Coles: stand up to meat industry pressure over environment message

After pressure from the meat industry, Coles has removed the statement "eating less meat is good for the environment" from their website. The full story is below, but you can help us now to educate Coles about the science by signing the petition below. We will deliver it to Steven Cain, CEO of Coles, asking him to restore the statement on the Coles' website.

Coles encourages customers to eat less meat

In their January magazine Coles tells their customers to "Go meat free on more than just Monday", stating that eating less meat is good for the environment, is good for your budget and can have a positive impact on your health. The message was repeated in their online article "31 ways to eat well".

Coles say they "are committed to working towards a sustainable future" and say that 40% of the recipes in the January magazine are meat-free.

Animal farming industry pressures Coles

With two million copies of the magazine in Australian's hands, the animal agriculture industry realises they have a public relations crisis on their hands. The do not want the facts about the environmental impact of animal agriculture to be made known, so they apply direct pressure on Coles to remove the statement.

Coles retracts statement

After a strong media campaign by the industry and support by the mainstream media, Coles bows to the pressure and removes the statement from their website. The only organisations complaining to Coles are representatives of the animal agriculture industry, which clearly has a vested interest in not letting the public know about the disastrous impact animal agriculture has on the environment. But the influence of powerful lobby groups like the Cattle Council, AgForce Queensland and Meat & Livestock Australia is too strong for the retailer.

The full statement removed is "Go meat free on more than just Monday. Not only is eating less meat good for the environment - and for your budget - but it can have a positive impact on your health."

Fact: "eating less meat is good for the environment"

Not one scientific or environmental organisation is calling for Coles to retract their statement. That is because environmental science has long known that the major cause of damage to our planet is the raising of billions of animals for human use.

The United Nations has identified animal agriculture as 'one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems', including global warming, species extinction, biodiversity loss, loss of fresh water, rainforest destruction, spreading deserts, air and water pollution, acid rain, soil erosion and loss of habitat. Vast areas of forest are cleared to grow crops to feed farmed animals. The methane produced by these animals is the largest single cause of global warming, larger than all transport worldwide. Worldwide the meat and dairy industries use 83% of farmland but contribute only 18% of food calories.

In Australia, over half a billion animals are bred, raised and killed for food every year. Animal farming occupies 54% of the Australian landmass. Animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. When measured over a 20 year time scale and including short lived gases, it is responsible for emitting about 50% of greenhouse gases in both Australia and worldwide.

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Petition to Coles

To Steven Cain
Chief Executive Officer
Coles Group

Dear Steven,

I ask that you restore the following statement to the article 31 ways to eat well on the Coles website:

"Go meat free on more than just Monday. Not only is eating less meat good for the environment - and for your budget - but it can have a positive impact on your health."

By bowing to the influence of vested interests such as AgForce Queensland and the Cattle Council, Coles is ignoring decades of environmental science research that clearly shows the impact of animal agriculture on our planet. The United Nations has identified animal agriculture as 'one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems', including global warming, species extinction, biodiversity loss, loss of fresh water, rainforest destruction, spreading deserts, air and water pollution, acid rain, soil erosion and loss of habitat.

Please live up to Coles' commitment to work towards a sustainable future by standing up to the pressure from the animal industry lobby and restoring the statement to your website.

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