Date: 01 August 2019
Author: The Vegan Society Aotearoa

A report by the Ministry of Health just released, Sustainability and the Health Sector, is all about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the health sector. It notes on page 16 that there are actions recommended to promote food sustainability, the first of which is to reduce meat and dairy intake. Not only is the production of red meat in particular very resource intensive, the overconsumption of said meat is detrimental to health, with processed meats being recognised as carcinogenic by the WHO. There are also reports coming out suggesting that cow’s milk may also contain carcinogens. With these in mind, it is hard to continue to defend eating meat and dairy.

The report goes onto suggest that more hospital meals are prepared using more plant-based foods. The Vegan Society Aotearoa would like to congratulate the Ministry of Health on recognising the value of plant-based foods both in health and sustainability. “We are delighted that this government agency is committed to the addressing the issue of climate change and the population’s health by asking staff and the public to reduce their meat and dairy intake. We fully support this initiative and are keen to help in any way we can,” said Claire Insley, media spokesperson for the Society. “If hospitals can start growing their own fruits and vegetables within their grounds or on the building’s roofs, this would help immensely to curb resource wastage and combat climate change by providing more green spaces, especially within our cities”.

Supporting organic and spray free produce will also support patient’s health by reducing the amount of pesticides they eat. Locally grown produce is also favoured, as is reducing single use plastics. More in house catering will help hospitals become more sustainable as well as improve patient health by increasing the amount of fresh food eaten.

It is really good to see these changes being adopted and we hope other public sectors will also follow suit” Insley continues. “We need strong leadership from all government agencies to ensure that New Zealand meets it’s Paris Agreement targets. We applaud the Ministry of Health for this insightful initiative and look forward to seeing more sectors joining them”.

The Vegan Society Aotearoa New Zealand is here to facilitate a vegan New Zealand and we offer support, advice and information to all those wishing to increase their plant-based options. You do not have to be ill to go vegan, prevention is better than cure and if you need some help, why not try our 21 day easy vegan challenge. More information at Sign on and find out how you can improve your health, reduce your carbon footprint and help save the planet simply by choosing different things to eat.