A vegan was outraged to learn a breast cancer charity was handing out free sausages at an event, arguing they ‘might as well give everyone a cigarette’.
The Pink Star Walk fundraiser by Breast Cancer Foundation NZ attracted around 450 people when it was held in Queenstown, New Zealand last Sunday (October 13).
Bridget Murphy was among the crowd supporting the charity, but when she heard the Breast Cancer Foundation encouraging attendees to enjoy one of the free sausages they were handing out Murphy thought they were joking.
The vegan told the Otago Daily Times sausages are ‘the worst possible meat you could eat’ because processed meat has been linked to cancer.
Recalling the situation, Murphy said:
When the announcer said, ‘Go for your walk, ladies, and come back and have a sausage’, I just burst out laughing in front of my whole group.
I said, ‘Surely he’s joking’. It just horrified me that they had a stage there to educate people, and they just didn’t do their job.
The New Zealander approached the foundation’s representative at the event but the woman was ‘nothing but defensive’, Murphy claimed.
The representative reportedly justified the sausages by saying, ‘The World Health Organisation (WHO) says you can have a little bit of processed food’, to which Murphy responded, ‘What, so we can get a little bit of cancer?’
It’s absolute rubbish. You might as well give everyone a cigarette to go with their sausage.
I feel it’s so bad for you and none of us are waking up to it, and unless we do we are going to be sick and diseased and our healthcare system just cannot keep up.
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Queenstown! One week to go! We can't wait to walk alongside you at the Pink Star Walk on Sunday 13th at 11am in the Botanic Gardens 🎗️ If you haven't got your tickets yet, it's not too late! Head to www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz to get signed up or www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz/queenstown for event information. Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland – you're up next!
According to the Otago Daily Times, Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s research and communications manager, Adele Gautier, hit back at Murphy’s criticisms, saying sausages can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet as the bowel cancer risk is associated with how much processed meat you consume on a daily basis.
It’s a fine idea to have an occasional sausage sizzle – we don’t see a problem.
The facts are, yes, the WHO does say that processed meat can cause bowel cancer, and that risk is to do with how much you eat on a daily basis.
Obviously, most of us aren’t doing sausage sizzles every day. We recommend a balanced diet.
Murphy pointed out the contradictory stance of the charity, who warn about processed meat and the risk of cancer on their own website.
Citing a report from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) about recommendations for cancer prevention, they write:
Limit your intake of red meat (beef, pork and lamb – no more than 300 gms per week) and avoid processed meat (meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting or chemicals).
‘Sausage sizzles’ and BBQs are traditional in New Zealand but the vegan argued locals don’t have to continue doing it ‘just because it’s something we’ve always done’.
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Christchurch! Have you got your tickets to the Pink Star Walk yet? Join us from 4:15pm in North Hagley Park this Saturday and walk for the ones you love. Tickets are available at www.pinkstarwalk.co.nz until midday on Friday or come and see us at the registration tent on the day.
Murphy denied being extreme about the issue, commenting:
So is cancer extreme[?]
Gautier noted participants at the fundraiser were offered apples and gluten-free chips as well as sausages, saying eating an apple and a sausage would have been an example of balance.
The research and communications manager added managing weight is paramount as obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.