Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

European Union and United Nations calls for a global shift to a vegan diet to survive hunger, poverty and climate change.  Again, going vegan is no easy task.  I’m not vegan myself.  But the signs are there.

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MP Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Union decided to go vegetarian because of the impact of meat production on global warming. In December, he invited Paul McCartney to speak at the EU, along with the Chair of the Intergov. Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri.

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Sir Paul McCartney in the European Parliament: ‘Less meat – Less heat’

EP President Jerzy Buzek urged everyone “to act globally to face global challenges, but not to ignore what we do at home,” when opening the “Less meat=less heat” hearing on 3 December. The idea of one meat-free day a week was highlighted as a way for an individual to make a difference to global warming. “It is very doable,” said Sir Paul McCartney, the protagonist behind the campaign.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s global climate change panel (IPCC), also publicy backed the Meat Free Monday campaign in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.


Listen to Paul McCartney’s speech

Support Meat Free Monday on Facebook and Twitter!

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With the intense focus on man-made emissions triggering global climate chaos, surely the leaders of the world would prioritize developing policies that limit livestock production (beef, pork, chicken), the #2 cause of global warming? (2006 FAO, Energy Production is #1)

It turns out, politicians don’t like to touch this subject, especially in the United States.  A 2007 Farm Bill amendment that would have cut subsidies for meat and dairy industries was rejected by House Democrats, because House Leader Nancy Pelosi feared Democratic representatives would risk losing their seats in the 2008 elections.

As for the European Union, which many say is “leading the way” for climate change reform,  politicians are almost just as hesitant.  The EU recently issued a warning about the impact of livestock on the environment while omitting text calling for a worldwide reduction in meat consumption.  However, no direct action was taken that might help to reduce meat consumption or the number of livestock.

Governments are taking no steps to influence the individual’s decision to eat less meat.  Wait.  Let me take that back.  The government IS influencing you.  It is subsidizing meat to allow it to be very cheap and very affordable, at the cost of our environment and health, with our taxpayer money.

But who’s complaining?  How much of the public cares?

Where is the rallying cry from progressives, global warming activists or environmentalists? Where…is Al Gore?  Hollywood?

Many leaders have helped to put global warming in the spotlight and to “go green”.  And for that we owe our gratitude.  But many of these same “leaders” have failed to act and speak on the environmental impact of livestock.  It is no wonder politicians don’t care to make this an issue.

We have exempted agriculture from the climate protection strategy in order to limit the number of potential sources of conflict,” says a senior member of the staff of Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a member of the Social Democrat Party (SPD).

So why aren’t politicians including livestock in climate policy?  Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?

Because there is a need for new leaders and catalysts for change. People need to see and hear, how and why, hundreds millions have already made the choice to adopt a low-meat or no-meat diet.

Over the next five years, US farms will receive 288 billion in federal subsidies.  The graph below displays the percentage of subsidies addressed to the different groups of the food pyramid.

pyramid1source: PCRM

Ending or at least significantly reducing subsidies for meat and dairy industries, will force them to bear their own resource and environmental costs, and to cope with less funds to market their goods to the public, or to lobby politicians.

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February 4th 2009 – The EU has taken a lead role in calling for attention to emissions caused by global livestock.  The 27-nation Parliament said the livestock industry is responsible for “substantial” emissions, and said that “changes in behavior by consumers” should be accompany goals to cap industrial greenhouse gasses.

However, they stopped short of including the actual text that called for a cut in worldwide meat consumption.

Bloomberg News

It’s great to hear that the EU has recognized livestock as a serious greenhouse gas emitter.  But when will the EU actually take action to reverse the continued rise in global meat consumption?  When will we see significant reductions in subsidies to animal agriculture to more seriously discourage high meat consumption?

Food for Change has a great blog entry on the EU’s omission, including a comparison of the actual text of the proposed amendment and the final text.

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