A host of musicians, actors and sports stars have partnered with businesses and environmental groups in what they hope will be a successful effort to get more people away from meat, fish and dairy in the New Year.
Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace wrote an open letter, signed by celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, Ricky Gerwice, Lily Cole and Alan Cumming, calling on people to change their diet to “veganery” next month. The group said, “We cannot fight climate change when we are raising and eating animals on an industrial scale.”
Other signatories include Chris Packham, environmental activist and TV presenter, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, cricketer Jason Gillespie, businessman Deborah Meaden and comedians John Bishop, Sarah Pascoe and John Richardson.
Chris Packham says that we need to understand that what we eat has a direct connection to nature. Photo: Johnny Birch / Rex
Packham said there was a clear connection between the climate crisis, large-scale meat consumption and coronaviruses. “The virus made the leap for us from animals like Sir, Ebola and HIV – all because we were abusing the natural environment and the animals living there,” he told the Observer. “Therefore nature has taught us very difficult and cold lessons. If we do not begin to understand that we are all connected to nature and what we eat has an effect on nature, we are in serious trouble. This is why the environmental aspect of vegetarianism or vegetarianism – or anyone who changes their diet – has come to the fore.
In January, vegetarian organizers expect 500,000 people to try to become vegetarian. Last year some 350,000 people attended.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global meat sales began to decline, falling from around 71 million tonnes per year in 1961 to 340 million tonnes in 2018. In the UK, beef, lamb and pork sales fell 4% from last Christmas, and supermarkets are welcoming a growing number of ‘Flexitarians’ – who are cutting back on meat.
Brazilian forests are transformed into agricultural land by the typical slash-and-burn method. Photography:.
However, the lockdown led to a surge in meat consumption. According to researcher Kantar, turkey sales rose 36% from the previous year, and sales of red meat and poultry increased by more than 10% each month through September.
The vegetarian argument against meat sets the letter. “Animal agriculture accounts for about 14.5% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions,” he says. “In recent years, over 80% of deforestation in Brazil has been caused by livestock grazing, and even more forests are being destroyed on farms around the world to grow crops to feed animals. Deforestation is serious for several reasons. This drives wild species to extinction. It displaces indigenous people. This causes climate change. And that brings us closer and closer to wild animals and any viruses, they may increase the risk of another pandemic.
Packham said there was evidence soy was produced in the Brazilian rainforest used to feed chickens sold in supermarkets and fast food outlets in Britain: “If you put your chicken in your mouth, you can see the forests in South America.” Are directly connected to the harvesting. “
But eating vegetarian was also difficult. “In Indonesia and Malaysia, palm oil has caused deforestation, and it is in cookies, shampoo… it is clearly everywhere. We consume 8-9 kg each year. “
He said the solution was not vegetarian for everyone. “People I call ultra-vegan want to stop eating meat overnight. But this will not be good for meat producers. This would not be good for our scenarios, where low intensity, good quality farms and farms are actually good for biodiversity. We need a transition where we eat less meat and pay more for it so that we can put the benefit in the farmer’s pocket.
Veganchuri’s Tony Vernelli said that while 2020 brought hardship and heartache, it also brought “an opportunity to create and change a better future”.
“Our united message is a message of hope, but we must do all the work now.”
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