The greenhouse gas emission targets agreed to at the Paris Climate Conference will be impossible to meet at current levels of meat and dairy production. Along with the fossil fuel industry, animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and both of these sources must be addressed if we are to have any hope of preventing catastrophic climate change.
Governments must take vigorous action to meet the net-zero emissions target now enshrined in the Paris Agreement. In the area of animal agriculture, they should encourage people to move away from animal products in their diet by using public education campaigns and by ensuring plant products are available to all at reasonable prices. Subsidies to animal industries should be removed and shifted to plant agriculture. Farmers should be rewarded for revegetating former grazing lands.
The meat industry lobby is powerful and their influence on governments must be countered by environmental groups recognising the impact of animal agriculture on global warming and putting pressure on governments.
Over recent years, this message is getting a larger audience, with the release of the documentary Cowspiracy and the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommending Americans eat less meat on the basis of sustainability. "A diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current US diet."