Twenty livestock companies are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than Germany, Britain or France – and receive billions of dollars in financial support to do so, according to a new report by environmental activists.
Animal husbandry contributes significantly to carbon dioxide emissions, as livestock is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific reports have shown that rich countries need huge reductions in meat and dairy consumption to cope with the climate crisis.
Between 2015 and 2020, global meat and dairy companies received more than $ 478 billion in support from 2,500 investment companies, banks and pension funds, most of which are based in North America or Europe, according to Atlanta Meat. , compiled by the Friends of the Earth and the European political foundation Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
With this level of financial support, the report estimates that meat production could increase by 40 million tonnes by 2029 to 366 million tonnes of meat per year. Although the vast majority of the increase was likely to take place in the global south, the largest producers will continue to be China, Brazil, the US and members of the European Union. By 2029, these countries may still produce 60% of world meat production.
Worldwide, the report says, three-quarters of all agricultural land is used to raise livestock or feed crops. “In Brazil alone, 175 million hectares are devoted to cattle breeding,” an area of land roughly equal to “the entire agricultural area of the European Union.”
The report also notes continued consolidation in the meat and dairy sector, with larger companies buying smaller ones and reducing competition. This results in the risk of displacing more sustainable food production models. “To keep up with this (the level of animal protein production), industrial livestock is growing and continuing to displace sustainable models from the market,” the report said.
The recent interest shown by animal protein companies in meat alternatives and substitutes is not yet a solution, activists said. “All this is done for profit and does not really address the fundamental issues we see in today’s animal protein-focused food system, which has a devastating effect on climate, biodiversity and actually harms people around the world,” said Stanka Becheva. , campaigner for food and agriculture working with Friends of the Earth.
The conclusion, Becheva said, is that “we need to start reducing the number of animals we eat on the planet and provide incentives for different consumption patterns.” The meat industry also needs more regulation, he said, “to ensure that companies pay for the damage they have caused throughout the supply chain and to minimize further damage.”
On the investment side, Becheva said private banks and investors, as well as development banks such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, should stop funding large-scale intensive animal protein projects.
Responding to the report, Paolo Patruno, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Union for the Meat Processing Industry (CLITRAVI), said: “We do not believe that any food sector is more or less sustainable than anyone else. But there are more or less sustainable ways of producing plant or animal foods and we are committed to making animal protein production more sustainable.
“We also know the average greenhouse gas emissions [GHG] in the EU livestock farming is half of the world average. “The global average is around 14% and the EU average is 7%.” In England and Wales, the National Farmers’ Association has set a goal of achieving a net zero greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture by 2040.
Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by enallaktikidrasi.com.
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