We must be the last generation to industrialise animals
The Vegan Conservatives group has welcomed Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s call for more people to give up animal products in order to meet the UK’s target of cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.
Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Kwarteng, the MP for Spelthorne, said, “There are challenges in terms of people changing their lifestyle, but that is happening already, without government legislation. The number of people who are vegans, who are reducing their meat intake, is going up all the time. I think that there is a lot of societal change that will actually help us and drive the progress to 2035, where hopefully we will hit the 78 per cent reduction target.”
It’s the strongest signal yet from the Government that it is impossible to address climate change without reducing meat and dairy consumption.
The industrialisation of meat and dairy contributes a triple whammy to the environment: the emissions and pollution created by the animals themselves, the destruction of forestry to feed and graze them, and the haulage and distribution involved. That’s not to mention the £6.1bn annual cost to the NHS, the loss of food sovereignty and the obvious welfare consequences of the industry.
Co-chairman of the Vegan Conservatives, Alison Knight says, “Kwasi Kwarteng is spot on with his call for more veganism in British society. Meat and dairy are environmentally-destructive and categorically not essential elements of a healthy diet and we should follow Canada’s lead in ignoring industry-sponsored “science” in formulating Government policy.
"The alternatives to cheap meat are better for health, better for the environment, better for growers, better for food security and better for the animals - not to mention reducing the risk of global pandemics.
So-called ‘clean meat’ and plant-based meats are on the rise and will be responsible for 35% and 25% of meat consumption respectively by 2040. The Vegan Conservatives are calling for the UK’s Industrial Strategy to include incubators, National Centres of Excellence and national prizes for discoveries and commercialisation, if Britain wants to lead in these areas.
Mrs Knight continues, “Veganism is not at all a political statement - it’s an ethical and pragmatic one. As Conservatives, we want to leave the world a better place than we found it.”
London Assembly Member Andrew Boff says, “Veganism is growing by itself, but were the Government to introduce incentives to drive it, set targets and nudge societal change, those climate targets start to look considerably easier.
“Switching to an electric car is an excellent step, but it’s much more effective to stop consuming animal products.”
Baroness Anne Jenkin says, "It needs to be really easy for people to make better choices. Anybody who has made the change already feels healthier and saves money, as well as knowing that they have cut carbon emissions, so it’s a win-win. As with tackling obesity, the Government needs to make sure that healthy choices become the default option."
Co-chairman Graham Godwin-Pearson says, “Our grandchildren will look back and wonder why on earth people chose to consume animal products, knowing the cruelty and damage that these products caused.
“People still need to eat and so agricultural reorganisation and retraining is required but the Government can help by offering conversion grants for industrial animals farmers to switch to vertical farming, and for intensive fish farmers to switch to seaweed.
"We must be the last generation to industrialise animals.”