I was honoured this month to be asked to join international signatories on a letter outlining a Vision for Fair Farming. The letter will go to the prestigious science journal Nature, from the UK-based Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), and it's about the global necessity for us all to eat more plants and less meat if we’re going to address climate change.
CIWF is one of those groups that is breathtaking in its vision and commitment to get world food systems back on track. It is determined to help stop the environmental catastrophe and chronic animal abuse stemming from intensive production of meat and dairy. Its website states boldly that “Our mission is to end factory farming.”
Meat and dairy production today causes all kinds of misery – for the animals, but also for human health when consumers get convinced that animal-source foods should be at the centre of every meal plate. But what’s really galvanizing activists is the now-unequivocal evidence that intensive large-scale production of meat and dairy contributes heavily to greenhouse gases. If we as a global population are going to manage climate change, we need to move meat and cheese to the side of the plate – if not off it altogether.
That’s one of the reasons that CIWF created its Vision for Fair Food and Farming to press for sustainable and humane agriculture. I’m a signatory to that Vision, and humbled to be on a list of change-makers that includes Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Barbara Kingsolver, and environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki.
Thankfully, there is increasing information about the powerful effects of meat production on climate change. Those of us who are not able or ready to become vegetarian can really help by cutting back on animal-source foods – which can free up part of our food budgets to pay a little more for meat and dairy that has been raised organically or otherwise ecologically.
Here are some helpful resources to learn more about the connections between meat and dairy production and climate change:
- A newly published piece (article behind paywall; abstract is free) in Nature: The International Journal of Science exploring Options for Keeping the Food System Within Sustainable Limits (Springmann et al. Nature. 2018).
- The first multi-country, multilingual survey on public awareness about the relationship between climate change and consumption of meat and dairy, and a huge gap in climate change policy: Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector. Chatham House, UK.