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Vegans warn of meat-eating consequences

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

It wasn’t the rare glimpse of sunny weather in downtown Vancouver that convinced a half-dozen women to shed their clothes Monday.

Instead, demonstrators for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) felt compelled to go au naturel and slather their skin in blue body paint on Earth Day all in the name of veganism.

“(Going vegan) is the cheapest, easiest and the most effective step anyone can take to reduce our impact on the environment,” demonstrator Emily Lavender said as passing cars and buses honked horns at her topless group carrying pro-vegan signs on the corner of Granville and West Georgia Street.

The 24-year-old, who adopted the animal-free diet after watching a video featuring former Beatle Paul McCartney speaking out against slaughter houses, pointed to a 2010 United Nations report warning of the ecological effects of the meat industry.

According to the UN resource panel study, rising affluence has shifted diets worldwide towards dairy and livestock. This means increased pressure on producing crops to feed animals, which in turn requires more freshwater consumption and greater use of fertilizers and pesticides.

Lavender said walking around naked is the least she can do if it means getting people talking about the environment.

Passerby Deborah Baggs, who spent about five minutes snapping photos of the PETA members, said the demonstration wasn’t enough to sway her.

“I love meat too much. I don’t want to lose weight,” the Vancouver woman said, adding she still applauds the demonstrators’ dedication.

“They have lots of guts.”


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