Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Strategies to End Animal Agriculture

Are Strategies to End Animal Agriculture Working? In the second half of this article we look at the various strategies which are being used worldwide in order to bring about an end to animal agriculture and facilitate a transition to a plant-based diet.

First, let’s look at global meat production and consumption to date:

While meat production and consumption has increased steadily over the years, it has dropped significantly in the last two years.  This is partly due to people reducing their meat consumption, but it is also due to diseases such as Avian Flu Virus and African Swine Flu, and partly due to the recovery of pork production in China. The decline of meat consumption in Asia was due to the African Swine Flu, as millions of pigs were culled.

If we look at the following graphic the growth in world meat supply per person seems to be slowing down:

Nonetheless, this still very far away from a full scale transition to a plant based food system, which is urgently needed for the animals, for biodiversity and for climate stability. 

Below we have laid out some of the strategies being adopted around the world which are contributing to the transition to a plant-based food system.

Political and Social:

  • Government Subsidies:
    • Many organizations are now calling for government subsidies to be moved from animal agriculture to plant based and non-animal-based farming such as tillage, organic farming, vertical farming and greenhouses, forestry, solar and wind power generation and many other alternatives (such as those outlined here).
  • Transition from Animal to Plant-based farming:
    • Bodies need to be set up to help farmers divest from animal agriculture and diversify into other areas. There has been some discussion around this, especially in the media.
  • Animal Rights Legislation:
    • Campaigns to abolish fur farming have been quite successful around the world and many countries have now banned this practice.
    • Campaigns to end animal testing have also had some success. More companies are making their range cruelty free, and people are starting to demand it.
    • These types of campaigns help to awaken people to the cruelty inflicted on animals, thereby helping veganism to spread.
  • Zoonotic Diseases:
    • Factory farms are now seen as potential petri dish for new zoonotic diseases.
  • Antibiotic Overuse:
    • The overuse of antibiotics in farming, in particular factory farming, is posing a threat to humans due to antibiotic resistance.  The public is becoming more aware of this threat.
  • Society now more compassionate and open:
    • Society is becoming more compassionate and more open to social justice issues such as women’s rights, divorce, contraception, LGBTQ+ rights, etc.  There is a backlash against racism and sexism.  There is a forward-thinking more enlightened atmosphere in society today.  The next step in this progression would be the adoption of a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Activism:

  • Social media:
    • Over the past 10-15 years social media has allowed vegans and animal advocates to spread the word about the harm and suffering caused by the animal farming industry, and about the huge number of vegan products that are now available.
  • Non-violent direct action:
    • Protests, vigils, marches, demos, leafleting and similar non-violent methods are being used by animal advocacy groups all over the world to inform the public about the harm being caused to animals.
  • Vegan groups and organisations:
    • There is now a huge number of vegan organisations worldwide, all working on getting the vegan message out.
    • There are now hundreds of thousands of vegan groups on social media all over the world, providing a space of solidarity where we can see day to day that the movement is gaining strength and our numbers are growing.
  • Leading by example:
    • Individual vegans are an example to others and help with the spread of veganism.

Food industry:

  • There are more and more vegan options becoming available, almost daily, on the shelves in the supermarkets and shops.
  • More restaurants now offer at least one vegan option, or a vegan section on the menu, or a full vegan menu. 
  • Lab meat is gradually entering the market, and lab milk and fish are also being developed.

Media:

  • Newspapers, TV, radio shows and podcasts are featuring the topic of veganism more and more, especially in debates.
  • There are now ads on television for vegan products, which helps to normalise the vegan lifestyle.
  • Many celebrities are vegan and this brings attention to the vegan lifestyle for millions of their fans.

Environmental Issues:

  • GHG Emissions from animals:
    • Governments are now being forced to reduce herd sizes due to the high levels of GHG emissions from cattle.
    • The public is becoming more aware of the carbon emissions associated with the food they eat.  All meat and dairy products have higher emissions than plant foods.
  • Biodiversity Loss:
    • There is now pressure on government to reverse the biodiversity loss, which has been caused by animal agriculture. 
    • The public is becoming more aware of the harms being done to the environment and biodiversity because of the meat, dairy, eggs and fish they consume. While many do not go vegan overnight, there is a tendency for more and more people to reduce their consumption of these foods.

Health:

  • Plant Based diets are now recommended by health organisations and many doctors.
  • Many books are being written about the benefits of Whole Food Plant Based Diet.
  • Numerous clinical studies have shown that a plant-based diet has many benefits for health and can help prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses.
  • Many people are going vegan for health reasons.

What other strategies do you think are important to transition to a plant-based food system?  We would love to hear from you.

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