Vegan charity Viva! yesterday revealed its new headline campaign in the form of a film called Vegan Now! which aims to expose the devastating effects industrial meat and dairy farming have on our natural world.
The launch of Vegan Now!, at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, included a panel of experts who put forward their views around the benefits of a vegan or more plant-based diet on the environment, animal welfare and human health as well as evidence regarding the negative effects of a heavily animal-based diet.
Hosted by Daniel Capurro from The Telegraph, the all-vegan panel included Viva!’s Juliet Gellatley and Tony Wardle, Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, GP Dr Josh Cullimore and Joseph Poore, environmental researcher from Oxford University.
Michael Mansfield QC, also joined the panel via video, and called for a new law on ecocide. “I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal. There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal such as smoking inside. We know that the top 3,000 companies in the world are responsible for more than £1.5 trillion worth of damage to the environment with meat and dairy production high on the list. We know that because the UN has told us so.”
I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal. There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal such as smoking inside
McCarthy suggested a stricter agriculture bill should be introduced to change the way the Government provides farming subsidies, while Poore called for environmental warning labels on animal products. Gellatley concurred, adding: “What we want to do is push society so that consuming animals is no longer socially acceptable. I would like to see supermarkets where you can’t buy animal products when you’re under 18. We need warning labels – like tobacco.”
Discussing the impact of meat and dairy consumption on the NHS, Cullimore said that if everyone followed a vegan diet, $1.6 trillion dollars could be saved by 2050. McCarthy agreed, stating: “In terms of public health, this will be the first generation to die of lifestyle illnesses as opposed to communicable diseases. There is a public health emergency.”
Tony Wardle, Viva! associate director, closed the conference, remarking: “We’ve been talking about different approaches here today. You’re gonna need them all. This is gonna be a battle. You can’t have permanent growth in a world of finite resources. The whole of society needs to move from consumption to conservation.”