Lecture calls for massive dietary change

25 September 2008

Ground-breaking Compassion in World Farming event highlights the damaging impact of factory farming on climate change, the environment and animal welfare.

Dr Pachauri delivers his lecture

On Mon 8 September, over 400 people from government, embassies, think- tanks and research bodies packed into Savoy Place for the Peter Roberts Memorial lecture, named after the founder of Compassion in World Farming.

The lecture, entitled "Global Warning - The impact of meat production and consumption on climate change" was given by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr Pachauri challenged our reliance on high meat consumption, showing how livestock production releases 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, can pollute water and soils, damages our health and often causes suffering to animals kept in factory farms.

He said, "One kilo of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car for every 250 kilometres"

Referring to the inefficiency of livestock production, he pointed out that: "A farmer can feed up to 30 persons throughout the year on one hectare with vegetables, fruits, cereals and vegetable fats. If the same area is used for the production of eggs, milk or meat the number of persons fed varies from five to ten."

Highlights from the lecture and responses (10 min)

Guest speakers

Dr Rajendra Pachauri

Dr Henning Steinfeld

Joyce D'Silva

Prof Robert Watson

Felicity Lawrence
Journalist & author

Dr John Powles
Cambridge University

PowerPoint download:

During the discussion panel which followed, Joyce D'Silva of Compassion in World Farming pointed out the pitfalls of factory farming, which regarded farm animals as production units rather than as individual sentient beings, capable of suffering. She said that farm animal welfare must be an intrinsic factor in finding acceptable solutions to the environmental problems associated with livestock production. "Farm animal welfare is not negotiable," she added.

Closing speech by Philip Lymbery (7 min)

A new conversation

Philip Lymbery

In his closing speech, the Compassion in World Farming Chief Executive called for policy makers, the farming industry, the food industry and consumers to work together - the only way to ensure a better future for people, animals and the planet.

Dr Pachauri's call to reduce meat consumption has received widespread media coverage. As one delegate to the lecture told Compassion, "My sense is that you moved the debate forward significantly."

To help us move the debate forward further, please support us. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.

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