It has been known for a while that the amount of animal products being eaten is bad for both the welfare of animals and the environment. People cannot consume 12.9bn eggs in the UK each year without breaking a few.
But the extent of the damage, and the amount by which people need to cut back, is now becoming clearer. On Wednesday, the Lancet medical journal published a study that calls for dramatic changes to food production and the human diet, in order to avoid “catastrophic damage to the planet”.
The study sets out the targets for a daily diet to “place consumption within the boundaries of the planet”. They include a reduction in red meat consumption of more than 50%, and a doubling of the intake of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes. “But in specific places the changes are stark. North Americans need to eat 84% less red meat but six times more beans and lentils. For Europeans, eating 77% less red meat and 15 times more nuts and seeds meets the guidelines,” wrote The Guardian’s Damian Carrington.
Others have called for even more drastic changes to human diet to be made. Another study, published in Octoberin the journal Nature, estimated that meat consumption had to be reduced by 90% to avoid unsustainable global warming, deforestation and water shortages.
My Weekend treat.