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Red meat is bad, but don’t switch to chicken or fish

Eating red meat increases the risk of premature death says a major new report by the Harvard School of Public Health.

This latest study showing that red meat consumption is a health hazard will likely be welcomed by opponents of factory farming. After all, anything that potentially reduces the demand for meat should be good news for animal welfare, the environment and human health. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Like many studies showing the health risks associated with eating red meat, this one recommends switching to alternatives such as fish or poultry – options that are fraught with environmental, sustainability and animal welfare problems.

VHS launched an Eat Less Chicken project specifically to counter suggestions that chicken is a more acceptable choice than red meat. In terms of pound-for-pound animal suffering, eating poultry is among the worst options, as billions of chickens are inhumanely raised and slaughtered to provide relatively small amounts of meat. While poultry production is not as environmentally damaging as, say, intensive pig farming it still has considerable negative impacts.

If substantial numbers of people were to start replacing red meat with fish, it would likely further devastate global fish stocks, three quarters of which are already either fully or over exploited.

The simple truth is that moving toward a plant-based diet is the best way to reduce our impact on the environment, improve our health and prevent animal suffering.

For more information see our Eat Less Meat webpage.

2 replies on “Red meat is bad, but don’t switch to chicken or fish”

I just wanted to make a note that recently the scientists came back from that myth of red meat being bad. It actually has never been proven. With everything, you have to consume a balanced diet. No matter what you eat, never eat to much of it. not even to much of fruit!
Enjoy food in reasonable amounts. As long as it is produced organicly with no chemicals, you will be fine.


I’ve been testing a vegan diet now for over 6 months and I just love it. I would recommend it to others, especially people who have high cholesterol, heart disease in the family, or who want to prevent cancer (or its recurrence). Personally, my osteoarthritis has hugely improved on this diet. If you go vegan for a day, you’ve saved lives. If you go vegan for a few days, you’ve saved more lives. Do what you can, and then someday it might become your food preference. I do recommend you do your research on essential nutrients first, and I recommend Vegan for Life, written by registered dieticians, as the most detailed source of info on this subject for non-dieticians.

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