When the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is reformed this year, fighting environmental destruction and climate change will be one of its goals. To that end, PETA Germany sent a letter to the Romanian Agricultural Minister Adrian Oros on February 22, urging him to incorporate organic vegan agriculture into the reform.
In its letter, PETA points out that the production of animal-derived products requires significantly more water, land, and other resources and causes more damaging greenhouse gas emissions than do vegan ones. Furthermore, animal-derived products pose a risk to humans and other animals alike: at animal markets, agricultural operations, and slaughterhouses, animals are usually kept in small spaces amid their own waste and are killed on blood-soaked floors – often without proper stunning and at just a few weeks old – which makes these places perfect breeding grounds for potentially fatal pathogens. SARS, swine and bird flu, and even COVID-19 all originated in places where humans confine and kill animals.
“Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and to accomplish the environmental and climate protection measures addressed in the agricultural reform and to support farmers in sustainably cultivating the soil, the EU must promote organic vegan agriculture, which would also help reduce the risk of infectious disease outbreaks and the extent of animal suffering”, explains Ilana Bollag, PETA Germany’s campaigner on climate and food issues.
Rejecting Animal Agriculture Is Crucial – Background Information
Organic vegan agriculture is an alternative to a closed-loop economy based on manure from farming operations and chemical fertilisers, and in PETA’s view, it is the future of animal-free and environmentally-friendly agriculture. According to the United Nations, it will take a global switch to vegan eating to counter the worst effects of climate change. Studies show that switching to vegan foods could reduce the world’s food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2050. Organic vegan agriculture can counteract environmental issues like species extinction, groundwater pollution, and soil acidification. Global animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s traffic combined. A study published in 2020 emphasises that producing organic meat is just as bad for the climate as producing meat using conventional husbandry systems.
Adding to this are animal agriculture’s dramatic consequences for human health: the extensive use of antibiotics at animal operations leads to a higher risk of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which, according to the Robert Koch Institute, cause the deaths of 33,000 people in Europe each year. Every vegan saves nearly 150 animal lives annually and reduces the risk of suffering from cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.