Billie Eilish Among Plant-Based Advocates Urging That Animal Agriculture Be Addressed At The COP26 Climate Conference In Scotland

A number of the world’s most well-known advocates for the plant-based movement have written to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, President of the COP26 Climate Change Conference to ask him to stop ignoring animal agriculture as a catastrophic climate change culprit. They are calling for this critical issue to be included on the COP26 agenda for world leaders to discuss this year in Glasgow, Scotland.

Signed by such recognized names as Moby, Billie Eilish, Joaquin Phoenix, Ricky Gervais, Alan Cumming, Alicia Silverstone, Leona Lewis, and Stephen Fry among others, the letter was sent in support of the recently launched #TheCowInTheRoom campaign, by Humane Society International.

Globally, more than 88 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food every year. Intensive animal farming is responsible for an estimated 14.5%—16.5% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions globally. Despite being one of the largest contributors to climate change, animal agriculture is not on the COP26 agenda as a priority in climate change mitigation discussions. COP26 is organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Humane Society International and the signatories of the letter are working to protect animals and the planet through practical policies and actions. They hope that formal recognition at COP26 will encourage world leaders to commit to vital strategies to reduce meat and dairy consumption to help meet the Paris Agreement’s below 2°C target.

“With animal agriculture being such a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is impossible to meet goals set out in the Paris Agreement without making changes to our global food system. Even if all other major sources of emissions were reformed, we will still fall short. Addressing these urgent areas in the UNFCCC COP26 meeting would help propel governments around the world to take action and would provide world leaders with another high impact option to add to their toolbox for tackling climate change,” the letter stated. “We call on the UNFCCC to formally and publicly recognize animal agriculture as one of the largest contributors to climate change and to open a greater space for dialogue.”

“Intensively farming animals for food is simply destroying our planet. Animal agriculture is the second-highest CO2 emitter in the world, yet it remains largely ignored by world leaders. The science is clear and overwhelming; that adopting a more plant-based diet is one of the most impactful actions we can take to avert catastrophic climate change. If we want to protect our planet, we must include intensive animal agriculture in climate change mitigation strategies. COP26 is the ideal opportunity to do this, and one of our last vital changes to reform our global food systems,” Moby said in a statement. “I beg you, please; STOP ignoring the cow in the room.”

In addition to significant greenhouse gas emissions, the farm animal production sector is also the single largest anthropogenic user of land, with meat, egg, dairy, and aquaculture production systems using approximately 83% of the world’s farmland. Yet, it provides just 37% of the world’s protein. Animal agriculture is also a major driver of deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, pollution, and exhaustion of water resources.

“If we are serious about avoiding climate catastrophe, it is imperative that world leaders acknowledge and cut every major driver of climate change, including industrial animal agriculture. Intensive animal farming is unsustainable. Transforming our global food systems to more plant-based diets is one of the most effective climate-mitigation measures we can take,” noted Julie Janovsky, Humane Society International’s Vice President of Farm Animal Welfare. “COP26 offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity, and help end the cruelty caused by factory farms.”

Help urge world leaders to recognize the impact of factory farming on climate change at COP26 by signing Humane Society International’s petition, HERE!

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