Tax meat, milk and eggs & stop subsidizing
United nations, World Watch Institute and numerous high profile climate experts have all agreed that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entirety of the transport sector. Yet our government will not stop subsidizing meat, milk and eggs making them "affordable" beyond the capacity of our ecosystem. We need to start taxing these products and stop subsidizing them for the sake of our future.
Ecological footprint impacts of different food choices form part of the data gathering; examining the City’s regulatory and policy tools to encourage lighter footprint living is included as an action.
Being vegan doesn't make me feel like I'm living a 100% sustainable lifestyle. That hardly seems possible in today's world. But being vegan does make me feel like I'm living a more sustainable lifestyle than if I ate animal products. Also, I rarely eat tofu/soy products - it is not as much of a necessity in the vegan diet as most people think! I know a couple of vegans who are actually allergic to soy.
If you are a vegan and think that means you are living a sustainable lifestyle:
DANG RIGHT YOU ARE!
Ya got quinoa, barley, hemp, fruits, etc. And all occupied by milk factory farming, meat production, etc etc.
So it's not the soy or rice or corn transportation (not all is transported, but there is local soy and wild rice in Canada also) that's at fault, it's the MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG production that takes up so much more, and occupying that which would of been vegan options.
Steven Forth commented
If you are a vegan and think that means you are living a sustainable life you should stop and look at where soy beans, rice, wheat and corn come from. Subsidies to all forms of industrial agriculture need to be phased out. And there are places where raising food animals is the best and most sustainable use of land.
@ Steven Forth,
Grain/corn crops can certainly be destructive as well.....but the majority of these crops (between 55-75%) are used to feed livestock.
By reducing the amount of land/funds going towards animal agriculture, we would be reducing the demand for the corn, etc coming from the other, also destructive, crops.
This is truly the best way to curb environmental problems and truly become a green leader. Failing to address this most important problem is a failure to take action upon proven scientific findings. We should know better and stop consuming animal products. If you think you are an environmentalist, but are still not vegan, you really need to take a long hard look in the mirror and do some homework and decide if you really care to make a true difference or not!
Steven Forth commented
In general we need to stop all agricultural subsidies, especially corn.Instead of subsidizing production we should be finding ways to support local production and consumption. Certainly industrialized beef, pork and chicken production is destructive and does not pay its full economic costs. But the same is true of most rice, soybean and corn production.
I completely agree that this is a good idea, but it's really not a municipal issue. Contact your MP.
Animal Voices Radio commented
Currently we raise and kill 55 billion animals for food. This means farmed animals outnumber humans by 8 times. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that these animals are using up most of our resources, eating most of our crops and producing most of the feces on this planet. There's no reason why the government should be subsidizing animal products to make it a cheap commodity. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of humans in developed countries because our governments subsidize animal products to make them so cheap that people are over eating and killing ourselves over it.
Arthur G. commented
While this idea may well serve a beneficial purpose in curbing our somewhat extravagant tastes for animal protein, I think a bit of perspective is needed, based on how the idea has been presented here. The way animal agriculture adds greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere is a very complex and multifaceted affair that should not be taken all lumped together. It really doesn't hold up to general, pel-mel depiction. First, the actual way agriculture ties into the atmospheric system must be considered, because, in many ways, the two are actually fairly balanced. The carbon that comprises plant materials, which animals eat, and are in turn comprised of (and store), has all been drawn out of the atmosphere as CO2. When those animals then respires, or are eaten and metabolized, and that carbon is once again released as CO2, it's not so much being put into the air as being returned, completing the final step in a semi-stable cycle it has participated in. Thus, said animals aren't really contributing to any actual increase in the amount of CO2 in the air, as the only carbon they have to work with comes from the atmosphere in the first place. Of course, if the animals release methane (being much more potent than CO2), or decompose under anoxic condition (say, buried in a landfill), then they becomes net contributors to the overall greenhouse effect, and, as this happens in increasing quantities, concerns become increasingly justified.
There are many other aspects to consider as well, however. It would take far too long to fully detail them, so I'll leave a single example for thought instead. Cattle farming for meat in the tropics, where larger tracts of rainforest must be cleared (releasing a great deal of otherwise stored carbon into the air and largely precluding its future uptake, along with host of other harmful effects), can definitely be seen as a less than desirable agricultural activity on the whole. Cattle farming in the semi-forested rangelands of B.C.'s interior and northern regions, however, sees cows roaming fairly lightly on wide tracts of open woodland and mountainous, discontinuous grassland, which otherwise would be difficult to use for anything else (being relatively unproductive), and wherein much of the plant matter consumed would otherwise have been fairly short-lived. In this situation, animal agriculture is actually capturing nutrition and energy for human purposes (that otherwise would remain unutilized) in a fairly non-invasive, non-impactful way; abundances of land, water and resources aren't being appropriated from alternative application that could potentially be much more productive; and people are being given livelihoods. My point is that animal agriculture isn't as cut and dry or homogeneous as it may seem from an environmental and/or sustainable perspective. No, it really needs to be teased apart into its play of parts and factors, and assessed discretely and carefully, if it is to handled beneficially and with any kind of justice. Anyway, just a bit of food for consideration.
If even the United Nations are telling us that animal agriculture is playing this huge a part in the destruction of our planet....people just can't make excuses any more, this issue can't be ignored. There is no justification in the government continuing to subsidize these products that have been proven to be playing such a large part in the problems our environment is facing today.