The animal agriculture industry is a major driver of global human-made greenhouse gas emissions. Alamy Stock Photo
The facts are clear: over 88 billion land animals are reared, bred and slaughtered for food every year. The animal agriculture industry is responsible for at least 14.5% to 16.5% of the world’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, on par with emissions from all airplanes, trains , automobiles and ships from all over the world. By 2030, the livestock sector is expected to account for almost half of the global emissions budget for 1.5 Â° C. In addition to being the source of significant greenhouse gases, the livestock production sector is also the largest human-made user of land, with systems for the production of meat, eggs , dairy and aquaculture products using about 83% of the world’s agricultural land while providing only 37% of the world’s protein. and 18% calories. Animal agriculture is also a major factor in deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, depletion of water resources and pollution.
The need to reduce the environmental impacts of our food has never been more urgent. And yet, although intensive animal agriculture is one of the major contributors to climate change, it is largely overlooked by countries around the world in climate change mitigation strategies and commitments. If we are to avert a climate catastrophe, it is imperative that world leaders recognize and act to eliminate all major drivers of climate change, including factory farming. Transforming our global food system into one that further encourages plant-based diets is one of the most effective climate mitigation actions we can take. Scientists agree, including the 107 experts who prepared a report for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the more than 11,000 signatories from 153 countries to a recent article on the emergency. climate change in the journal BioScience, that a global shift towards more plants Consumption-based diets will be essential in the fight against climate change.
World leaders are preparing for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which will take place in Glasgow in November. The annual conference provides a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity and help reduce the number of suffering animals on factory farms. Humane Society International, along with other global animal welfare and environmental organizations, business partners and celebrities, is urging these leaders to take meaningful action in animal agriculture. We ask them to stop ignoring #TheCowInTheRoom.
The #TheCowInTheRoom campaign is a multi-faceted campaign to ensure that animal agriculture is high on the agenda for COP26 – and beyond – and that mitigation policies and solutions are discussed. We sent a letter signed by over 50 animal welfare, environmental and food justice organizations around the world, as well as a letter signed by 19 of the world’s biggest celebrities who champion plant-based diets, including Martin Freeman, Moby, Billie Eilish, Joaquin Phoenix, Alan Cumming, Alicia Silverstone, Leona Lewis, Lily Cole and Stephen Fry â to conference chair, Rt. Hon. Deputy for Alok Sharma. In collaboration with the global food awareness organization ProVeg, we have also launched a public petition in which the public can show their support for this important demand.
The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the climate crisis is about to worsen if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the the future of the planet depends on the choices humanity makes today. Reducing our consumption of animal products is one of the best ways to help animals and reduce our climate footprint.
But individual action must absolutely be supported by policy change at local, national and multinational levels. Building a sustainable and resilient future requires comprehensive policy reform, financial incentives and broad collaboration between governments, policy makers, financial institutions, businesses, communities and other stakeholders in the food system. Fortunately, we are already starting to see things change.
Earlier this year, France announced that its climate and resilience bill will include meat reduction as part of a plan to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions. Around the world, institutions ranging from schools and universities to factories and major food service providers are setting goals to reduce their use of animal products. In the past 18 months alone, HSI has secured new commitments from more than 50 institutions around the world to transition from animal-based meals to plant-based offerings, impacting millions of meals per year. HSI has also planned and delivered more than 70 virtual herbal trainings, cooking demonstrations and roundtables on herbal cooking, reaching over 5,000 people, including upscale restaurant chefs and institutional cooks from across the country. whole world. Formal recognition at COP26 of the need for efforts like these would encourage world leaders to engage in vital strategies to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products to help achieve the Agreement’s goal. from Paris.
You can be a voice for change by signing our petition. You can also learn more about the impact of intensive animal farming on our planet and animal life around the world.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.