Is Rishi Sunak going vegan? The UK government responds to £1 million challenge | Totally Vegan Buzz
UK PM Rishi Sunak appoints vegan as head of green policy
Image: @rishisunakmp / Instagram

Sunak was challenged to go vegan in exchange for a £1 million donation to his chosen charity

GenV launched a campaign that called for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to go vegan for a month in exchange for a £1 million donation to his chosen charity.

On December 31, the vegan organization published an open letter to the PM highlighting the environmental impact of animal agriculture and the potential benefits of plant-based diets for British farmers and public health.

On January 31, the Government sent an official reply in the form of a letter from MP Mark Spencer, who is from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs and is also a beef, lamb and egg farmer.

The government’s response

In response to Genv’s inquiry, Spencer did not accept or reject the offer, but rather stated that they were already taking all necessary steps to ensure greater environmental sustainability.

 “When it would be so easy – as easy as going vegan – for Rishi Sunak to take meaningful steps that would give the UK a real shot at meeting its climate commitments, I’m at a loss as to why our Prime Minister won’t do so,” GenV CEO Naomi Hallum said after receiving the letter.

“Making vague promises and 25-year plans are just stonewalling tactics that those of us who are genuinely concerned about climate change and animal suffering are growing increasingly tired of. As Greta Thunberg would say, it’s just more ‘blah, blah, blah’ in lieu of meaningful and decisive action.”

GenV’s vegan campaign

In an open letter addressed to Sunak last year, Hallum highlighted the UK’s role in depleting the natural environment, citing a study from the Natural History Museum. She pointed out the immense ethical costs associated with animal farming, with 1.2 billion land animals killed for meat annually.

The campaign resulted in advertisements placed on the London Underground and activists from GenV and Animal Rebellion visited Westminster. They called on the Prime Minister to accept the challenge and urged him to consider their offer of a more sustainable and promising future.

 “You are THE globally recognized representative of the British government, and your influence could be the difference between ecological stability and climate chaos, between life and death for suffering animals and, fundamentally, between a kind future and a cold, cruel and apathetic one,” Animal Rebellion and GenV said in a joint statement.

‘Hold our world leaders accountable’

This isn’t the first time GenV has called on famous personalities to adopt plant-based diets. The group challenged Pope Francis in 2019 to go vegan for Lent in exchange for a cash payment to charity. The next year, GenV extended a similar challenge to President Donald Trump, which it called ‘Make America Healthy Again’.

Commenting on GenV’s decision to challenge Sunak , Hallum told presenter Rachel Johnson, the sister of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “It’s important to hold our world leaders accountable for the promises they’re making.”

But not only did Sunak “sidestep” Genv’s challenge, he has also previously been vocal in his support for the livestock industry.

During the Tory leadership race last year he tweeted: “My constituency [Richmond in North Yorkshire] is home to hundreds of beef and lamb farmers and I am committed to supporting the fantastic industry they represent.

“People’s food choices are their own. I would lead a government that champions our livestock farmers at home and abroad.”

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