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World leaders must address impact of food and animal agriculture on climate change at COP26

News Section Icon Published 11/1/2021

Today (1st November), as world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, over 100 NGOs and prominent figures have joined forces to call on national governments to address the impact of food and animal agriculture to avert a climate catastrophe.

In a joint statement, coordinated by Compassion in World Farming, a host of stars including actor Joanna Lumley, Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden and environmentalist Stanley Johnson, along with thought leaders, scientists and academics such as Raj Patel, Carl Safina and Jonathan Porritt, urge world leaders to ensure the impact of food and agriculture on climate change forms a central part of discussions at COP26. The statement is also supported by numerous animal welfare and environmental charities including Greenpeace UK, OneKind, the RSPCA, Friends of the Earth, Brighter Green, the RSPB and World Animal Protection.

The statement, which features in full-page adverts in both The Times and The National newspapers today, reads: “COP26 is bringing together world leaders to tackle the dangerous and unprecedented climate emergency. We urge governments to seize COP Nature Day on 6th November to properly address the impact of food and animal agriculture. People are relying on their leadership – we need a commitment to immediate global action towards creating sustainable, healthy food systems for the benefit of animals, people and the planet.

“Our planet is in crisis. The issue of food and agriculture impact needs to form a central part of the discussion and world leaders need to be ready to bring about serious change.

“If the way we eat does not change substantially, as a matter of urgency, we will fail to meet climate targets and the science says the repercussions will be catastrophic. Global meat and dairy consumption must be greatly reduced if we are to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A move to higher-welfare, nature-friendly agriculture is also essential if we are to reduce biodiversity loss. The world is watching.”

Sean Gifford, Global Director of Campaigns at Compassion in World Farming, says:

“World leaders are gathering at COP26 to try and solve the escalating climate emergency, yet they are ignoring the ‘cow’ in the room.

“Despite overwhelming evidence that meat consumption is a major driver of the climate crisis, national governments are failing to acknowledge the central role that food and agriculture plays in destroying our planet.”

“We hope our adverts in The Times and The National will drive home our message and help to influence world leaders as they gather for the first day of the Summit. The world is watching.”

In addition to the joint statement, Compassion will be launching a new report at COP26, on Friday 5th November, which sets out the scientific case for a dramatic global reduction in meat consumption, before it’s too late.

For more information please email media.team@ciwf.org or call 01483 521 615.

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