Animal Aid

As charity completes its 1,000-mile climate change march…Christian Aid attacked over global warming policy

Posted 1 October 2007

On Tuesday (October 2nd), Animal Aid was present for the final mile of Christian Aid's Cut the Carbon march in London, which ended with a rally at St Paul's Cathedral. Animal Aid highlighted the inconsistency at the heart of Christian Aid's work.

While the two organisations agree that tackling climate change is of paramount importance, Animal Aid points out that livestock farming - an activity encouraged, supported and promoted by Christian Aid through its animal gift schemes - is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and an issue that Christian Aid has deliberately left out of its literature. At the rally, Animal Aid will be parading a stark banner carrying the message that livestock farming causes death, poverty and environmental destruction. A shocking image will also be featured on the banner - symbolising the fate of so many of Africa’s farmed animals who have perished by the million, as a result of recent drought, floods, disease and starvation.

Alongside Animal Aid, a number of other animal protection and sustainable living groups joined the rally to press home to Christian Aid the essential message about animal farming. As highlighted in a recent major report (1) by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), livestock farming contributes 18% of all man-made greenhouse gases - a larger share than the entire global transport sector. This was clearly recognised by the Heathrow climate camp where the catering was 100% plant-based.

The FAO report also details the inefficiencies of using animals as a source of nutrients for people rather than devoting agricultural resources (land, labour, water) to producing food for people to consume directly. ‘In simple numeric terms,’ the report states, ‘livestock actually detract more from total food supply than they provide’.

This reality prompted the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, to become vegetarian two years ago. He told The Guardian newspaper (June 16, 2007): ‘In Mozambique, I saw very clearly what an inefficient converter beasts were of grain into protein.’

Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, has written to CA’s Director, Dr Daleep Mukarji, calling on him to channel Christian Aid’s resources away from animal gift schemes and concentrate on the many initiatives that aid people, animals and the planet. (2) These include tree planting, the production of green manures, water management schemes, and healthcare, veterinary and educational initiatives. (3)

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘Christian Aid's emotive advertising has featured photographs of dead, bloated goats in barren landscapes. Cattle losses in regions such as Northern Kenya are as high as 93%. Yet Christian Aid encourages the public to give money so that more animals can be provided for communities that cannot support them. The number of hoofed animals in sub-Saharan Africa increased from around 275 million in 1961 to more than 655 million by 2005. In that same period, the levels of poverty and environmental destruction increased alarmingly. By providing more animals, Christian Aid will produce more human misery, more land degradation and ensure that more animals will die from starvation, thirst and exhaustion.’

Notes to Editors

  • The Christian Aid 1,000-mile Cut the Carbon march and rallies were launched July 14 in Belfast. October 2 was the finale at the London Stock Exchange and a service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • Last year the national campaign organisation triggered a major media debate following publication of an article in a national newspaper by the Animal Aid director, criticising animal gift schemes to poorer countries.
  • Full background
  • Animal farming generates 37% of methane, and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions - two key greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide is 296 times more potent.
  • More information from Andrew Tyler at 01732 364 546. After hours: 07918 083774

References

  • Livestock’s Long Shadow, Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2006
  • Andrew Tyler’s letter to Dr Daleep Mukarji
  • Animal Aid, over the past two years, has raised money for an irrigation scheme and a tree-planting project linked to a vegetarian orphanage in the Rift Valley province of Kenya.

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