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.
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
Last week, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) board approved a $50 million loan to Pronaca, Ecuador's biggest livestock producer.
The World Bank is being urged to drop a $50 million loan to Pronaca, Ecuador’s biggest livestock producer, because of its harmful impacts.
Secretary Vilsack’s second tour at US Department of Agriculture must look dramatically different than his first.
Swapping factory-farmed hamburgers for chicken wings will fail to adequately address the climate catastrophe and would actually exacerbate many of the pressing environmental, health, and worker justice problems that are more urgent than ever in the time of COVID-19.
The need for change is urgent, and the benefits to farmer and worker livelihoods, our climate, natural resources, and public health is immense.
Despite their significant role in feeding the country during this crisis, food and agriculture workers, and meatpacking workers in particular, have not been adequately protected.