Philip Lymbery | A Greener Plate For A Greener World
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A Greener Plate For A Greener World

Image Credit: Alex LMX

 

On this World Animal Day, it’s key to understand that animal welfare is central to the overall battle to save our climate, wildlife, habitats, biodiversity and ecosystems.

A lot has been spoken about making the right food choices, of the inhumane lives of animals in our industrial food systems and the potential for us all to unwittingly add to the destruction of our wildlife and our planet.

But we live in a world of noise, where people hear, but too few seem to listen.  What will it take for us all to think proactively about the food we consume, the waste we create and the habits we need to change?

Confined and caged factory farmed pigs

One thing is for sure, scientists agree that the facts are indisputable. Whether it is the recent IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on climate change or the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission’s influential report, there can be no doubt that intensive agriculture and high-meat diets are endangering all our futures and perpetuating one of the greatest animal cruelties on the planet – the caging and confinement of billions of sentient farm animals, otherwise known as factory farming.

It cannot continue.  As I argued in my recent article outlining why our planet needs less meat and more extensive farming, it is key to recognise on this World Animal Day, and every day, that animal welfare is central to the overall battle to save our climate, wildlife, habitats, biodiversity and eco-systems.

The world has to wake up and embrace new food choices as a positive and necessary step to secure the future health of all life on this planet or indeed, face extinction.

Of course, with extinction on the horizon you’d expect wholesale change, yet we still see resistance, namely, the continued commercial support for factory farming and with it deforestation across the world, pushing out habitats and wildlife to make way for industrial agriculture and animal feed. And the distorted economics on which our food systems are based ensure that factory farmed meat, milk and eggs are cheaper at the supermarket checkout than the more sustainable and humane free-range, pasture-fed and organic alternatives.

Further, we also find ourselves challenged by the deep rooted prejudices of individuals in high places. For example, the outgoing EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan said only last week, that he did not imagine the EU would advise Europeans to eat less meat in order to combat climate change, despite the clear consensus among scientists that the emissions produced by intensive animal agriculture massively contribute to global warming.

But change is undoubtedly coming and the young are leading the way. The call to action grows ever louder as we saw around the world when millions of climate strike activists took to the streets led by young people, like the inspirational Greta Thunberg, who took world leaders at the UN Climate Summit to task for their inaction.

Whilst we can hope that the global policy makers heed warnings and take action before time runs out, when all is said and done, every single one of us needs to take responsibility for the future health of our planet.  It’s not difficult.  Why not make the pledge this World Animal Day?  A greener and daily diet of more vegetables and less meat and dairy will make a huge difference to your own health too.  When selecting your meat and dairy choices, always select pasture-fed, free-range or organic and avoid at all costs, the so called ‘cheap’ factory farmed products.

But make a change willingly, for your families, for future generations and for all the other species with whom we share this wonderful world. They have an enormous role to play in our future and make a huge impact on our health, well-being and the viability of the planet our children will inherit.