Footprint Blog

Sir Paul flexes muscle

According to a UN study published in 2006, the livestock industry is responsible for a staggering 18% of man’s global greenhouse gas emissions partly due to the deforestation in the Amazon. It is generally acknowledged even by Dr. Rejandra Pachauri, the leading authority on climate change, that going meat free once a week, would be the most attractive way for individuals to reduce CO2 emissions.

For this reason, Sir Paul McCartney’s campaign to have a meat-free day a week  in order to cut carbon emissions makes sense and might be worth consideration for foodservice.

McCartney’s mission is supported by high profile chef’s such as Giorgio Locatelli, Yotam Ottolenghi and restaurateur Oliver Peyton is also highlighting meat free dishes.

I suppose we will only be able to establish a link between reduction in carbon emissions and the meat industry once the industry works in unity towards this! Perhaps one might be able to propose an equivalent to WWF’s Earth Day!

Here are some interesting facts that might support Meat Free Monday.

To produce a single  kilogram of beef, farmers have to feed a cow 15kg of grain and 30kg of forage. It is a highly energy intensive business that is ultimately not sustainable. Livestock production is responsible for 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon jungle and by 2050, the world’s livestock population is expected to rise from 60 billion farm animals to 120 billion. It is a scary fact when you consider that in a day a single cow can produce 500 litres of methane, a gas that has about 25 times the global warming impact of CO2.

But how would a meat free Monday have a positive impact on the environment? Simple!  It would slow the projected growth of an industry, expanding at unprecedented levels in order to keep up with demand. This is not about vegetarianism, soya and nut-roasts. Livestock farming is responsible for a huge proportion of the worlds greenhouse gases, therefore, the objective is for restaurateurs to educate the consumer, and collectively bring an industry that has an even greater impact on the environment than the transport industry, back to sustainable levels.

If a die-hard carnivore such as Oliver Peyton can see the sense in this and is promoting meat free dishes in his restaurants every Monday, then maybe so can I. All operators would have to do is highlight a meat free dish every monday an explain exactly the reasons why it is doing so.

Maybe not tree-hugging veggie madness after all!

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