Imagine an event that celebrates Scotland’s diverse crop and horticultural farmers rather than the sad spectacle of animal exploitation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) is calling on the iconic Royal Highland Show to embrace a new identity as the Royal Highland Grow, a plant-centred event that would promote kindness to animals, sustainable agriculture, and hardworking Scottish plant-based farmers.

Research by the University of Oxford emphasises the urgent need to transform our agricultural system. Growing vegetables, cereals or plant protein in the UK has a lower carbon footprint and requires less land and water than raising and killing animals for food. Animal agriculture is a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and pollution.

In the UK, raising animals for food is responsible for around 47% of our methane emissions. Instead of growing crops to feed farmed animals – an inefficient and wasteful process – we could grow food for humans to eat. If everyone ate plant-based, global farmland use could be reduced by 75%. The Royal Highland Grow could help mitigate the climate catastrophe by embracing vegan farming, or we can all fiddle while the planet burns.

Many of the activities at the Royal Highland Show subject animals to stress, fear, and mistreatment. More than 6,500 non-consenting animals are transported from all over Scotland and then marched, tied up, pulled around, and roughly handled. Terrified sheep are pinned down and shorn as fast as possible, birds of prey are tethered by their legs, bulls are paraded around by ropes attached to painful nose rings, and horses are forced to compete in dangerous showjumping.

Instead, a fun-filled vegan event with family-friendly activities could offer something for everyone – without the animal suffering. A mushroom-themed scavenger hunt, a vegan haggis–eating contest, a turnip beauty pageant (we’re not sure about that one, either), or a potato-sculpting competition are just a few ideas. There are endless ways to celebrate the power of plants!

Everyone needs farmers, but farmers don’t need to confine animals for meat, eggs, or dairy. The Royal Highland Grow could highlight crops such as kelp, strawberries, and oats to demonstrate the region’s plant-based farming versatility. Celebrating locally-produced vegan fare would not only support farmers but also inspire attendees to explore plant-based eating. This transition would also align with the City of Edinburgh Council’s endorsement of the Plant Based Treaty, which emphasises the importance of vegan farming.

Peta urges this year’s attendees – and the rest of the Scottish public – to go vegan and encourage the Royal Highland Show to do the same. After all, the switch to the Royal Highland Grow better fits the fair minds and big hearts of the Scottish people. Let’s embrace this positive change and help cultivate a compassionate and sustainable future for all. There’s no need to wait: visit today for a free vegan starter kit.

Yvonne Taylor is vice president of corporate projects at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She is based in Edinburgh.