The NHS has come under fire as vegan activists have criticised its decision to serve patients deer killed by Forestry England and encouraged them to consider serving healthy plant-based meals instead.
Vegan activists have criticised the NHS for serving deer killed by Forestry England to patients.
The East Lancashire Hospital Trust has been serving dishes containing the meat for around a year, with the animals killed some 13 miles away in the Forest of Boland and Grizedale.
More trusts have signed up to the scheme, with around 20 expected to follow suit by the end of the year.
The meals, including Lancashire venison and mash casserole, have reportedly been popular with patients.
According to Tim Radcliffe, now the NHS’s National Net Zero Food Programme manager, who set up the programme, the hospital wants to ‘give patients and staff the very best food [they] can’.
He said the meat is ‘low in fat and has good nutrients to aid recovery and promote good patient health’, and added it is ‘a cost neutral option in comparison to other meats’.
‘Deer don’t want to die’
But animal rights charity PETA has blasted the move, highlighting ethical and health concerns around eating animals, and called on the NHS to provide plant-based meals instead.
Its Director of Vegan Corporate projects, Dawn Carr, said: “No animal – whether a gentle deer killed under the guise of a “cull” or a pig or cow hung up and shot with a bolt gun – wants to die to be served up in a stew or as a sandwich filler.
“Animals suffer tremendously for meat, and serving it in hospitals must be phased out immediately, as it’s like giving out cigarettes at a lung cancer benefit.
“Heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes – the UK’s top killers – are all linked to diets heavy in the saturated fat found in animal-derived foods.
“So dumping animal flesh in favour of healthy, hearty, and humane vegetables, pulses, and tofu would be great news for NHS patients and staff.
“Serving vegan meals would also be a long-term cost-effective solution and better for the environment – just what the doctor ordered!”
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