It’s too hot! God help the animals!

EU must help animal farmers transition to plant-crop farming to benefit from plant-based boom, experts tell MEPs

(An article from the Humane Society International/Europe, 6 March 2019)

Brussels – European Union policy makers are being urged to help farmers transition away from animal agriculture and towards plant-crop farming in order to capitalise on the growing trend in plant-based eating.  Speaking at an event this week at the European Parliament organised by Humane Society International/Europe, farmers, ecologists and academics agreed there is an urgent need for the EU to support transition farming to help farmers adapt and seize the economic opportunity of consumer diets shifting away from meat, dairy and eggs.

A major report from the Rise Foundation recently warned that Europe’s meat and dairy production must be halved by 2050 in recognition of its significant contribution to environmental degradation such as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. The EU currently raises 9 billion farm animals for food each year – with more than 360 million of these animals spending all or part of their lives in intensive cage systems – and globally the figure is an estimated 82 billion animals.

Oxford University’s Dr Marco Springmann, and Harvard University’s Dr Helen Harwatt were joined at the Brussels symposium event by ecologist and rewilding expert Alan Watson Featherstone, and Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson who is transitioning his pig farm to grow oats for a plant-milk company.  Policy makers were also treated to Europe’s first public screening of BAFTA 2019 award winning short film 73 Cows about British cattle farmers Jay and Katja Wilde who sent their herd to a sanctuary and switched to crop cultivation instead.

Alexandra Clark, HSI/Europe’s food policy consultant, said

“European consumers are more aware than ever of the animal welfare and environmental impacts of meat, dairy and egg production.  The current level of animal production is simply unsustainable, and the continued growth of plant-based alternatives is inevitable.  This presents Europe’s farmers with an exciting opportunity to meet this changing demand by transitioning away from industrial animal agriculture to plant-crop production.  With the current reform of the EU’s agricultural policy, MEPs have a clear chance to assist farmers in those transition efforts by shifting subsidies away from propping up industrial animal production, and instead supporting farmers switch to fruit, vegetables, fungi, grains and leguminous crops that are growing in demand from an increasingly plant-based public.”

The EU is currently reforming its Common Agricultural Policy, with a crucial vote planned in the Agriculture Committee in early April. Dr Helen Harwatt from Harvard University believes this is a major opportunity for EU policymakers to take leadership in animal to plant protein agricultural shifts.

Dr Harwatt said:

“Repurposing portions of agricultural land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be crucial for limiting warming to 1.5°C.  In turn, restoring this land to its natural habitat opens the door for reintroducing animal species, which would help toward tackling the wildlife crisis.  Animal to plant protein shifts are essential and policy makers must ensure that policies and support are put in place to help farmers make this transition”

Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson has shifted his farm production from solely animal-based to the cultivation of multiple crops for human consumption including oats for oat milk production.  In doing so he has doubled the number of people his output feeds annually and halved the climate impact per calorie.

Farmers Jay and Katja Wilde, who star in Alex Lockwood’s 73 Cows short film, were keen for MEPs to understand that the pressure and fear for the future that many animal farmers feel, could be alleviated if support existed to help them ‘plant for the planet’.

Speaking at the EU Parliament screening of 73 Cows, Jay Wilde said:

“We are thrilled that our film has come to the European Parliament where we hope it inspires politicians to vote for a better future for both farmers and animals. Giving our cows to a sanctuary to live out their years in a safe haven was the best decision of our lives, it became the only decision when sending them to the abattoir was no longer something I could live with.  But it’s been a very scary journey too because you’re stepping into the unknown.  This shift in farming isn’t just a personal choice, its necessary to protect the environment, so if there was financial and practical support to help farmers like me plant for the planet, it would make life so much easier.”

Spanish MEP Florent Marcellesi said

“We need to leave behind our unsustainable farming model and animal-based diets. Instead, we should turn as soon as possible to ecologic plant-based ones and build a farming model which is sustainable, healthy and respectful to animal welfare.”

Italian MEP Eleonora Evi said

“Climate change is here, it’s already happening.  For our sake but also for the sake of every other species on this planet, we need to take action to mitigate its effects by adopting an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.  This means opening up the dialogue to different stakeholders.  The agriculture sector has one of the highest levels of emissions, and therefore must become part of the solution.  The transition to sustainable production methods and re-naturalization of agricultural areas must inevitably be considered.”

Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen said

“If everyone would shift their diets towards plant-based, it would be beneficial for public health, animal welfare, biodiversity and climate.”

