Eat Fewer Sausages And Save The Planet

Cooked Sausages On A Barbecue Grill

Cutting a sausage a day from the average British Diet is necessary to save the planet, scientists claim. Their controversial report, which partly blames meat eater for climate change, was backed by Environmental Secretary Hilary Benn's department last night.

The scientists called for a 30 per cent reduction in the number of farm animals bred for meat to prevent rising temperatures and rising sea levels. The average meat intake in men is 970g a week and in women 550g a week. A 30 per cent reduction in men is equivalent to seven 40g sausages, two 130g chicken breasts, four 70g lamb chops or 12 bacon rashers of 25g.

Such a reduction would also bring significant health benefits, the scientists said, by reducing premature deaths from heart disease in Britain by 17 per cent - equivalent to 18,000 lives a year. They claimed that food production from animals was a major source of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, and that by 2030, rising demand for meat was expected to drive up livestock production globally by 85 per cent from 2000 levels, leading to substantial emission increases.

The authors , led by Dr Alan Dangour, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Dr Sharon Friel, from the Australian National University in Canberra, wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that improvements in agricultural efficiency were 'necessary but not sufficient to meet targets to reduce emissions.'

Although the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it would not comment on the 30 per cent figure, it released a statement to say : &There are lots of ways people can cut their carbon footprint and impact on the environment - and reducing the amount of meats in our diets is one option.& But the backing of vegetarian Mr Benn's department, which is specifically responsible for promoting farming, drew strong criticism from farmers and scientists who said that cutting meat consumption was not the way to combat climate change.

peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union, said: &Farmers will be angry that yet again we have an ill-informed and simplistic report which appears to completely misunderstand agriculture's emissions and its role in climate change. This report advocates a 30 per cent reduction in livestock numbers in countries that have the most efficient production systems and hence the lowest emissions. What we need to do is look at things more effectively rather than cut livestock numbers. The car industry is praised for producing more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles rather than being told to cut production. Other governments that value their livestock production are looking at exciting and innovative ways to reduce agriculture's environmental impacts while understanding the need to produce more food for an expanding global population.&

Professor Ian Crute, chief scientist at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, which advises the meat industry, said: &a large fall in meat eating or turning vegetarian is not the solution to climate change - it would make only a marginal difference to greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge is to produce mean more sustainable - which is already happening in countries such as the UK, which is leading the global thinking in this area.&

Article taken from the Daily Mail

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