer. The evaluation is usually based on epidemiological studies showing the development of cancer in exposed humans.

In the case of processed meat, this classification is based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer. – World Health Organisation.

Through being broadly identified as just as harmful to health as smoking, this information about meat has obviously shocked many people, and one show’s approach that is difficult to comprehend is Friday’s edition of TFI Friday. You can view it here, although honestly, you probably won’t want to.

A UK show, TFI Friday is hosted by Chris Evans and has only just recently made a comeback. There is a section on the show called ‘Rumour Has It‘, and this was where the latest WHO research was brought into this week’s show. Chris says:

There has been a whisper this week, I can’t believe this, that bacon and sausages are as deadly as tobacco?!

He continues:

Regardless if this is true or not, and I don’t know if it is, this is terrible news for Britain’s butchers, and we love Britain’s butchers don’t we?!

Next was a completely baffling part of the show, where three butchers came sliding down a slide, each holding onto the carcass of a lamb or pig, and explaining their tips for preparing it for a meal. The butchers then competed to see who could shred twenty slices of ham the quickest, for which Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, who entered the show throwing out pork scratchings to the audience, awarded a ‘golden sausage’ award. First of all, the recent WHO investigation is based on scientific facts that have been backed up by hundreds of other studies that have taken place over the years, hardly a ‘rumour‘ or ‘whisper‘. For many people, this is old news that has just been brought into the limelight this week. Secondly, if something that has been on the news, radio, and in tabloid newspapers all week showing it has a direct link to cancer, is this really the correct way to go about it – using the carcasses of dead animals for entertainment and then essentially encouraging people to carry on eating them? I would have thought any research, no matter what it is, that could be crucial in finding a cause of cancer and saving lives deserves a little more respect than that…

I had quite enjoyed this show in the past, but by this point I just had a really eerie feeling about it. It was incredibly difficult to watch. Just when I thought things couldn’t get much worse, towards the end there was a competition for the cutest contestant out of those brought on stage. Puppies were brought on, then hedgehogs, and then a micro pig that was literally dragged across the floor. And when I say dragged I am by no means exaggerating – there was a lead attached to a collar around the pigs neck, and it was dragged forcefully across the floor. The pig looked terrified to be there amongst the loud audience, but the lady continued to pull the pig forwards. This, on the same show that had just shown pig carcasses coming down a slide, clutched onto by butchers? Is this what modern day ‘entertainment‘ has come to?

Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled by this episode of TFI Friday, and Channel 4’s decision to show it. The evidence found in the recent WHO studies could potentially save lives, animal and human, so it seems absurd that such news would be treated in this manner.

BUT putting this negativity to one side, although this was a matter that I felt needed to be addressed, I will finish by wishing everyone a huge Happy World Vegan Day! November is vegan month, so anyone that is considering ditching animal products, especially in light of this news, now is the time to do it.

Wishing you a happy & compassionate day!

Thinking of going vegan? Check out The Vegan Society for more information:



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