Facts:

  • Up to 20 percent (€ 32.6 billion) of the EU’s entire annual budget is spent on animal agriculture (including feed)
  • Around 71 percent of EU farmland is used to grow animal feed
  • According to Euromonitor, in 2017 plant-based milks represented 12 percent of the global fluid milk market, and dairy alternatives are predicted to grow to a market value of €19bn by 2022
  • Europe is currently the largest market for meat substitutes, having a 39 percent global market share and, with an eight percent annual growth rate, they are predicted to reach a global net worth of €4.2bn by 2020
  • A 2017 report by Rabobank suggests that alternative proteins could represent a third of total EU protein demand growth in the next five years
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission found that a transformation to healthy diets from sustainable food systems is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission also found that transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts, including a greater than 50 percent reduction in global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar, and a greater than 100 percent increase in consumption of healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Humane Society International’s Forward Food program is one of the largest plant-based culinary training programs globally.  Aimed at encouraging universities, caterers, and other institutions to provide more vegan options, Forward Food helps to facilitate diet shifts at scale.  HSI believes that by making animal-free food options tastier, more satisfying and widely available, more and more people will opt for meat-free meals which is good news for animals, people and the planet.

National Food Strategy – Call for Evidence

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Don’t forget the closing date for taking part in DEFRA’s survey about the future of food production in this country is this week!  The 25th October!  If you haven’t completed the survey already please do let them know that for the sake of the environment and human health, UK farming needs to transition from animal farming to arable farming.  Subsidies need to taken away from animal agriculture and given instead to plant-food growers and help should be available to farmers who want to transition from animals to plants.

Express your opinion and upload a document of evidence to support your argument.  I used this one but there is so much scientific evidence out there to choose from.

We have to phase out animal farming completely.  It’s the only option makes sense!

 

An Unordinary Lion (an unthinkable truth)

Here is another bright and fun rhyming story for little children from Dragana Vucic Dekic (author of The Not-So Crazy Cow).

It’s about a lion who, unable to hunt due to an injured paw, is forced to sit still and watch the world go by.  In doing so he notices that the other animals around him, those he used to call prey, fuel their bodies with plants.

The more he watches his neighbours, the more he admires them.

So much so that he decides to follow their example and adopt a plant-based diet himself 😀

An Unordinary Lion  is a very enjoyable happy story, beautifully illustrated by Szucher Agnes.

Of course the writer doesn’t believe that a lion could just choose to go vegan, but by using the lion as the central character in this story she makes the subliminal point that, unlike natural carnivores, we can choose.

I woke up this morning with this story in my head and it struck me – the reason we find it so hard to convince the human population to go vegan, despite the fact that doing so would solve so many world crises, is because those in charge, those in control of education and mainstream media, consider the idea unthinkable.

In 2006 Al Gore, former American Vice President, made the film An Inconvenient Truth about the human impact on climate change.  In the same year the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation published the results of an investigation which concluded that animal agriculture produced more greenhouse gases than all transport put together.

The preface to the UN FAO report begins:

“The in-depth assessment presented in this document of the various significant impacts of the world’s livestock sector on the environment is deliberately termed Livestock’s Long Shadow so as to help raise the attention of both the technical and the general public to the very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to climate change and air pollution, to land, soil and water degradation and to the reduction of biodiversity.  This is not done simply to blame the rapidly growing and intensifying global livestock sector for severely damaging the environment but to encourage decisive measures at the technical and political levels for mitigating such damage.”

Of course there have been no decisive measures taken at the political level.  No one wants to touch it.  An Inconvenient Truth doesn’t mention animal farming or suggest transitioning to a plant based diet, but perhaps that’s because Al Gore didn’t know then.  Perhaps he hadn’t read the UN report yet.  People were hopeful, therefore, that the issue would be front and centre in his 2017 sequel  An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.  Tragically it isn’t.

Rachel Krantz, lead writer for Mercy for Animals, criticised Gore for not highlighting the easiest and most effective thing people could do to save the planet:

“The link between our diet and the environment is both direct and strong.  To give you an idea, if every American committed to just one meat-free day a week, the impact would be equivalent to switching all our gas-powered cars to hybrids. … Important facts about the link between animal agriculture and the environment are left out of the documentary.  Perhaps the filmmakers thought that mainstream viewers couldn’t handle the truth,”

According to a discussion between plant-based advocates which I saw on television some years ago, that’s exactly right.  One of them met Al Gore, who himself went vegan for environmental reasons, and he asked him why he hadn’t drawn attention to animal agriculture’s devastating effects on the environment in the film.  He was told – because people wouldn’t be able to handle it.

