Christmas is meat season, baby. Whether it comes in the form of meat-wrapped-in-meat (pigs in blankets), meat-covered-in-jam (ham), or underwhelming-white-meat-that-would-have-been-phased-out-were-it-not-for-a-staunch-British-commitment-to-tradition-and-crap-food (turkey), it’s hard to avoid come December and the inevitable meat regret-filled New Year.
Unfortunately, those meaty choices have their consequences, as the industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. This is what Green MP Caroline Lucas said in her speech at the Oxford Farming Conference today, in which she asked the government to “seriously consider” a meat tax.
Coinciding with Veganuary, a movement encouraging people to try out veganism for a month, Lucas called on MPs to introduce a “meat levy” to reduce emissions and help the farming industry become carbon-neutral, the Scottish Farmer reports. She argued that the country must introduce “more humane and human-scale methods of livestock farming, together with support for farmers to transition to less livestock.”
“If the world’s diet doesn’t change, we simply can’t avoid the worst effects of climate change,” Lucas explained at the conference. “Better manure management and careful selection of feed can both help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but—at the risk of incurring the wrath of the energy secretary, who said recently that encouraging people to eat less meat would be the worst sort of nanny state ever—we need serious consideration of measures like a meat tax.”
Lucas, who has previously voted in favour of measures to prevent climate change, including investment in renewable energy and taxing petrol vehicles, argued that it would take “more than motivated consumers to bring about sustainability.”
The commercial meat industry has been frequently criticised for its damaging effects on the environment. According to research recently published in the journal Science, reducing meat consumption is the single biggest way to reduce the limit the effects of climate change. Across the world, rearing livestock is estimated to cause 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
A little something to consider while you consume your 40th leftover bacon-covered sausage.