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UN: halve meat and dairy to reduce emissions

News Section Icon Published 02/05/2014

Greenhouse gas emissions from farming would reduce by 25-40% if Europeans halved their meat and dairy consumption, according to a UN report.

The report is good news for the planet, animals and people. If people ate less but better meat, it would be better for our health and animal welfare.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe’s Nitrogen on the Table report, states that a communal dietary shift would have a positive impact on the planet.

The report focuses on nitrogen emissions from livestock. Nitrous oxide is one of the most damaging GHGs (greenhouse gases) and causes harmful pollution and the eutrophication (excessive input of nutrients which can reduce oxygen levels and cause algal blooms) of rivers and oceans.

If consumers halved their meat and dairy consumption they could be consuming up to 40% less saturated fat than before which would reduce rates of high cholesterol and obesity.

Professor Mark Sutton, co-author of the report, coined the term ‘demitarian’ to describe a diet of reduced dairy and meat products. He said “From the environmental point of view, it's not about whether you eat meat or dairy, it's about how much.”

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming said: “This report is a welcome addition to the evidence that shows a reduction in meat and dairy consumption will benefit the planet.

“At present our food system is propping up intensive farming and supporting so called ‘cheap’ meat.”


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