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Pigs, poultry and climate chaos

News Section Icon Published 02/05/2019

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A report released today (2nd May) by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommends the UK should lead the global fight against climate change by cutting greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050.

The report says that if other countries follow the UK, there’s a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise - considered the threshold for dangerous climate change.

Increased pig and poultry production

Animal agriculture and meat consumption contribute largely to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK - and globally - particularly when it comes to rearing cattle and sheep. To remedy this, the report recommends a 20% reduction in consumption of beef, lamb, and dairy, replaced by an increase in consumption of pork, poultry, and plant-based products.

We welcome many of the CCC’s recommendations including a move to healthier diets with less red meat and more plant-based foods. However, the proposal that there should be an increase in pig and poultry production is of great concern. This increase would almost certainly be in the intensive sector with its gravely low welfare standards.

Access to healthy, higher welfare, sustainable diets

Every year hundreds of thousands of pigs and chickens are reared in cruel intensive farming systems which have detrimental impacts to animal welfare, our health and the wider environment.  The Government should be developing policies which enable people in the UK to have access to healthy, sustainable diets, which include more plants and less and better meat, dairy and eggs. We should also be supporting farmers making the effort to farm in harmony with nature.

Peter Stevenson, our Chief Policy Advisor, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see the Committee advocate a substantial reduction in meat consumption as this would enable animals to be farmed extensively to higher welfare standards. In contrast, most UK pig and poultry production is highly intensive. Rather than increasing pig and poultry production, there should be substantial reductions in these sectors.”

A global agreement

Compassion, together with others, is calling on the UN for a global agreement supporting a regenerative agricultural system. Together we can stop the devastating machine of factory farming.

Find out how you can switch to a more plant-based, higher welfare diet and reduce your impact on the planet.