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Eat less meat or you’ll destroy the planet, warn international experts in new book

Press Release   •   Oct 16, 2018 11:32 BST

Launch of powerful new book announced on World Food Day (Oct 16)

If we don’t take urgent action by eating less meat, we’ll destroy the planet – that’s the stark warning from the world’s leading experts in ecology, conservation, health, agriculture and animal welfare in a powerful new book.

Farming Food and Nature: Respecting Animals, People and the Environment, published by Earthscan on November 2nd, presents the case for urgent action to combat the damaging impacts of livestock production and to fix our broken food systems. It includes the latest scientific evidence, case studies, detailed reviews, personal reflections and potential solutions from some of the world’s leading policy experts and scientists such as: food activist Raj Patel; author Carl Safina; leader of the Sustainability Science Center Katherine Richardson; famous primatologist Dr Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace; environmentalist Jonathon Porritt; sustainability policy expert Karl Falkenberg; and bee expert, Dave Goulson.

It includes the best thinking from the Extinction & Livestock Conference – the world’s first ever international event to examine this issue which took place at London’s QEII Centre in October 2017 – as well as new contributions on plant-based & clean meat innovation, insects as food and feed, and the growing environmental and welfare impacts of fish farming.

In her Foreword to the book, Jane Goodall, Phd, DBE, says: “If millions and eventually billions of us make ethical choices as to what we eat and how it was produced we shall help to bring about the change that is needed if we can about the planet and future generations.”

Contributors to the book include Professor Katherine Richardson, of the Sustainability Science Centre in Copenhagen, who warns that there are limits to how much humans can ‘push’ the Earth’s boundaries without risking changing the state of the ecosystem upon which we depend. She says: “We are over the ‘safe limit’ for four of the nine identified planetary boundaries and agriculture has been the primary driver in bringing us over these limits. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without a major transformation of our food system.”

Frank B Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University, who co-wrote a section for the book with colleague Elena Hemler on healthy sustainable eating, says: “A diet that that is higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is healthier and has less environmental impact. Substituting just one serving of red meat per day with other healthy foods is associated with a significantly lower mortality rate.”

Compassion in World Farming Ambassador Emeritus Joyce D’Silva, who co-edited the book, said: “The impact of livestock production on climate change, biodiversity loss, soil health, water use and water pollution needs to be addressed urgently and globally.

“Livestock production is driving two-thirds of wildlife loss worldwide, causing massive deforestation in countries such as Argentina and Brazil, using up the world’s precious natural resources, polluting our waterways and creating ocean ‘dead zones’ where nothing can live; creating the perfect breeding ground for superbugs and contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. This is in addition to the suffering and misery caused to billions of animals in factory farms around the world.”

The book is available to pre-order via the Routledge website.

ENDS

Media contact – For further information, to order a review copy of the book or to arrange an interview please contact Compassion in World Farming’s Carol McKenna, who co-edited the book, on 07979 805169 or carol.mckenna@ciwf.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. The Extinction & Livestock Conference (www.extinctionconference.com ), organised by Compassion in World Farming in partnership with WWF, took place on 5 and 6 October 2017 at the QEII Centre in London. This first international conference to examine the impacts of livestock production on people, animals and the planet, was attended by 500 policy-makers, academics and NGOs from around the world and led to calls for a global agreement to tackle the wide-ranging impacts of food and farming. The event was supported by The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), BirdLife International, the University of Winchester, and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.

2. Click here to view excellent footage of the impacts of livestock production

3. Click here to view a range of relevant images including the book cover, intensive farming systems, endangered wildlife, and keynote speakers at the Extinction & Livestock Conference.