Re: Meatless Monday initiative won’t affect global warming, WP Oct. 13. Your editorial dismissing the Meatless Monday initiative will be a great help to those in the livestock industry who like keeping their heads comfortably in the sand. However, you do a disservice to producers who may want to better understand future consumer attitudes informed by the growing body of evidence concerning the negative impacts of meat production.
Dragging up Frank Mitloehner’s lonely criticism of the United Nations’ estimate that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases sadly smacks of clutching at straws. You failed to mention that Mitloehner’s analysis had no impact on the UN report’s conclusions. As a UN spokesperson later publicly stated: “We stand entirely behind the 18 percent figure.”
It is equally silly to get out your calculator and divide Mitloehner’s figures by seven to belittle the potential climate change impact of giving up meat on Monday. The Meatless Monday idea is merely one figurehead in a broad movement toward plant-based diets. It’s not just about a particular day of the week. It’s about a growing trend to reduce meat consumption because of environmental, health or animal welfare concerns — legitimate concerns raised by credible science.
There are plenty of other studies raising alarms about the impact of meat consumption and production. Most recently, an international study led by McGill University found that a shift away from meat production would actually increase the amount of food available for human consumption, as so much land is wasted on growing crops to feed livestock.
You can try to laugh off ideas like Meatless Mondays, but the downsides of meat production and overconsumption are real. The public is beginning to recognize this and it is foolish to pretend they don’t.
Projects and Communications Director,
Vancouver Humane Society, Vancouver, B.C.