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16th May, 2022

The Meat-free McCartneys: A Lasting Legacy

The Vegetarian Society’s ‘National Vegetarian Week’ has just begun, and to mark it people across the world will be experimenting with meat-free or plant-based meals. Whether it be environmental concerns, health-reasons, animal welfare or just a general curiosity – everyone has their reasons for moving away from meat or ditching the dairy. 

Paul and Linda McCartney’s decision to go meat-free came about in 1975 as they watched lambs playing outside their farm window, while sat eating lamb chops. The family has been veggie ever since and each of them have contributed to vegetarianism in their own way. 

“It is because we like animals, it’s an ethical thing, not really about health." – Paul McCartney (2007)


Paul and Linda pictured in 1976, one year after going meat-free



For many years Paul has been a prominent and vocal advocate for animal welfare and vegetarianism. Since going veggie in 1975, the Beatles star has been involved in many campaigns, most notably those with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,) and in 2011 he was the narrator of the organisation’s documentary ‘Glass Walls’. The video, complete with graphic clips of the meat industry, aimed to show the public what happens behind slaughterhouse doors. In the decade since its release, meat-free diets have become more common-place, and many people partially attribute this to organisations like PETA. 

In 1995 Paul and Linda appeared in the TV show, ‘The Simpsons’, where they shared their support of vegetarianism with a mainstream audience. The episode, entitled ‘Lisa the Vegetarian,’ received universal acclaim from critics of the time, and remains a favourite episode of many fans. 

Paul and Linda agreed to get involved with the episode under the condition that Lisa would stay veggie for the remainder of the show and, almost thirty years later, she still is. Paul and Linda also became patrons of The Vegetarian Society in the same year. 

“Lisa is a really effective way of getting a sophisticated and adult message across.” - Yeardley Smith, voice of Lisa Simpson.


 The Vegetarian Society’s marketing material for National Vegetarian Week 2022

Read more here:



When the McCartneys went vegetarian in 1975, meat-free options were scarce. Linda began experimenting in the kitchen, making veggie alternatives for her family and friends. In 1991 she launched ‘Linda McCartney Foods’, now considered one of the world’s most successful celebrity brands.

Before launching her meat-free food brand, the culinary pioneer released a best-selling cookbook entitled ‘Linda McCartney’s Home Cooking’, which brought revolutionary vegetarian recipes into the kitchens of over 40,000 people. 

“Being vegetarian and vegan is so easy now and so rewarding; and Linda was one of the pioneers who led to this.” – Paul McCartney


Mary and Stella

Keeping Linda’s legacy alive and well today is daughter Mary, who has published two of her own meat-free cookbooks. Mary has also presented several recipe tutorials for the Food Network Kitchen app, following in her mum’s footsteps by making meat-free recipes accessible to more people. 

Bringing Linda’s animal-loving legacy into the fashion world is daughter Stella, whose luxury fashion brand is completely cruelty-free. Stella has never used leather, feathers, fur, or skin in any of her products, and has always been dedicated to creating clothes that do not harm animals or the environment. 


 Stella McCartney’s Beverly Hills store


Together with their dad, Mary and Stella launched the ‘Meat Free Monday’ campaign in 2009, encouraging people to cut meat from their diet for just one day a week. Research by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School found this campaign to be very successful, with 30% of those who took part for five years or more cutting meat out of their diet altogether. 


“If every person in Great Britain skipped meat for one day, it would reduce our carbon footprint by more than if every car was taken off the road for a whole day!” – Paul McCartney

 Meat-free Mondays logo

Read more here:

The Fab4 Cafe

It’s clear that the McCartney family have contributed so much to vegetarianism and sustainability, inspiring many and making meat-free lifestyles more accessible to those who choose to live without animal products. 

In the year that Paul McCartney turns 80 years old, The Beatles Story will be supporting this valuable cause through our Liverpool-based Fab4 Cafes, offering 20% discounts off meat-free sandwiches, plant-based cakes and milk alternatives between the 16th and 22nd May 2022. 

UPDATE Summer 2022: We're delighted to announce that our Fab4 Cafes are offering 20% discounts off meat-free sandwiches, plant-based cakes and milk alternatives every Monday in support of the 'Meat Free Monday' campaign.



Mason Griffiths

Mason is the Content and PR Manager at The Beatles Story.

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