Meating climate commitments: are butchers on their way out?

Cramers Butchers in Holloway

Cramers Butchers in Holloway - Credit: Harvey Dorset

Veganism won’t spell the end for butchers, but climate action and supermarket competition might, a butcher has told the Islington Gazette.

Paul Langley, owner of Cramers Butchers in Holloway, said that a reduction in sales in recent years was down to “people shopping in supermarkets because it's more convenient”.

A study, carried out by researchers Ipsos MORI, revealed in 2016 that there were over half a million vegans in the UK, up from 150,000 in 2006.

And a 2021 report by The Vegan Society showed 20 percent of British people had actively reduced their meat consumption since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite this, Mr Langley said that a reduction in sales over the past ten years had “nothing to do with vegetarianism, veganism, nothing like that”.

“Its only people jumping on the bandwagon of veganism, then they go past a café and smell a smoked bacon sandwich and give in to it,” he said.

Surrounding COP26 there has been a renewed drive for climate action, especially the reduction of carbon emissions and methane emissions.  

An independent review called The National Food Strategy, commissioned by the government, has said Britain must reduce its meat consumption by 30pc by 2032 to meet "health, climate and nature commitments" - as a means of reducing methane emissions in particular. 

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Meanwhile, Mr Langley said that the environmental impacts of the meat industry “might decrease [meat consumption] a little bit, people will eat meat, but less often."

“We’ve had a lot of our customers that come in and say we’re not eating as much because of [carbon emissions], but they’ll come back because they’re a regular customer,” he said.

Cramers Butchers on York Way, which has been running for over 100 years, tries to source its meat in a sustainable way.

Mr Langley said: “99 percent of our meat is British, and we try to keep that up."

He hopes his butchers demonstrates how, through local sourcing and reducing carbon emissions, there is a place for the meat industry in the future.

Find out more about Cramers Butchers via their instagram account at www.instagram.com/cramersbutchers