The UK bakery chain Greggs was offering free samples of its vegan sausage roll to early morning punters last week. A friend picking up a coffee declined the offer: "Didn't seem right." He is not with the zeitgeist on this one. The number of people identifying as vegan or vegetarian is rising; the rolls are a bestseller; and the moral high ground increasingly seems to be held by those with plant-based diets. Join them, we're told, and we'll save our health and Earth at the same time. Will we? The jury is still out on this one. Take the environment. It isn't a certainty that a vast increase in plant-based diets would solve our environmental problems. The carbon cost of industrial cropping is huge: by some estimates, up to 20% of the world's CO2 output is a result of ploughing. And not all methods of animal rearing are equal. Grain-fed animals, raised in desertified feed lots, are environmentally harmful. But any farmer will tell you that pasture-raised ruminants can help to store carb...

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