Whilst fossil fuels and coal burning are detrimental and require attention, animal agriculture is blatantly ignored or overlooked in the ecological dialogue.

The Earth is not ours. It is a treasure we hold in trust for future generations. – AfricanProverb

There’s so much talk about carbon emission reduction, but nobody among the prolific environmentalist and political figures are addressing the primary issue – an issue more devastating than fossil fuels and coal burning. Whilst these are detrimental and also require attention, animal agriculture is blatantly ignored or overlooked in the ecological dialogue.

Masses are protesting fossil fuels, but only a few are against animal agriculture, which happens to be the biggest calamity with regards to the ecological well being of the planet. Factory farms are not under siege by governments and environmental bodies remain tight-lipped about the issue.

Animal Agriculture is responsible for approximately 25{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of global emissions. This figure is very likely higher, but it’s certainly more than the entire global transportation system combined. In addition to environmental damage, animal agriculture also exacerbates the decline in public health and economic disparity. We are literally eating ourselves to extinction.

The dialogue of diet and ecological well being is one that is much rather
ignored as it signals the necessity to take responsibility and transform our Western-influenced traditions, culture and, most importantly, our perceptions and habits.

Various countries are aiming for zero carbon emission, but until the cow in the room is addressed, these goals are pipe dreams if the only issue focused on is fossil fuels. A 2018 report by Grain and IATP show that together, “the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than Exxon, Shell or BP. To avert climate catastrophe, we must reduce production and consumption of meat and dairy in overproducing and over-consuming countries and in affluent society globally, while supporting a transition to agro-ecology.”

The link between meat and dairy and the ecological catastrophe at hand needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, not periphery. The political establishment is not interested in the conservation of resources, species nor ecological well being as their primary concern is economic well-being. In addition, politics is influenced by major corporations and these include financial, industrial and agricultural companies. It appears that there is a lot of money to be made through ecological catastrophe and a lot of money to be lost through sustainability. It seems that profit and sustainability under the current economic model cannot coincide – profit must mean overuse, overproduction and waste.

Because of this we have to take drastic measures to reduce overuse of our resources, overproduction and waste, along with transforming our industrial practices.

Most crucially, we need to transcend the nightmare that is the Western diet – a diet that is enabled by and also enables greed, abuse and violence. A shift away from eating animals and animal by-products to plant-based foods is one of the biggest and most empowering actions an individual can take immediately to aid the process of ecological restoration.

“We are now facing an emergency we can’t even imagine, with vanishingly little time and no institutions to rely on. It’s up to ordinary people to tell the truth and take revolutionary action as if our lives depend on it, because they do. Hope dies. Action begins.” – Aidan Cook.


Derrick Shadrack | June 2019