19th November 2007
New Report Calls for Urgent Change in Diet
Meat, Dairy and Fish are Principal Cause of Global Environmental Collapse
Diet of Disaster, a new report from the campaigning group Viva!, calls upon the Government, environmental and animal groups to urgently recommend a move away from eating meat, dairy and fish and towards a plant-based diet. The choices facing us are grim, it says ? between a damaged world and a seriously damaged world. Continuing to eat animal products will ensure our children are bequeathed the second option.
Tony Wardle, author of the report, says: ?The science is crystal clear ? livestock are at the heart of the world?s most pressing environmental catastrophes ? deforestation and the spread of deserts, loss of biodiversity and overuse of fresh water, nitrogen pollution and the spread of deadly superbugs; eating animals carries the bulk of the blame. Bird flu is in the news again and is another timely reminder of the risks that stem from livestock. We can thank factory farming for this virulent disease and the potential threat it poses to humanity and the report outlines how it came about.
?Another damning report on livestock?s global influence was published last year by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (Livestock?s Long Shadow) with the words, ?Livestock?s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale?. It was ignored! Diet of Disaster draws on this and other sources and repeats the demand that a profound change in diet is urgently needed.?
The report establishes that livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gases ? more than all the world?s different forms of transport combined. Even worse, they are rapidly destroying the planet?s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
Almost all cleared Amazon rainforest is used to graze cattle or grow soya for animal fodder. Livestock are the principal cause of all deforestation and for the extinction of plant and animal species, now disappearing up to 1,000 times faster than normal. A third of the world?s land is on the road to becoming desert from overgrazing. Two-thirds of the nitrous oxide and ammonia that cause acid rain comes from manure. Deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs are now widespread, largely thanks to animal farming. Devastation extends to the oceans where 82 per cent of fish stocks are on the road to extinction.
?This situation is beginning to feel like an episode of Fawlty Towers ? Don?t Mention the Meat! Action is desperately needed as scientists are increasingly warning that it?s all happening far faster than predicted and there is little time left?, concludes Tony Wardle.
For hard copies of Diet of Disaster (online now at www.viva.org.uk/hot) or further information:
Tony Wardle 0117 944 1000; mob 07971 622606 (author of Diet of Disaster; associate director of Viva!)
Juliet Gellatley 0117 944 1000; mob 07971 425508 (main contact for interviews with Heather; editor of Diet of Disaster and founder & director of Viva!)
Justin Kerswell 0117 944 1000; mob 07862 173377 (campaigns manager, Viva!)
From Monday, 19 November: go to www.viva.org.uk/hot/media for hi res images of the billboards, leaflets and photos of Heather Mills.