Historically, eating meat has been closely tied to masculinity and manliness, regardless of the health dangers that are associated with animal products. Non-profit No Meat May decided to commission a survey to uncover just how widespread this connection is. The poll out of Australia found that 73 percent of men would rather cut their life expectancy by 10 years than remove meat from their diets. The poll followed up with participants, finding that 47 percent saw consuming meat as explicitly a ‘masculine undertaking.’

“What was perhaps most shocking, was that 73 percent of male respondents said they’d rather reduce their life expectancy by up to 10 years than give up eating meat, with three-quarters of men not convinced of the health benefits of a meat-free diet, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary,” No Meat May co-founder Ryan Alexander said.

The survey also questioned participants about the environment, asking about views on climate change and the environmental dangers that come from animal farming. When asked about the environment, 81 percent responded that they actively care about the subject. However, 79 percent also replied that they wouldn’t stop eating meat to help the planet, revealing that the stigma behind meat-eating may be keeping people from realizing the nutritional and environmental harm that animal farming presents.

“Significant research over many years has shown that eating meat and other animal products increases the risk of developing certain cancers, heart disease, obesity, and having a reduced life expectancy, not to mention being one of the biggest contributors to global warming and the destruction of our environment,” Alexander said. “Yet our survey alarmingly shows that Australian men are either not aware of any of these facts, don’t believe them, or simply don’t care.”

No Meat May Looks Convince People Worldwide to Ditch Meat

The Australian non-profit is hoping to change the stigma around meat-eating, and persuade people across the globe that eating plant-based is healthier for the planet and personal health. The organization challenged people around the world to eliminate meat for 31 days to promote health and environmental reasons. The non-profit will provide tools and support to any participants who want to test out a plant-based diet. No Meat May is encouraged by the rapidly rising popularity of plant-based lifestyles but realizes from its survey that its work is far from over, especially against misinformed masculinity.

“We reckon it’s time to step up and reject outdated and damaging gender stereotypes around food,” Alexander’s said. “It’s never been easier to give up meat and whether you’re giving up for a month, or looking to make a long-term change, No Meat May is here to provide that safe stepping-stone, evidence-based information, and a tonne of food inspiration to help you along the way.”

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