Climate change has been named the defining issue of our time by the United Nations. It has far-reaching implications for us all. The goals named in the Paris Agreement to combat climate change were to keep the impact to below a 2 degree Celsius increase. Without substantial changes to our eating habits, intensive agriculture will consume the entire world's carbon budget necessary for keeping global temperature rises under 2°C by 2050.
While factory farming and climate change may seem like two different issues, factory farming fuels climate change, polluting landscapes and waterways, and wastefully using precious land resources. One of the most impactful things we can do as individuals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is to eat less meat.
Pictured above: a piglet being raised in a low welfare farm. He represents just one of many piglets.
What reducing meat consumption would mean for animals
Pictured above: A mother pig being able to reach and care for her piglets in a high welfare farm vs a mother pig locked behind steel bars in a farrowing crate that prevents them from exercising their maternal instincts.
Our current levels of meat consumption also has implications for animal welfare. Producing animal protein (meat, dairy and eggs) at the current level can only be achieved by using intensive methods where animals are often crowded together in sheds or barns, bred for high production where their natural behaviours are denied. A substantial reduction in animal protein consumption across the globe would free up land and other resources, making room for higher welfare, more sustainable production systems, that would benefit both the animals and the planet.
Source: J. Poore, T. Nemecek. “Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers”. Science 01 Jun 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 987-992
How can we end factory farming?
Reducing meat consumption
Purchasing meat from higher welfare farms when we do choose to consume animal products