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

There’s one big subject our leaders at Cop27 won’t touch: livestock farming

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Governments have not ignored these issues by accident; they have resolutely looked away. A new analysis finds that only 12 nations name emissions from farm animals in their official climate commitments, and none seeks to reduce livestock production.

GEORGE MONBIOT: There are just two actions needed to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown: leave fossil fuels in the ground and stop farming animals. But, thanks to the power of the two industries, both aims are officially unmentionable. Neither of them has featured in any of the declarations from the 26 climate summits concluded so far.

Astonishingly, the sectors themselves are seldom mentioned. I’ve worked through every final agreement produced by the summits since they began. Fossil fuels are named in only six of them…

The other omission is even starker. Livestock is mentioned in only three agreements, and the only action each of them proposes is “management”. Nowhere is there a word about reduction. It’s as though nuclear non-proliferation negotiators had decided not to talk about bombs. You cannot address an issue if you will not discuss it.

The call to stop farming animals should be as familiar as the call to leave fossil fuels in the ground. But it is seldom heard. Livestock farming, a recent paper in the journal Sustainability estimates, accounts for between 16.5% and 28% of all greenhouse gas pollution. The wide range of these figures is an indication of how badly this issue has been neglected. As the same paper shows, the official figure (14.5%), published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, is clearly wrong. Everyone in the field knows it, yet few attempts have been made to update it…

This issue has become even more urgent now we know the heating impact of methane is rising. Livestock farming is the world’s greatest source of methane released by human activities. Yet there is no mention of it in the global methane pledge launched at last year’s climate summit.

Governments have not ignored these issues by accident; they have resolutely looked away. A new analysis for Chatham House finds that only 12 nations name emissions from farm animals in their official climate commitments, and none seeks to reduce livestock production…

What accounts for this determined silence? I think there are several reasons. The livestock sector’s cultural power greatly outweighs its economic power… by comparison with the denial sponsored by the fossil fuel industry, the misleading claims of the livestock industry have scarcely been challenged in the media…

But this is just one aspect of the problem. Like the fossil fuel industry, livestock corporations have been ploughing money into public persuasion, using tactics first developed by tobacco companies. Some of this greenwashing has been highly effective, especially the industry’s claims about “regenerative ranching” and the false assertion that pasture-fed meat farming sequesters more greenhouse gases than it releases…

Slowly and painfully we have become energy-numerate. Large numbers of people have begun to “do the math” on fossil fuel emissions. Now we need to become food-numerate. An extraordinary feature of this debate is that when you present data, your opponents respond with pictures, generally bucolic images of cows or sheep.

Popular food writing is dominated by a disastrous combination of aesthetics and elite tastes. Famous authors propose that everyone eats the food that they like, promoting diets that couldn’t be scaled unless we had several planets and no space on any of them for wild ecosystems. They urge us to use a Neolithic production system (grazing) to feed a 21st-century population, with catastrophic results.

We urgently need to put these foolish things aside, to follow and understand the science, and press our governments to focus on the major causes of the climate crisis. They had two jobs, and have so far mentioned neither of them. SOURCE…

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