The meat, eggs and dairy at the center of many plates are also at the center of some of our world’s greatest threats to the environment, public health, workers’ rights and animal welfare.
Animal products are the most resource-intensive foods in our diet — they require massive water and energy inputs and generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, soil, air and water pollution.
In order to avert the worst impacts of climate change and protect water supplies for future generations, we must produce and eat “less and better.” This means consuming fewer animal products, supporting the farmers and ranchers who are raising animals sustainably and making sure that everyone has access to the healthiest options.
Most animals are raised in factory farms where they are fed a diet of genetically engineered corn and soy, grown with toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers which pollute our rivers and groundwater. Raising billions of animals in confined areas also generates massive amounts of toxic manure that pollute our air and water — especially in nearby communities.
Overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistant “superbugs,” one of our most pressing public health problems. Jobs on factory farms and slaughterhouses are associated with some of the highest rates of worker injury and illness.
To solve these problems, we must dramatically reduce meat consumption, reform current animal agriculture practices and shift to more sustainable livestock production. More sustainably-raised options, like pastured organic meat and dairy, are better for people and the planet.
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Take Action. Eat Better.
- Check out our Guide to Avoiding Factory-Farmed Meat and Dairy.
- Try Meatless Monday and look for great plant-forward recipes at vegweb.com, meatlessmondays.org and vegetariantimes.com/recipe.
- Ask your supermarkets and restaurants to carry more plant-based options and to source more humane, pasture-raised and/or organic meat and dairy products. Leave comment cards, speak to the manager and post on their Facebook pages.
- Buy local and direct by shopping at your local farmers’ market or visiting LocalHarvest.org or EatWild.org
The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously today to increase healthy, plant-forward meal options for students. The legislation also formally adopts the Good Food Purchasing Program across D.C. public schools.
The judgement comes after Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third largest chicken producer, announced late last week that it would stop the routine use of medically important antibiotics to prevent disease in its chicken flocks by March 2019.
The fourth annual Chain Reaction scorecard grades the nation’s 25 largest hamburger chain restaurants on their antibiotics policies and practices.
Agriculture produces an astounding one-third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Meat and dairy alone generate about half of those food-related emissions — more than the combined tailpipe discharges from every plane, train, car, bus and boat around the world.
Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass group often have exclusive contracts with “Big Food” corporations that systematically lock out smaller, more sustainable producers, fair trade companies, and local farmers, ranchers, and fishers—especially those who have been disenfranchised.
Livestock production accounts for about 15 percent of global GHG emissions — more than the tailpipe emissions from all the planes, trains, cars and trucks in the world combined!