While a day doesn’t seem to go by without someone mentioning the continuing increase in meat consumption, it’s not that simple. In fact, while food consumption growth is, indeed, outpacing overall population growth, meat consumption is actually decreasing.
Yes, certain types of meat (mainly poultry) continue to be eaten at rates higher than population growth in ‘developing’ countries, but, overall, meat demand is slowing down. (If you’re wondering where this data comes from, it’s straight out of an E.U. report on global consumption patterns.)
So, it would then make sense that the E.U. wants to meet our demand for less meat… Right?
Instead, the EU continues to pump funds directly into the industry, focusing on the ‘sustainable intensification of agriculture‘. And that is exactly what it sounds like: more industrialised, factory-style farms that are fundamentally destructive to our environment, our health and the animals who are treated like machines.
As one MEP recently wrote in her request for a European animal welfare and public health label: ‘at any one time 65 billion animals are being kept worldwide to produce food for people, and … in Europe 80% of such animals are reared intensively with more regard for profit than for animal welfare and public health’.
Addressing consumption offers a significantly greater potential to reduce emissions and save our planet from the worst effects of climate change (not to mention the added bonuses of improving our health and reducing animal suffering).
The good news is that consumers are catching on, in a big way, and groups all over the world are encouraging people to eat less meat. Here are just a few:
- Memphis Meats: Lab-grown meat producer
- Reducetarian: Asks people to commit to eat less meat
- Veganuary: Over 20,000 people signed up to go vegan for January, 2016
- Impossible Foods: Makes plant-based burgers that ‘bleed’
- Meat Free Mondays: Asks for just one day without meat.
How can you commit to eating less meat?