Lewis Hamilton caused a Twitter frenzy after proclaiming a vegan diet would help tackle environmental damage and ‘pollution coming from cows’.
The Mercedes Formula 1 driver made a collection of excuses for his move to plant-based foods, including suggesting ‘the cruelty [is] horrible’, that he wanted to live a ‘healthier life’ and be able to ‘pre-empt’ disease or illness.
Despite his decision to drop red meat about two years ago, the 32-year-old recently made the pledge to cut fish from his pescatarian diet and pursue a lifestyle free of animal products.
He said: “As the human race, what we are doing to the world – the pollution, in terms of emissions of global-warming gases, coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible.
Lewis Hamilton going vegan while he drives an f1 car is the most ironic thing ever 😂— George Banthorp (@biggeorge99)
Lewis Hamilton going vegan while he drives an f1 car is the most ironic thing ever \uD83D\uDE02— George Banthorp (@biggeorge99) September 18, 2017
“They say it is more than what we produce with our flights and our cars, which is kind of crazy to think. The cruelty is horrible and I do not necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.
“Every person I have met who has gone vegan says it is the best decision they have ever made.”
Mr Hamilton said it was the content of a documentary which spurred his decision, after watching ‘meat clogging up your arteries’.
“I can continue to decide to eat that stuff and take that risk,” he added.
“But when you get a disease or illness like that, you want to make a change, so I am trying to pre-empt that. I think it is the right direction and by letting people who are following me know, maybe that will encourage a couple of people to do the same thing.”
The racing star quickly came under scrutiny from farmers on social media with many criticising his decision as a hypocritical move.
Abi Reader, Welsh dairy farmer and co-founder of #CowsOnTour, warned people needed to be ‘sure of the facts’ but called on the industry to ‘absolutely believe in what [we] do’.
She said: “These populist comments which are circulating throughout the world that meat, dairy and eggs are ruining the planet are completely irrational. Many vegans are forced to supplement their diets because they are unable to get the right nutrients from crops alone.
Bit late to this but Lewis Hamilton has gone vegan to ’save the planet’.— Jack Prentice (@JPrentice8)
Driven an F1 car since 2007, flies all over the world weekly pic.twitter.com/QNZalIaCOr
“As farmers selling our produce we need to be more aware of changing consumer tastes and trends and ready to reassure. I would like to see our industry less in a position of defence over issues like this and more on the front foot.”
James Robinson, fifth general dairy farmer from Kendal, added: “Without a doubt he is a hypocrite.
“To say he is becoming a vegan to save the planet is a very hollow statement coming from a competitor in the world most environmentally unfriendly global sport.
“If he truly wanted to reduce co2 I suggest he ditches the private jet and processes his own F1 fuel from all the veggies he expects to be eating. What a numpty.”
Lewis Hamilton is going vegan 🤔. Don’t suppose he’s considered the amount of pollution he’s discharged into the atmosphere every race.— Rob. (@ROBH4H)
Lewis Hamilton is going vegan \uD83E\uDD14. Don't suppose he's considered the amount of pollution he's discharged into the atmosphere every race.— Rob. (@ROBH4H) September 19, 2017
Lewis Hamilton has become vegan to help save the planet despite driving an F1 car and having his own private jet 🤔— Dave Harris (@daveharris14)
Lewis Hamilton has become vegan to help save the planet despite driving an F1 car and having his own private jet \uD83E\uDD14— Dave Harris (@daveharris14) September 19, 2017
Lewis Hamilton is going vegan to help save the planet. As someone pointed out, he drives cars for a living!! Uuummmm.......— liz parker (@lizzyp29)
Lewis Hamilton is going vegan to help save the planet. As someone pointed out, he drives cars for a living!! Uuummmm.......— liz parker (@lizzyp29) September 19, 2017
Lewis Hamilton going vegan to save the planet is like an Amazon lumberjack switching to recycled toilet paper. #wasteoftime— Flash Gordon (@ChrisCollier79)