ANIMAL campaigners are calling on the government to push a reduction in meat consumption to help save much-loved British wildlife threatened by extinction.
Defra yesterday announced in a report into biodiversity in England that populations of farmland birds, woodland birds, butterflies, bats and plant species continue to deteriorate.
Viva! claim the most effective action that could be taken to curb the decline and encourage species to recover would be to allow agricultural land used for livestock production to be returned to its natural state.
According to the group, meat and dairy production currently demand 70 per cent of all agricultural land.
Viva! campaigns director, Justin Kerswell says: “If the government is serious about protecting and preserving Britain's wildlife, drastic action needs to be taken to re-claim land which has been taken over and bled dry by the livestock industry.
“A plant-based diet would require less than a quarter of the present agricultural land, allowing Britain's wild areas to regenerate and those plants and animals in decline to recover and other species to return.
“If global warming wasn't a big enough reason to encourage a move towards going vegetarian or vegan, Britain's increasing loss of biodiversity just adds more weight to this already crystal-clear argument.
For more information about Viva!'s environment campaign, visit www.viva.org.uk/hot, for a fully-referenced report. For free help and advice on reducing your meat consumption, visit www.viva.org.uk or call 0117 944 1000.
Defra's Indicators of Biodiversity in England release can be viewed by visiting http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/01/20/biodiversity-2/