WE ARE being badgered by all sorts of people these days to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the planet, for good reason, in my view.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation published a 2006 report called Livestock’s Long Shadow, which found that 18 per cent of our global greenhouse gas emissions were due to meat production and processing, more than all our car and air travel together.
In response to this, an idea called “Meat-Free Monday” or “Meatout Thursday” has developed. Already, the city of Ghent in Belgium has adopted this specifically to reduce its corporate emissions.
Council-run canteens and school meals are all meat-free one day per week, and residents and businesses are encouraged to join in, with recipes and other help. The NHS has considered serving fewer meaty meals in order to cut its greenhouse footprint.
Sydney, Australia, is also encouraging residents to reduce meat consumption, and there are similar messages from celebrities such as Sheryl Crow and Paul McCartney.
I see this as more reasonable than asking people to go vegetarian, despite being one myself for 25 years. Most omnivores today enjoy veggie nosh; pasta and grain-based dishes, vegetable curries, mousaka, mixed fresh salads, even beans in a baked potato.
We’ve been told that a diet high in meat is bad for our health, and contributes to the toll of strokes, heart disease and cancer. Many people find what goes on in slaughterhouses unthinkable, so reducing our meat consumption reduces our involvement in this, as well as helping our health and the wellbeing of future generations.
City of York Council has an aim to cut its greenhouse emissions by 25 per cent by 2013, and I think reducing meat consumption by a fifth would really help this.
John Cossham, Hull Road, York.