The leaders of 50 NGOs have written to Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, as President of the COP26 climate conference being held in Glasgow this November, urging him to broker an agreement that publically recognises the damage that animal agriculture has on the environment.
This single industry sector is responsible for an estimated 14.5-16.5% of human-induced greenhouse emissions, roughly the same as the entire transport sector, globally. Animal agriculture is the largest user of all land, taking up a massive 83% of the world’s farmland. Providing only 37% of our protein need and 18% of our calorific needs, this is also incredibly inefficient. Animal agriculture drives deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, pollution, and the exhaustion of water resources.
Reducing the consumption, and therefore production, of meat and dairy has been agreed by scientists to be one of the most effective actions we can take in the race to save the planet. An unprecedented, 11000+ scientists have endorsed a paper in the journal Bioscience that summarises the evidence to support this.
The NGOs that have written to Sharma, which include the UK’s RSPCA and Humane Society, hope that formal recognition at COP26 will encourage world leaders to commit to meat and dairy consumption reduction strategies to meet the Paris Agreement’s below 2°C target. Currently, just a few exemplary cities and governments have taken steps to legislate for, and promote, a popular shift towards plant-based diets.