Why you should be eating less meat
31 Days, 31 Ways to an eco-friendly New Year
Day 4 - Eat less meat
This is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact.
Greenpeace International say in countries like the UK, we need to be eating 70% less meat and dairy by 2030 to prevent climate breakdown. The vast majority of meat bought in the UK is produced in intensive factory farms. Many of these are owned by one company who supply supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as fast food chains like KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s. This industrial meat system requires a huge amount of land to feed billions of farmed animals.
So, what can you do?
If you love meat, simply cutting down the number of times you eat meat a week has a positive effect. And when you do buy meat, avoid “industrial meat” - the type you buy in the supermarket or at fast food restaurants, and try to find locally-produced meat. If you live in a rural or semi-rural location, this should be easy. And, delivery services such as The Ethical Butcher, Abel & Cole and Riverford all offer British meat which is sustainably-farmed and delivered to your doorstep. Put simply, buy better, buy less.
Or, you could go Vegan.
Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. Head to their page for lots of inspiration and recipes to kickstart your Vegan life.
How industrial meat farming impacts the planet
Deforestation and forest fires – Industrial meat farming is the single biggest cause of deforestation in Brazil. Forest fires are also deliberately set to clear the land for cattle or to grow animal feed.
Climate change – carbon emissions from the meat industry are enormous.
It’s responsible for human rights abuses and land-grabbing.
It’s killing wildlife - Clearing forests, destroying habitats and using toxic pesticides to grow animal food is leading to a rapid loss of biodiversity.
It’s increasing the risk of future pandemics like coronavirus – Three quarters of new diseases affecting humans come from animals. Deforestation is bringing humans and animals into ever closer contact increasing the risk of diseases jumping from one to the other. Not to mention industrial meat farms, where huge numbers of animals are crammed into small spaces, again increasing the risk of disease.
It’s an inefficient way to eat – if everyone ate a plant-based diet, we’d need 75% less farmland than we use today. It takes less land to grow food directly for humans than to feed animals for humans to eat.
Charlie & Colette
Image by Ria Sopala from Pixabay.