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Peta Asks Minister Smith To Go Vegetarian

For Immediate Release:
17 April 2009

Peta Asks Minister Smith To Go Vegetarian To Reduce Carbon Footprint

Raising Animals for Food Generates More Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Than All the Cars, Trucks, Ships and Planes in the World Combined

Wellington – With Earth Day fast approaching, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific sent a letter this morning to Minister for the Environment Nick Smith urging him to go vegetarian. Pointing out that the meat industry is the world's largest contributor of greenhouse-gas emissions, PETA has dubbed the week surrounding Earth Day (20–26 April) "Meat's Not Green" Week.

Minister Smith has stated, "[D]oing our share [to prevent climate change] is going to mean doing a lot more than what we have been doing over the last decade". PETA is urging Smith to help lead New Zealand and the world in the fight against climate change and to help protect the environment by going vegetarian and advocating vegetarianism.

In the letter, PETA makes the following points:

A recent UN report determined that raising animals for food generates almost 40 per cent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships and planes in the world combined. The report went on to say that the meat industry is "one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global" and recommends that the meat industry "be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity".
Researchers at the University of Chicago in the US concluded that switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet does more to fight against climate change than switching from a standard car to a hybrid does.
Waste, antibiotics and pesticides from factory farms and slaughterhouses contaminate water sources. Farmed animals produce 13 billion metric tonnes of excrement a year – that's 48 times as much as the world's human population produces.
Satisfying the world's appetite for animal flesh requires fuel to produce fertiliser for the crops that are fed to animals, petrol to run the trucks that take the animals to slaughter, electricity to freeze their carcasses and much more. It takes more than 10 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein.

"The best thing that any of us can do to for our health, for animals and for the environment is to go vegetarian", says PETA Director Jason Baker. "It's time to move from the Kyoto Protocol to the vegetarian protocol. The best and easiest way for Minister Smith to show that he's committed to combating climate change is to kick the meat habit."

PETA's letter to Minister Smith follows. For more information, please visit PETAAsiaPacific.com.


The Honourable Nick Smith, Minister
Ministry for the Environment

Dear Minister Smith:

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia-Pacific (PETA), an affiliate of the world's largest animal rights organisation, which has more than 2 million members and supporters. Thank you very much for your leadership in fighting against climate change and environmental destruction. I know that you are sincere about reducing New Zealand's impact on the environment, so please know that the most effective action that you can take is to adopt a vegetarian diet and publicly advocate the same.

Please consider the following:

A recent United Nations report determined that raising animals for food generates almost 40 per cent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships and planes in the world combined. The report went on to say that the meat industry is "one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global" and recommends that the meat industry "be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity".
Researchers at the University of Chicago in the US concluded that switching from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching from a standard car to a hybrid.
Waste, antibiotics and pesticides from factory farms and slaughterhouses contaminate water sources. Farmed animals produce 13 billion metric tons of excrement a year – that's 48 times as much as the world's human population.
Satisfying humans' appetite for flesh requires fuel to produce fertiliser for the crops that are fed to animals, oil to run the trucks that take them to slaughter, electricity to freeze the animals' carcasses and much more. It takes more than 10 times as much fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of animal protein as it does to produce 1 calorie of plant protein.

Of course, a vegetarian diet is also kinder to animals, who are made of flesh, blood and bone – just as humans are. Animals have the same five physiological senses as humans, and they suffer and feel pain, just as we do.

Given that New Zealand's emissions over the last nine years have grown by more than 16 per cent (one of the highest rates in the developed world), your moral invocation that "doing our share is going to mean doing a lot more than what we have been doing over the last decade" is absolutely correct, and this important cause warrants a change in New Zealand's eating patterns. Will you lead New Zealand and the world in the charge against global warming and environmental destruction by going vegetarian and advocating a vegetarian diet?

ENDS

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