In what might be the most amazing news coming out of Europe this year 24 members of the EU parliament (MEPs) have signed a letter to the European Commission President insisting on a reduction in animal agriculture, and a shift to promoting a plant-based diet.
In the letter they stressed the need to reduce consumption levels by at least 30% by 2030 in order to help meet climate targets, reduce pressure on river basins and reduce the incidence of serious chronic health problems caused by meat and dairy.
The letter addressed to the European commission states:
"The science is clear that reductions in meat and dairy consumption are required to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions".
The letter also clearly outlines the negative health implications of meat/dairy consumption:
Excessive consumption of animal products across the EU is contributing to serious chronic health problems. Individuals who eat a plant-based diet are likely to have a lower body weight and a decreased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, even as chronic diseases account for 80 percent of deaths in the EU. Plant foods may even have protective properties against many chronic illnesses. A 2008 study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation calculated that turning the tap off on EU Common Agricultural Policy subsidies for dairy and meat would avoid 12,844 deaths from stroke and heart disease, assuming saturated fat consumption dropped just 1 percent. This is a conservative estimate. If halting such subsidies affected consumption more, as was observed in Finland (5 percent) and Poland (7 percent), the life savings could be many fold higher.
Within their recommendations there is advice to increase education and public awareness around the negative health implications of meat consumption, and a recommendation for a ban on advertising bacon and other processed meats - particularly in light of the World Health Organisation’s classification of red and processed meats as carcinogens - which should further reduce already falling demand.
Finally people are waking up to the reality that meat consumption, health and environment are all intrinsically linked. This is a great step in the right direction.
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