Policy makers are being urged to put veganism at the heart of food and farming policies to help meet climate change targets.
The Vegan Society made the call after a national climate emergency was declared in the UK Parliament earlier this month. The charity has written to all politicians asking them to introduce policies which support farmers move away from farming animals, and encourages better vegan provision in public canteens.
The call follows research published by two world leading universities, one of which supports the claim that veganism can help us meet targets set by the 2015 UN Paris Agreement.
Research published by Oxford University last year found that adopting a plant-based diet is the “single biggest thing” individuals can do for the planet, while Harvard University research only last month found that the UK can still sustain itself by producing enough protein and calories if it stops farming animals for meat, dairy and eggs.
Formal letters from the Vegan Society, which claims that net zero emissions is only possible if we move towards plant-based diets, have been sent to the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, UK Parliament, the Scottish National Party and the Welsh Government.
George Gill, chief executive at The Vegan Society, said:
It is widely recognised that eating animal products has a huge environmental impact, yet this is not at all incorporated into policy.
Animal agriculture has not taken its share of emissions and it’s becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to meet the Paris Agreement unless we make a national shift towards plant-based diets.
We are calling on political parties to act upon their promise and take a bold step to overcome the climate emergency by implementing policies encouraging truly sustainable, plant-based diets.
The charity is asking political parties to take three steps:
1. Encourage the nation to adopt an increasingly plant-based diet;
2. Implement policies for public sector institutions such as schools, hospitals and care homes to offer a good vegan meal as standard on menus every day, as part of its Catering for Everyone campaign;
3. Provide financial and practical help to farmers who wish to move away from farming animals towards growing crops for human consumption, as part of its Grow Green campaign.