Vegetarian Society claims that not eating meat is ‘green’

Are you a livestock producer. How do you respond to these kind of claims. Why not comment on the Food For thought blog.

The Vegetarian Society is urging consumers to quit eating meat because it claims livestock production is environmentally damaging.

The society has published a booklet, Why it is Green to go Vegetarian, to coincide with the start of National Vegetarian Week (21-28 May).

The report claims that farmed animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions (18%) than the world’s entire transport system (13.5%) and it takes far less water to grow vegetarian food than it does to produce meat.

The report also suggests that farmed animal production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land use which is 30% of the earth’s entire land surface.

“A third of the world’s land suitable for growing crops is used to produce feed for farmed animals,” it says.

“In the UK, vegetarians need less than half the amount of land to grow their food compared to meat eaters.”

Annette Pinner, chief executive of the Vegetarian Society, said: “For 2007 we are focusing on the ways that vegetarianism can help reduce your environmental impact.

“Vegetarianism is not only a healthy and ethically sound diet it is a major step to help reduce greenhouse gases, conserve water and conserve land.

“With climate change making headlines and many people unsure of what they can do to help, giving up meat is positive choice for you, for the animals and for the world we all share.”

Guy Attenborough, spokesman for the Meat and Livestock Commission, said the UK livestock sector accepts it currently remains one of the top five contributors of harmful green house gases in the UK, but it is successfully tackling the problem.

“Harmful greenhouse gas emissions from UK Agriculture are falling, and have been since 1990, unlike the other big contributing sectors where emissions are rapidly growing year-on-year,” he said.

“The UK livestock sector is actively working on ways to speed up the decline in its emissions.

“There’s a lot of rubbish that is frequently quoted by the anti-meat lobby such as the myth about livestock water usage – which fails to take account of simple biology that the vast majority of what is drunk by livestock gets excreated and recycled through the environment.

“Climate change is incredibly complex and it is important for us all to understand agriculture, forestry and land management is not just part of the problem, it is also part of the solution with the production of biofuels and mitigation of carbon dioxide.

“The bottom line is harmful emissions from UK livestock production are falling, have been for one-and-a-half decades, and will continue to do so through the sector’s continuing efforts in this area. The government and the nation needs to focus on the industries where greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly rising.”

Are you a livestock producer. How do you respond to these kind of claims. Why not comment on the Food For thought blog.