Tell us the truth about the effects of growing meat consumption on the environment

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Meat consumption is increasing across the UK* and this could be having a devastating impact on our health. There are many campaigns designed to promote the reduction of sugar and fat but little seems to be said about the benefits of cutting down or cutting out meat even though it could save the NHS £578 million** through a reduction in heart disease and the cost of associated treatment.

We need greater transparency.

We need to know the true effects of what we’re consuming.

We need to be able to make informed choices about our diets.

We need to encourage more people to reduce their meat consumption.

In March 2016, researchers at Oxford University produced a groundbreaking study that predicted that reducing the amount of meat in our diets would save between £500 billion and £750 billion globally per year on healthcare costs alone and cut food-related emissions by 70%.

Widespread ignorance of the environmental impact of factory-farmed meat (estimated at 80% of all available meat in the UK) is underpinning the current UK agricultural and livestock industries, with policy slow to ignite the changes needed.

We need the Government to run a full public information campaign to show the true effects of meat on our health, the environment and animal welfare to inspire people to cut down or cut out meat completely.

As far back as 2006 the UN released a report which stated that ‘livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level’. Chatham House also published a report in 2014 called ‘Livestock - Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector' in which they outlined the problem of our increasing consumption of livestock being at odds with our survival on Earth, while criticising the 'striking paucity of efforts to reduce consumption of meat’.

A growing number of people are choosing to become full-time or part-time vegetarians and vegans as they realise the truth and more people need to know how doing so could protect their health, animals and our environment. This, in turn, should increase the popularity of plant-based foods and encourage supermarkets to provide more, enjoyable alternatives to ensure no-one would want to go back to consuming meat at current levels.

 

* According to data from Euromonitor International, a UK market intelligence organisation
** Figure extrapolated from the global healthcare study conducted by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food: http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/



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