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REPORT: Twenty meat and dairy companies emit more greenhouse gas than Germany, Britain or France

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We need to reduce the number of food animals on the planet, incentivize different consumption models, and make sure companies are paying for the harms they are creating throughout the supply chain.

SOPHIE KEVANY: Twenty livestock companies are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than either Germany, Britain or France – and are receiving billions of dollars in financial backing to do so, according to a new report by environmental campaigners. Raising livestock contributes significantly to carbon emissions, with animal agriculture accounting for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific reports have found that rich countries need huge reductions in meat and dairy consumption to tackle the climate emergency.

Between 2015 and 2020, global meat and dairy companies received more than US$478bn in backing from 2,500 investment firms, banks, and pension funds, most of them based in North America or Europe, according to the Meat Atlas, which was compiled by Friends of the Earth and the European political foundation, Heinrich Böll Stiftung. With that level of financial support, the report estimates that meat production could increase by a further 40m tonnes by 2029, to hit 366m tonnes of meat a year…

Across the world, the report says, three-quarters of all agricultural land is used to raise animals or the crops to feed them. “In Brazil alone, 175m hectares is dedicated to raising cattle,” an area of land that is about equal to the “entire agricultural area of the European Union”…

The report also points to ongoing consolidation in the meat and dairy sector, with the biggest companies buying smaller ones and reducing competition. The effect risks squeezing out more sustainable food production models. “To keep up with this [level of animal protein production] industrial animal farming is on the rise and keeps pushing sustainable models out of the market,” the report says…

The recent interest shown by animal protein companies in meat alternatives and substitutes was not yet a solution, campaigners said… The bottom line, said Stanka Becheva, a food and agriculture campaigner working with Friends of the Earth, is that “we need to begin reducing the number of food animals on the planet and incentivise different consumption models.” More meat industry regulation is needed too, she said, “to make sure companies are paying for the harms they have created throughout the supply chain and to minimise further damage”. SOURCE…

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