SCOTTISH TV personality Gail Porter has issued a Peta-backed plea to the Girl Guides to introduce a new “vegan interest” badge to encourage children to do their bit for animals and the environment.

The Edinburgh-born comedian and former model has sent a letter to Angela Salt, managing director of Girlguiding, ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of The Girl today.

Porter has not always “seen eye to eye” with the Guides after she was kicked out when she was younger. But she said that this campaign was an opportunity for the organisation to modernise and change her perception that it is “a little old-fashioned”.

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Porter noted that children are already increasingly heading towards plant-based diets, as “over 50% of children either already consider themselves vegan or vegetarian or would like to be”.

The appeal – which is backed by animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) – would see the organisation introduce a badge explicitly related to veganism, which Porter said would be the “logical next step” as the Guides already have a Conscious Consumer and Animal Lover badge.

She suggested the badge could be awarded to members who show kindness to animals by cooking animal-free meals or eating vegan for a month, or even for growing vegetables.

Her letter reads: “When the Guide Association was first created over 100 years ago with the aim of inspiring girls to make a positive difference, few people realised just how much of an impact we can have simply by replacing meat, eggs, and dairy with plant-based foods.

“But now, the facts are clear as day. According to researchers at the University of Oxford, eating vegan is the "single biggest way" to reduce our environmental impact.”

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A 2020 Oxford University study found that cutting meat and dairy from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by as much as 73%, and would have a “far bigger” impact than cutting down on flights or transitioning to an electric vehicle.

According to Peta, going vegan can also save the lives of up to 200 animals per year.

Closing her letter, Porter said: “Your mission is about making a difference together – so what do you say? Shall we put our differences aside and do just that?”