Less meat eating will benefit the planet, says UN

A substantial worldwide movement away from meat would help the environment, a UN report has claimed.

‘Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production’ compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme and International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, has reiterated evidence that animal products, both meat and dairy, require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives.

The report comes in the wake of a UN report last month, which puts meat consumption at the head of factors that are causing a loss of global biodiversity. A call by the chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was also made in September 2008, that people should give up meat for one day a week to save the planet.

The latest report said: “As total food consumption and the share of animal calories increase with wealth, nutrition for rich countries tends to cause higher environmental impacts than for poor countries.”

A recent survey by MTJ revealed that the meat industry feels under siege when it comes to the environment, with nearly three-quarters rejecting the idea that production poses a credible threat, and 75% believing the industry is being made into a scapegoat.

A Bpex and Eblex study has also shown that only a quarter of consumers would reduce their meat consumption if it meant cutting carbon emissions.

But government food advisor Professor Tim Lang told the BMPA annual conference this year that the consumer is part of the problem.

He said: “If we’re selling meat consumption as an aspirational target, then we’re committing public health suicide.”

>>Meat industry concerned by climate challenge

>>United Nations report calls for meat eating reduction

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