A change is needed in our food system to protect animals, their habitats and our climate, but this was nowhere formally on the agenda or negotiations. World leaders must stop ignoring the huge climate impact of factory farming and biodiversity loss and include animal agriculture on the agenda of future COP negotiations.
It will have been hard to miss the news covering COP26 but what does the outcome mean for animals and our planet?
World Animal Protection attended to raise the issues of factory farming with world leaders and international bodies. Not just a leading cause of climate change, factory farming also causes great suffering for farmed animals and contributes to habitat and biodiversity loss for wildlife. Many commitments were made but the big issue of factory farming was rarely mentioned by leaders over the two weeks.
How do the commitments link to factory farming?
Deforestation was addressed, yet animal agriculture was ignored despite fuelling land clearance to feed livestock globally. The UK alone imports 2 million metric tonnes of soya a year, 98% of which is used in animal feed. This feed is needed for the 70% of land animals kept on factory farms in the UK. If world leaders are serious about ending deforestation they need to include meat reduction in their targets, especially chicken and pork which rely on soy for the unnatural fast growth of animals.
The methane targets also ignored animal agriculture, which accounts for 37% of methane emissions, and has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The new agreement between the US and China has mentioned methane emissions from agriculture and more countries should follow. Cutting back on beef and dairy should be acknowledged to reach these targets.
In order to meet the COP and Paris agreement goals on deforestation and methane we need to see a halt on factory farming and a reduction in meat consumption to curb the destruction of our ecosystems.
Governments must also support farmers in the transition to humane and sustainable food production and halt the devastating impacts of factory farming.
Lindsay Duncan World Animal Protection farming campaigns manager said, "A change is needed in our food system to protect animals, their habitats and our climate, but this was nowhere formally on the agenda or negotiations. World leaders must stop ignoring the huge climate impact of factory farming and biodiversity loss and include animal agriculture on the agenda of future COP negotiations."
World Animal Protection is calling on the public to Say YES to LESS meat and dairy on their plates to help put an end to factory farming. You can find out more about the campaign here.