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To the UK Government, Houses of Parliament and Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
We, the undersigned, believe that the government should and must cut all subsidies to animal farming and ban the sale, export and consumption of animal products including but not limited to: flesh, eggs, dairy, honey on the basis that the animal agriculture industry is causing horrific damage to the environment, to humans and non-human animals and to public health.
Video from: https://www.viva.org.uk/vegan-now
“The current environment is profoundly unstable and urgent action and immediate engagement is required by all.”
The above quote is from the opening speech, given by Rachel Bronson- president and CEO of of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, at the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement.
Time is running out. It’s time that the government took real responsibility for climate change and the endangerment of not just humankind but all life on our planet Earth.
According to famously popular documentary maker David Attenborough “the comfortable west” – is still largely untouched by the effects of global warming. “We may well say… ‘well it doesn’t really matter whether we go on eating meat, because we’re not affected.”
In late 2017, Attenborough revealed he had stopped eating meat, calling animal farming practices “depressing.”
The global animal agriculture industry is one of the largest sources of anthropogenic GHG (human caused greenhouse gas) emissions. According to a 2014 IPCC report agriculture and forestry contribute 24% of GHGs, to put that into perspective all the world’s trains, cars, buses, planes, boats etc make up 14% of GHG emissions.
The global livestock industry accounts for 83% of all farmland, and humans and livestock make up 98% of all mammals on Earth, yet animal products only provide 18% of all calories consumed. We can all agree this is an inefficient and unsustainable system. Why not cut out the middleman, stop exploiting animals, and just eat a plant based diet instead?
We are living through the beginning of the Earth sixth mass extinction, and it is happening because of us. We are forcing domesticated farmed animals to breed at an unsustainable rate, all for profit.
Researchers at Oxford university found that going vegan could reduce your food carbon footprint by 73% and reduce global farmland use by 75%. Think of a world reclaimed by forests and wildlife!
In total, the “no animal products” scenario delivers a 28% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy relative to 2010 emissions and the land no longer required for food production could remove ~8.1 billion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year for the next 100 years.
So scientists have been aware of the unsustainable impact of agriculture for years, why aren’t we taking drastic action to reduce our methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions?
Recently we have seen massive civil disobedience movements protesting against the industries and governments who are taking little responsibility for climate change. In 2018 vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg started a global movement with the Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for the climate).
Extinction Rebellion (XR) have created an organised movement demanding the government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
There are lots of changes we need to make to ensure prevent climate change from destroying more lives than it has already taken. We are already seeing the effects of climate change and the most vulnerable countries are often those with the lowest emissions.
Not only are we putting the environment under massive strain due to the effects of climate change, deforestation- which leads to desertification and landslides, air pollution, water pollution, ocean warming and ocean dead zones we are also putting public health at massive risk.
The 2019-nCov Coronavirus outbreak has flung many into panic. It’s been disputed amongst scientists whether the disease came from bats or snakes, and was then passed on by birds or mammals. China have put a temporary ban on the sale of wild animals in response to the outbreak, but has it ever been safe or ethical to sell them in the first place?
Mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu all came from domesticated farmed animals. The NHS website advises people not go near or touch bird droppings or sick or dead birds; visit live animal markets or poultry farms; bring any live birds or poultry back to the UK, including feathers; not to eat undercooked or raw poultry or duck or eat raw
How much simpler would it be if we didn’t have overcrowded factory farms incubating and harbouring these diseases? Why not give up animal products?
36% of antibiotics are used on farmed animals in the UK, it’s no small wonder when the conditions at most farms are overcrowded and dirty. Over 30% of British dairy cows have udder infections (mastitis). One of the methods used to try to prevent mastitis is by singeing the udders with a flame.
Not only is Antibiotic resistance is a threat to human health but the World Health Organisation has stated that processed meats (such as you can find in a school lunchbox) are level one carcinogens, and red meat is classed as probably carcinogenic to humans.
There an increased risk of bowel, prostate, breast and stomach cancer; Alzheimer’s; heart disease and cardiovascular attacks; and diabetes in an animal based diet. Why aren’t our doctors being educated about these risks that scientists have found?
Not only are there loads of physical health risks, but people working in slaughter houses often suffer with suicidal thoughts, depression, PTSD and perpetrator induced trauma stress (PITS).
Why are pharmaceutical companies profiting off killer diseases that could be largely prevented by a lifestyle change?
Time is running out for human beings, but what of the 124,000 farmed animals slaughtered every minute?
What right do we have to slit their throats, shove them into gas chambers, take their babies away just moments after birth, to skin them and wear them on our backs? How do we justify it? With speciesism: as a society the accepted belief is that humans are superior and non-human animals are inferior.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We might try to justify animal cruelty and exploitation by saying they’re not as smart as us. But pigs are as or more intelligent than dogs and young children, which in the UK we keep and love as companion animals. So in our culture humans are superior, beneath us are companion animals such as cats and dogs, then wildlife and at the bottom domesticated and farmed animals are the most inferior.
“The question is not can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham
By this logic, we can also choose to categorise any human or animal as inferior and use that as a justification to exploit them. It is immoral, yet we still have wars, homelessness, and institutionalised discrimination and oppression.
“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will always be battlefields.”
How can we achieve equality for humankind if we treat vulnerable beings with immense cruelty and without a thought for their right to live?
To quote Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
We are taught that it is natural, normal and necessary to kill and eat animals. This message is so pervasive that most of us don’t even consider a non-vegan (carnist) diet to be abnormal despite the obvious effects on our health and the planet.
Is it natural, normal and necessary to have industrial scale factory farms where animals are sexually and physically abused, impregnated, and killed? This is an industry where it is common practice for chickens have their beaks burned or sliced off, male dairy calves are killed at only days old, male chicks in the egg industry are killed in gas chambers or thrown onto conveyor belts to be ground up maceraters, and sheep are at risk of heat exhaustion after being selectively bred so they don’t naturally lose their coat in summer whereas others die of hypothermia when they’re sheared in the colder months.
Is it natural, normal and necessary to drink the breast milk of another species orto drink breast milk as an adult?
Is it natural, normal and necessary to steal honey from bees and mutilate them, clipping their wings, to stop them from creating new colonies?
Is it natural, normal, and necessary to create a belief system (carnism) which separates us (human beings) and them (non human animals) when we are all part of one massive ecosystem? A belief system which needs living beings- that feel pain and emotion as we do- to be treated as objects, and requires us to replace compassion with apathy.
Are we really so callous that, when confronted with the very real and constant suffering non human and human animals alike face because of the animal agriculture industry, we will continue to let this industry turn cruelty into capital at the expense of our compassion and the freedom and well-being of animals?
It has never been easier, go vegan now.