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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 13:44 GMT
Biting point
Carol Thatcher and vegetables
The week links: sausages are up against the vegans this week

This week it's British Sausage Week. But hold on, before you put on the bangers, it's also National Vegan Week at the same time. How do the rival events compare?

sausages
British Sausage Week

This year's sausage-fest pin-up is Carol Thatcher, who is lending her hearty, no-nonsense image to a week of sausage-related promotions. As the promotion promises, "she doesn't mince her words".

carrots

National Vegan Week

The Vegan Society, which promotes a diet without any animal products, promises a "week of national celebration dedicated to cruelty-free living". It doesn't have a "pin up" but famous vegans include Julia Sawalha and Moby.

The week's main event is the search for Britain's Supreme Sausage Sarnie, in which enthusiasts are invited to suggest their most creative and succulent combinations. Mind you, the week is being backed by the British Pig Executive, and the entry form small print says the meat must be "predominantly pork". The theme for the World Vegan Day on Wednesday is the environment - with the ecological arguments for veganism set out in its Eating the Earth booklet. Tasty facts include "humans use much less land and water if they eat crops directly rather than through the intermediary of an animal".

Image-conscious after the attacks on unhealthy school food, there is also an emphasis on plugging bangers for schools - such as promoting a "Healthy Balanced Sausage Meal". For profile raising, vegans are being encouraged to challenge meat-eaters to a football match, with the vegans dressed as vegetables and their opponents as animals.

In terms of getting out of the frying pan and into the shires, there are sausage-tasting events, when the public are offered a chance to savour more than 400 different varieties - from an industry with sales last year worth more than 500m. In terms of what's on the menu, award-winning vegan products include fishless fish cakes, hemp milk, organic ale and vegan hair conditioner. Guinness is off - as the vegans say it uses fish in its production process.

No promotional week is complete without quirky facts. Sausages are most likely to be eaten on a Saturday - and the world's longest sausage was 35 miles long, made in a previous sausage week. The Vegan Society says there are "plenty of alternatives to meat and dairy produce" including "vegetarian sausages". Its current concern, however, is to get soya milk on to planes after the security clampdown in liquids in hand luggage.


Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

What a coincidence! It was vegetarian sausages that finally turned me after 14 years of eating no meat. At a sausage and mash dinner at home, my mass-produced tofu sausages looked dry, uniform and unappealing when compared with the organic, locally-made pork sausages being eaten with great gusto by my partner and friends. I didn't succumb that night, but the die had been cast...
Patsy, Sheffield

Haven't the vegans already admitted defeat by imitating the sausage? Only a total buffoon would proffer a pale imitation of his enemy's prime weapon.
Neil, Devizes, UK

Choosing fuel for your body is just like choosing fuel for cars....there are choices which you can make ; vegan or non-vegan, petrol or diesel. All of these choices have an impact on this planet and the life thereon. So whichever one you do choose, it should be the one that gives the planet the best opportunity of supporting life for generations to come.
Richard, Bedford

It's Bangers and Mash, not Mash and Bangers. So I think that makes it pretty clear what the British public thinks is more exciting out of sausages and vegetables.
Thomas, Birmingham

Being a vegan is a real delight; with creativity, everything can be tasty! We just need to add the right kind of supplements and/or vitamins (and I stay open to other people's food of choice).
SLZ, Paris

I think I'll go and buy some vegan sausages, then I can celebrate both at the same time.
Karen, London, UK

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