Oil giant Shell is being urged to go vegan ahead of Earth Day on April 22.
Animal rights charity PETA has written to Royal Dutch Shell asking it to 'offset some of the environmental damage done by drilling for oil by serving vegan meals on all its offshore oil rigs in the North Sea, where workers live for months at a time'.
The letter from PETA says the top five meat and dairy corporations are responsible for more greenhouse-gas emissions than either Shell, ExxonMobil, or BP - and that eating vegan foods can reduce a person's dietary carbon footprint by more than half.
Diet and environmental impact
PETA also references research by scientists at the University of Oxford which showed that all animal-derived foods – including cows' milk and chicken's flesh and eggs – have a higher carbon footprint than their plant-based equivalents.
The study published last year, titled Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, looked at the environmental impact of more than 40 foods representing 90 percent of all food eaten. It considered the impact on emissions, freshwater use, water and air pollution, and land use.
Go vegan - reduce your impact
"A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use," research leader Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, concluded.
"It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car [because] agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems.
"Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy."
"Animal agriculture is right on the heels of burning fossil fuels when it comes to contributing to climate change," PETA Director of International Programmes, Mimi Bekhechi, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"This Earth Day, PETA is calling on Shell to improve workers' health, save animals' lives, and slow down the destruction of the planet by switching to vegan meals on all of its offshore rigs."
PETA adds: "Each person who goes vegan spares more than 200 animals a year daily suffering and a terrifying death and that vegans have a lower risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than meat-eaters do."