Soccer Star Defender Phil Neville Goes Vegetarian—And He’s Never Felt Better

Former England International and Champions League Winner Credits Plant-Based Meals With Improving His Health

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Manchester, England – When Manchester United legend and current first team coach Phil Neville takes to the field in this summer’s Class of ’92 match against Salford City, his energy may be even higher than it was when he helped lead the Red Devils to the Premier League trophy six times. And as he reveals in a brand-new video interview with PETA U.K., it’s because he went vegetarian.

In the interview, available here, Neville credits his wife’s influence with prompting the switch. “My wife’s been vegetarian for about four, five years now,” he says. “I promised my wife that I would try it for two weeks. … I started to feel healthier, leaner. I started to feel great!” And he knows that athletes can get all the nutrition they need—including protein—from plant-based foods such as quinoa, seeds, soy protein, and nuts. “It’s made me feel better,” he says. “And I read studies—I hope it makes me live longer.”

Neville recognizes that he is part of a growing movement toward plant-based diets as society learns more about the health risks associated with meat-rich diets, the damage that animal agriculture has on the environment, and the suffering endured by animals raised and killed for their flesh. “I think people are understanding the benefits, not just for yourself but for … the environment,” he says. “2.5 million animals a day are being slaughtered. That is a damning statistic that we need to do something about.” And it’s easier than a lot of people think. As Neville says, “If everyone can even just do one day of not eating meat, then that … will mean that we live in a better world.”

Neville joins a growing list of top “no-meat athletes,” including Sports Illustrated “Olympian of the Century” Carl Lewis, top ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, tennis legend Chris Evert, football player Ricky Williams, Ultimate Fighting champ Mac Danzig, boxing champion Keith Holmes, and ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind