The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

EMERGENCY CALL: Influencers called-on to steer public discourse on climate impact of animal agriculture

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Despite the sizeable linkages between the meat and dairy industry and global greenhouse gas emissions, public policy interventions have focused more on lower impact policies such as the elimination of single use plastic bags and incandescent light bulbs.

DAPHNE EWING-CHOW: Limited public awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture is considered to be a major obstacle to effective climate change policy interventions, with a growing number of organizations and environmentalists advocating for a global call to action to fill the “livestock policy vacuum”.

One Cape Town, South Africa-based nonprofit by the name of ‘Animal Agriculture and Climate Change’ has launched a global campaign and petition, calling on influential environmental activists to more aggressively use their platforms to draw public attention to the significant impact that the meat industry has had on global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and to support veganism as a solution to saving the planet…

Despite the sizeable linkages between the meat and dairy industry and global greenhouse gas emissions, public policy interventions have focused more on lower impact policies such as the elimination of single use plastic bags. According to Wynes and Nicholas (2017) eliminating meat for one year would save 145 times more carbon than eliminating single use plastic bags for the same period. Going plant based is also four times more effective than comprehensive recycling and eight times more impactful than switching from household incandescent light bulbs to light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs…

In the lead up to COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland, environmentalists have argued that livestock farming is not sufficiently integrated in the public policy agenda, with more than 50 animal protection, environmental and food justice NGOs producing a joint letter to Alok Sharma, President for COP26 to publicly recognize the environmental impact of animal agriculture at the upcoming conference…

Also to be presented at COP26 is the petition from nonprofit Animal Agriculture and Climate Change, which has already garnered more than 190,000 signatures at the time of writing and is seeking to cross the 200,000 mark by November 2021. The petition calls on eight climate change influencers with outstanding green credentials to shift the conversation in the right direction within public discourse: Pope Francis, Prince William, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sir Richard Branson, Greta Thunberg, Leonardo Di Caprio, Naomi Klein, and Bill Nye…

Marda de Wet, Founder of Animal Agriculture and Climate Change, believes that each of the eight influencers mentioned in her NGO’s petition have the power to sway the discussion. “We are being selective with whom we’re targeting for this campaign based on their climate change track records. Every one of them has incredible followings and each has used their platform to address climate change front and center, and for that, I commend them,” she says…

Julie Janovsky, Humane Society International’s vice president for farm animal welfare, echoes, “When it comes to the impacts of animal agriculture on climate change, we cannot continue to kick the can down the road… the COP26 climate change conference offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to take action”…

The call to action comes some fifteen years after UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization reported that the meat and dairy industry accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — more than cars, heavy goods vehicles, aviation and ships combined. Since then, a number of studies have argued that this is a drastically under-reported estimate.

In 2018, an intensive five-year study by Oxford University and Agroscope, reported in Science, revealed that the global meat and dairy industries are accountable for 60 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agriculture sector.

A recent piece by Sailesh Rao, published in Journal of Ecological Society, presents the results of a Global Sensitivity Analysis to support his position that animal agriculture is responsible for 87% of greenhouse gas emissions, pointing to the cumulative impact of deforestation for animal farming and annual methane emissions produced by cattle, which “cause more incremental global warming than the annual CO2 emissions from all fossil fuel sources combined”. SOURCE…

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