Meat Boss Says Cutting Out Meat Is Not The Answer To Climate Crisis

His opinion flies in the face of recent research
Jago Pearson of Finnebrogue Sausage Manufacturers
Jago Pearson of Finnebrogue Sausage Manufacturers (Photo: Sky News)

A meat industry representative has said he believes cutting out meat is not the answer to the climate crisis.

A report published recently by the United Nations said we have 12 years to limit climate change - or suffer major consequences including flooding and heatwaves.

The most comprehensive study on food production ever undertaken was published earlier this year - with scientists saying cutting meat and dairy is the most significant step people can take to reduce their impact.

But speaking on Sky News, Jago Pearson of Finnebrogue Sausage Manufacturers said he thinks telling people to stop eating meat altogether 'would be the wrong approach'.

Vegan alternative

"We've seen meat eaters having one or two days off, and move to vegetarian or vegan alternatives," he said. "I don't. It's by no means the best option. If you look at maize, if you look at soy*, they have huge environmental impacts as well.

"The rest of the meat industry might not thank me for saying this but I do think we need to do more as an industry to cut down on the intensity at which we farm particularly cattle and pigs.

He added that the industry is looking at alternative protein sources - including insects and that they must 'continue to innovate'.

"But the idea we say to consumers that actually they should stop eating meat altogether would be the wrong approach. The right approach would be to offer consumer choice and to continue to improve our means of sustainable farming."

Soy production

While Pearson highlighted the impact of soy production, he didn't talk about how much of the global soy yield is fed to livestock, and how much soy is therefore consumed by meat eaters.

WWF's 2017 report Appetite for Destruction highlights this, saying: "If the global demand for animal products grows as anticipated...by 2050, soy production would need to increase by nearly 80 percent to 390 million tonnes and more than 265 million extra tonnes of maize would be needed to feed all the animals destined for our plates."

It adds: "The average European consumes approximately 61kg of soy per year, largely indirectly through the animal products that they eat like chicken, pork, salmon, cheese, milk and eggs."

Jasmijn de Boo, International Director at ProVeg
Jasmijn de Boo, International Director at ProVeg (Photo: Sky News)

Global warming

Representing the other side of the argument was Jasmijn de Boo, International Director at ProVeg, which encourages people to adopt a plant-based diet.

"If we look at how cattle are raised it's mainly rumination, methane, all of these greenhouse gases that are causing the problems," she said.

"It's also the land clearing to grow feed for livestock, and that often isn't considered - that when we cut down the forest we contribute to global warming."

'Vegan is the ideal scenario'

de Boo then referenced the UN's report, pointing out scientists warned that the temperature rise must be kept below 1.5C.

"In order to do that we need to cut down on meat and dairy consumption," she said. "Ideally, the vegan scenario is the best scenario to achieve that."

You can watch the Sky News clip here

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

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