Canada has a new climate chief. He is a former Greenpeace activist Steven Guilbeault. This appointment, together with the naming of Jean-Yves Duclos as the new health minister, has renewed hope that Canada may actually see real change relating to climate, public health and food security — the latter of which has been deemed a top priority among Canadians in a recent report.
It is crucial that the timing of the disaster be right as we watch B.C. Canadians get a real-life glimpse at the consequences of climate chaos as they watch B.C. suffer unprecedented flooding and devastation.
However, within that hope, there remains an ongoing, glaring worry, a concern which is not yet addressed by the government and which encompasses all these important issues: The role that industrialized animal farming plays in climate, food, and animal welfare crises.
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The Canadian government has already allocated $1.7 billion in public funds to the animal agriculture industry this year. This includes subsidies and grants for marketing, upgrading slaughterhouses and more. This is in addition provincial funding. This includes Ontario. forking over $14 millionA new version? Swine Research Centre.
What’s worse is the federal government is funding this industry despite knowing that globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined, and is a leading contributor to deforestation, ocean degradation, freshwater pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change overall.
A special reportThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Climate Change and Land published August 2019 a detailed explanation of the interconnection between animal agriculture and climate.
Producing animal-sourced food (e.g. GHGs are more harmful when food is made from animal products (e.g. meat and dairy), than when it is grown crops. This is most true for commodities such as cattle and ruminant livestock. Enteric fermentation processes, which are large emitters if methane, are the main culprits. Once implemented on a large scale, changing diets to eat less animal-sourced food reduces the need for livestock production and transforms crop production from animal feed into human food. This reduces the demand for agricultural land and leads to changes in the current food supply. This would reduce GHG emissions overall, from the farmer to the consumer.
Subsequent research by Oxford UniversityIt is clear that the current climate targets cannot been met without a shift away conventional animal agriculture.
This is something that an ex-environmental activist would know. What is he going do about it?
The World Health Organization provides additional information. has classified processed meats as carcinogenic to humans, and red meats including beef, veal, pork, lamb and goat, as “probably carcinogenic.” The consumption of animal products has also been linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers — which are among the top killers of Canadians today.
Opinion: The federal government should recognize the importance of industrialized animal agriculture in climate, food, and animal welfare crises. Jenny Henry writes @vegan_bumblebee, and @LevecqueDarlene #vegan #cdnpoli
Our new health care provider is sure to know all this. What is he going do about it?
Although the Canadian government has made some progress in recent years with the latest version, Canada Food Guide — eliminating dairy as a food group and including an abundance of plant-based sources of protein in the protein group — we have yet to see this information operationalized in any significant way. And while the Liberal government’s commitment to invest $1 billion in a National School Food Policy also shows promise, it’s just not enough.
As long as the federal government continues to prop up the meat, dairy and egg industries — blatantly investing against our planet, our animals, our health and our future — then Canada and Canadians will continue to live behind the 8-ball of climate change and diet-related death.
At Nation RisingWe, a non-partisan advocacy group, are lobbying Canada to shift these harmful subsidies away animal agriculture and towards a plant based food system for the benefit of all.
So we turn to Duclos and Guilbeault. Justin TrudeauWith both optimism and panic, we implore that this vital information be recognized and acted on.
Denmark is a great example. It recently announced that it would invest over 1.25 Billion Kroner ($240 Million) to develop plant-based food products as part of a landmark initiative. climate agreement for food and agriculture. The agreement recognizes that plant-based foods must be a “central element in the green transition.”
This is something that the Canadian government must also see. So what’s the government going to do?
Nation Rising is co-founded by Jenny Henry and Darlene Lvecque. This non-partisan advocacy group lobbying for federal government shifts subsidies away from animal agriculture to support the creation of a plant based food system.