7th March 2008
Calls for chief scientist to consider livestock production in food crisis warning
THE Government?s chief science advisor is being urged to consider the devastating impact livestock production is having on the environment ? after failing to highlight this in comments made this week.
Campaigning vegetarian organisation Viva! are writing to Professor John Beddington calling on him to consider the role meat, dairy and fish consumption is playing in destroying the earth.
Professor Beddington warned of a world food crisis in the future, as demand for food overtakes the ability to produce it, stating that the crisis could be as serious as climate change and may hit sooner. But he appears to be giving no consideration to the fact that the western diet is central to all these problems, claim Viva!.
In November 2007, Viva! launched HOT!, a new campaign fronted by patron Heather Mills, to help save the environment. This was accompanied by a fully-referenced report Diet of Disaster ? recommending a move away from eating meat, dairy and fish and towards a plant-based diet.
Author, Tony Wardle, says: ?The science is crystal clear ? livestock are at the heart of the world?s most pressing environmental catastrophes ? world hunger, deforestation and the spread of deserts, loss of biodiversity and overuse of fresh water, nitrogen pollution and the spread of deadly superbugs; eating animals carries the bulk of the blame. Bird flu is another timely reminder of the risks that stem from livestock. We can thank factory farming for this virulent disease and the potential threat it poses to humanity and the report outlines how it came about.
?Another damning report on livestock?s global influence was published in 2006 by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation with the words, ?Livestock?s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale?. This was ignored. Professor Beddington needs to address the fact that a profound change in diet is urgently needed.?
According to research conducted by Reading University, if Britain went vegetarian, less than half the farm land would be needed ? vegan, less than a quarter.
For more information and to read Diet of Disaster, visit www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/hot or call Viva! on 0117 944 1000.
For more information about this media release, contact Viva! press officer Helen Rossiter or campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, on 0117 944 1000.
Notes to Editors
According to the UN Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases ? more than all the world?s different forms of transport combined and they are rapidly destroying the planet?s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
Almost all cleared Amazon rainforest is used to graze cattle or grow soya for animal fodder.
Livestock are the principal cause of all deforestation and for the extinction of plant and animal species, now disappearing up to 1,000 times faster than normal.
A third of the world?s land is on the road to becoming desert from overgrazing.
Two-thirds of the nitrous oxide and ammonia that cause acid rain comes from manure.
Deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs are now widespread, largely thanks to animal farming.
Devastation extends to the oceans where 82 per cent of fish stocks are on the road to extinction.