So that’s it?  The planet must die because people cannot conceive of a bacon-buttie-less world?

Come on Al Gore, make a new film – a completely honest one.  You could call it  An Unthinkable Truth.

I understand that lions, except the Unordinary Lion, can’t live without meat.  But humans?  Come ohn!  Many of us have already proved that we can.  And if the rest of us don’t do it, that’ll be the end of that.

Let the Unordinary Lion be your inspiration.  Eat plants to save the world 😀

The End?

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Oh dear, it’s not looking good for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.  If you’d like to try to help the bewitched break the spell you could do as Maud suggests and share this story far and wide.  The children of non-vegan parents who are caught up in the spell could be helped to snap out of it if they found this book in their library – it’s worth a try, isn’t it?

The colour version, with Beatrice Wilberforce’s illustrations, is only £3.90

Wicked Witch

and Maud’s original Wicked Wicked Witch and the Ruinous Manipulation, being entirely black and white, is only £2.80.

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And, by the way, it’s surprisingly fun how easy it is to make a book look like a real bona fide library book with simple, easily edited, or not, photocopies stuck on the first page.

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and maybe even one of those removable plastic book jackets they often have, which come in different sizes and are often on discarded library books 🙂

It’s just harmless fun 😉

Have a good weekend 😀

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Gruesome Hocus Pocus

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vegan fairy tale

Story concludes tomorrow but, if you don’t want to wait,

find it now on the Fairy Tales page 🙂

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Time to revitalize

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow, but if you want to read the whole fairy tale now, just pop over to the Fairy Tales page 😀

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Out of the mouths of babes

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vegan fairy tale

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continues tomorrow but if you want to go to the Fairy Tales page and read the whole story now, you can 🙂

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The Spell

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vegan fairy tale

continues Monday but if you don’t want to wait, you know what to do 😉

What? Oh, it’s on the Fairy Tales page 😮

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Manipulation

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vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow

but if you don’t want to wait you can find the whole story on the fairy tales page 🙂

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Dependent

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait,

go to the Fairy Tales page for the whole story 😀

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Her plan was working so well

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait and want to read the whole story now,

go to the Fairy Tales page 😀

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Let the trees stand

And the best and most productive way to stand for trees is to adopt a plant-based diet.  These forests are being felled at an alarming rate to provide grazing land or grow fodder crops for farm animals.

If everyone ends their dependency on animal foods, the forests could be left in peace.

It’s that simple 🙂

The Folly of Expert Opinions

flat-earth-society1

There was a time, long long ago

When they thought the world was flat.

They worried if they sailed the seas

They’d fall off the end of that.

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In centuries past, in primitive times,

They demonized herbal healers.

They’d label such gifted folk a witch.

Fear and ignorance led to murders.

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1908, the Siberian tundra

Was struck by a freak fireball.

Theories abound, though no cause has been found.

Was it meteorite or black-hole?

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10,000 crop circles in various forms

Have appeared since ’72

Caused by UFOs, wind or rabbits or hoax?

Who knows who knows?  Do you?

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And now here we are, Twenty-Fourteen,

A much more enlightened era.

The experts tell us as the ice starts to melt,

That we should try to live more greener.

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Thoughtful, conscientious, sensible types

Recycle their plastic and drive less.

They walk or take the bus to work;

Use low wattage bulbs; try to redress.

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But in 06 The United Nations

Found that animal farming’s the trouble,

Causing land degradation and water pollution,

Gas with high global warming potential.

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The experts gathered and consulted and planned

What to do to solve the problem

Of global warming, pollution, disease

Caused by human animal-consumption.

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“Urgent action is required,” they said,

“To remedy the situation.”

We need cows that don’t fart, recyclable manure,

And more efficient irrigation!

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“Thank goodness for experts!” the populace cries,

“What would we do without them?

When scientists develop unflatulent cows

That will solve the global warming problem.”

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“Wouldn’t it be easier,” a schoolboy asked

“To solve that long list of crises

By giving up meat and dairy and leather

And planting more veggies and fruit trees?”

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“The experts would tell us,” his teacher replied,

“If there was anything we could do in a hurry.

There’s no need to resort to radical extremes,

Just recycle what you can and don’t worry.”

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Click here to look at the report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  Be aware, you might do a double take when you read that their proposed solutions to the problem are as indicated in the poem.  See Remedies including “Improving animals’ diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions”