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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. Learn more.
What you can do
- Join our email list at the top of this page to receive updates and action alerts
- Tell In-N-Out Burger to set a timeline for getting routine antibiotics out of its beef supply!
- Tell Olive Garden and its parent company, Darden Restaurants, to serve good food now!
Eat less and 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.
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.
Read more on the case for less and better meat.
Reports and resources
- New data find climate-friendly, healthy meals within reach for public schools, February 15, 2017
- Consumer coalition calls for In-N-Out Burger to reduce routine antibiotics use in beef, February 24, 2016
- New Dietary Guidelines lack clear message on less meat, more plants, January 7, 2016
- Analysis finds strong support for sustainability, less meat in Dietary Guidelines, October 5, 2015
- Big food and chemical corporations spend millions to attack organic, June 30, 2015
- 150,000 Americans call for less meat, more plants in new U.S. diet guidelines, May 7, 2015
- Environment and health groups support Dietary Guidelines’ sustainability focus at public meeting, March 24, 2015
- McDonald’s new antibiotics policy raises bar for U.S. restaurant industry, March 4, 2015
- Health, environment and animal welfare groups applaud U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ new sustainability focus, February 19, 2015
- Coalition sues EPA for failing to address factory farm air pollution, January 28, 2015
Articles and Blogs
- Less Meat, Better Food, Happier Kids: Oakland Unified Reinvents its School Lunch, Civil Eats
- How Greener School Lunches Can Help Fight Climate Change, Green Schools National Network
- High Steaks: The Case for Less and Better Meat, Medium
- Olive Garden protests target drugged chickens and fair wages, The Guardian
- Time to Turn Olive Garden’s Good Food Rhetoric into Reality, FoodTank
School Food Footprint Report shows how this district was able to significantly reduce its carbon and water footprint by replacing a share of its meat, poultry and cheese purchases with plant-based proteins.
Chain Reaction grades America’s top restaurant chains on their policies and practices regarding antibiotic use and transparency in their meat and poultry supply chains. All but five companies received a failing grade.
Farming for the Future busts three common myths about feeding the world that keep us on the path of business as usual. The report details robust scientific evidence that demonstrates that creating a democratic, organic and agroecological farming system is key to feeding all people, now and into the future.
Spinning Food investigates how major food and agrichemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public on facts about industrial agriculture and organic and sustainable food production.
This report from Friends of the Earth Europe and Heinrich Böll Foundation invites you to take a trip around the world to give you insights into the global connections made when we eat meat. Informed, critical consumers can shift the market with their decisions and demand the political changes needed.
Presentations & radio shows
- Rootstock Radio – A Healthy and Sustainable Food System, interview with Friends of the Earth’s Kari Hamerschlag on our efforts to change the food served at restaurants
- Sustainable Agriculture Solutions: Feeding the World and Protecting our Future. Sustainable Food Summit keynote, Kari Hamerschlag, January 21, 2016
- Top Restaurant Chains Using Meat Raised with Antibiotics, Late Night Health radio show, Kari Hamerschlag, October 3rd, 2015 Part 1 and Part 2
- The Jeff Santos Radio Show, Kari Hamerschlag, March 30, 2016
- Friends of the Earth’s comments to the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef