EU Meat and Dairy Consumption Must Be Halved to Protect the Environment

Animal agriculture is the leading source of climate change, and Greenpeace have said that consumption of these products must be halved by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and to keep in line with the Paris climate agreement.

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director, Marco Contiero, said: “EU agricultural policies have been driving us towards an environmental cliff edge. Industrial animal farming is a major source of carbons emissions, water and air pollution, and causes major health problems like antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is “one of the biggest threats to public health,” according to the European Food Safety Authority and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“Our governments must ensure that the upcoming reform of farm rules accelerates a shift to ecological vegetable farming and less, but sustainable, animal farming, while withdrawing support from intensive animal production.”

If the emissions caused by animal agriculture aren’t dealt with, it will account for 52 per cent of global greenhouse gases in the future, 70 per cent of which will come from the meat and dairy industry. It is already accountable for up to 17 per cent of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, and a major source of pollution.

Former convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Pete Smith, said: “The need to reduce demand for livestock products is now a scientifically mainstream view. Only a significant decrease in meat and milk consumption will allow us to deliver a food system fit for the future – for the benefit of humans and the planet as a whole.

Producing the same mix of foods as we consume now, even if we were to do so more sustainably, cannot deliver the reduction in environmental impacts we need to protect the planet for our children and their children.”


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