LONDON—Musician and animal activist Moby has called on the COP26 climate change conference to make the climate-damaging impacts of animal agriculture central to the agenda if world leaders hope to make meaningful pledges to avert catastrophic climate breakdown. Moby sent his message to COP26 President Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP via a video he produced with animal protection NGO Humane Society International, as part of its #TheCowInTheRoom campaign which is also supported by other celebrities including Billie Eilish, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary McCartney, Martin Freeman and Ricky Gervais, and more than 50 global animal welfare and environmental organisations.
Moby said: “When talking about animal agriculture—meat and dairy production—to people, a lot of them are not aware of the environmental consequences… Animal agriculture is one of the, if not the leading, cause of deforestation globally. To create a stable climate, we need to reform our global food system. We need to stop using animals for food, because animal agriculture is the third leading cause of climate change. You cannot practically and effectively address climate change without ending our alliance with meat and dairy production… Meat and dairy is destroying the only home we have. Ultimately, we have to address these issues, or these issues will destroy us.”
The video, which is running across social media and will also be viewed at the COP26 event, highlights that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5%—16.5% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions globally, on par with the global emissions from all transportation systems, yet is largely neglected by countries around the world in climate change mitigation strategies and commitments. The livestock industry is growing at a dramatic rate, with more than 88 billion land animals raised and slaughtered every year. As this man-made industry continues to grow, estimates indicate that by 2030, the livestock sector is projected to account for nearly 50 percent of the global emissions budget if we are to achieve the 1.5°C warming target set out in the Paris Agreement. In addition to significant greenhouse gasses, Moby also addresses that the farm animal production sector is the single largest man-made user of land, and a major driver of deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, exhaustion of water resources and pollution.
Moby and Humane Society International hope that formal recognition at COP26 of animal agriculture as a driver of climate change will encourage world leaders to commit to vital meat and dairy production and consumption reduction strategies to help meet the Paris Agreement’s below 2°C target.
Julie Janovsky, Humane Society International’s vice president for farm animal welfare, says: “Reducing the environmental impacts of our diets and transforming our global food systems to be more plant-based are some of the most effective climate-mitigation measures we can take, and the need to do so has never been more urgent. Despite this, the countries producing and consuming the most meat and dairy have yet to include reduction targets alongside other mitigation efforts for the primary climate change drivers in their Nationally Determined Contributions. If we want to prevent a climate change catastrophe, it is imperative that world leaders acknowledge and act to cut every major driver of climate change, including industrial animal agriculture. This industry is quite simply unsustainable. COP26 offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity and help reduce the number of animals suffering on factory farms. We are pleased to see this message from Moby and hope that Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP acknowledges his urgent and incredibly important message.”
Moby shares his top tips for people who want to consume more plant-based food: eat the plant-based version of the foods you already love, like spaghetti and (vegan) meatballs, and go online to educate yourself – ask yourself whether your actions are aligned with your values and intentions.
The public can join in calling on world leaders to recognise the impact of factory farming on climate change at COP26 by signing #TheCowInTheRoom petition at hsi.org/thecowintheroom. To find out more about the impact of intensive animal agriculture on our planet and the lives of animals around the world, visit hsi.org/issues/climate-change.
- Animal agriculture is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
- Consuming fewer animal products and eating more plant-based foods helps protect the world’s water supply. Producing large quantities of meat, milk and eggs requires huge amounts of water to grow feed, clean enclosures, hydrate the animals, as well as to process animal products. Producing 1 kg of chicken requires 4,325 litres of water on average, compared to the 1,644 litres needed to produce 1 kg of cereals. (Hoekstra 2015)
- Eating more plant-based meals will reduce the amount of land used by agriculture. Worldwide, we need more land to raise and feed farm animals than for any other single purpose. More than 97% of soymeal and more than 60% of the barley and corn produced globally are fed to farm animals. (FAO)
- The UN’s latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report warned that the climate crisis is poised to get worse if greenhouse gas emissions continue to surge, and that the future of the planet depends on the choices that humanity makes today.
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