Animal Aid

Kick the meat habit on World Environment Day

Posted 5 June 2008

June 5th is UN World Environment Day and this year’s slogan is 'Kick the habit! Towards a low carbon economy'. The focus will be on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Given the findings of a recent UN report stating that animal farming is responsible for 18 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions - more than road and air travel combined - kicking the meat habit will go a long way to reducing your carbon footprint.

Cutting out animal products can actually reduce the carbon impact of an individual's diet by 60 per cent. This is because animal farming is very energy intensive and produces large amounts of the greenhouse gases - methane and nitrous oxide, both from manure management and the animals' own gaseous emissions. Farm supplies, animal feed and farmed animals are transported great distances, producing more global warming gases. Heat and electricity used by slaughterhouses and farms further increase energy demand. The energy required to produce crops to feed to farmed animals must also be taken into account. And it should be remembered that a plant-based diet uses less than a quarter of the land required for a meat-based diet as food grown is fed directly to people.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nation's Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change, has urged: 'Please eat less meat - meat is a very carbon intensive commodity'. He added 'this is something that the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it.'

The message is clear: if you care about the planet, it isn't just a question of saving energy and reducing car use. The less we rely upon animal products, the greater the chance of reducing our carbon footprint.

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