Three global meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of Germany, Europe’s biggest climate polluter by far at the time of the report. Livestock production now contributes nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions
Two groundbreaking studies into the environmental impact of intensive production livestock farming confirm that we cannot continue producing meat in this way.
The research showed that the top 20 meat and dairy companies emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016. If these companies were a country, they would be the world’s 7th largest greenhouse gas emitter. It’s obvious that that the world cannot avoid climate catastrophe without fixing the meat industries emission problem.
Over the past few decades, the meat and dairy giants have become hugely influential with government policymakers and have convinced many to support the rapid growth of industrial-scale meat and dairy production and consumption around the world, at all costs. The World’s largest meat and dairy companies claim that their intensive production methods are essential for world food security, this isn’t true. These companies produce a vast amount of highly subsidized meat and dairy products in first World countries where people are already eating too much meat.
Any surpluses are then exported around the world, undercutting the millions of small farmers who actually do ensure food security, flooding supermarket shelves with cheap, unhealthy processed foods.
They claim that the only way to effectively reduce their emissions is by using intensive farming methods to squeeze ever more milk from each dairy cow or by bringing food animals to slaughter ever more quickly. Such “solutions” compound the industry’s horrific treatment of workers and animals and exacerbate the environmental and health crises caused by the industry.
If we are serious about feeding the planet while fighting climate change, the world needs to change the way food animals are reared.
The solution is to support small-scale producers, agroecology, and local markets. Producers that farm ethically in a way that regenerates soils, provides livelihoods to rural and urban communities, and makes crops and animals resilient to the vagaries of an unpredictable climate while making them less reliant on chemicals, growth stimulants, and antibiotics.
The global pandemic has accelerated the shift towards buying directly from the farm. People have become more interested in the environmental and health impact of the food they eat.
Brexit has given the British Government a wake-up call and they are starting to help smaller producers connect with the wider public.
Farm shops have never been busier, so it’s all going in the right direction. We just need to get there faster, and with your support, we can.