Open letter to politicians: consider plant-based food supplies as a solution for climate warming and biodiversity loss
In an open letter we call on politicians to seriously consider a vegan food supply. Our initiative, in collaboration with the Even No Meat Foundation, is co-signed by 30 organizations. Read below the open letter that has been sent to the permanent Second Chamber LNV committee.
Dear Mrs. Kuiken,
Hereby, we, a collaboration of 32 organizations working in the field of animal rights, nature and environment, offer the attached letter in which we call on the Lower House to seriously consider a vegan food supply. We state that the government does not have enough research into this, while a plant-based diet offers opportunities for people and the environment. Making the animal superfluous in the food chains results in a considerable saving of agricultural land. We would like to hear from you how you respond to the call, and we hope that we can discuss this with you in the short term.
More and more Dutch people are opting for a vegan lifestyle. This starts with a search for better choices by asking critical questions, gathering knowledge and reasoning clearly about that. Veganism is basically an ethical position against the use of animals. But the people who make this choice know that not using animals also makes a significant contribution to climate objectives and reducing the serious loss of biodiversity. So substantial, in fact, that we could return a land area as large as the continent of Africa to farmland if we remove the animal from the food chains worldwide.
Reducing the burden on our lands is, from our own human point of view, the most important argument for betting on a vegan / animal-free food supply. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has established that almost 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock farming. Animals must eat. And a lot too. One cow eats sixty kilos of grass per day . In our country, 40 percent of the total land area is therefore used for livestock . If we remove the animal from the food chain, the naturally poor pastures and corn fields required for animal feed can be transformed into nature reserves. This helps the climate. Trees store much more CO2then grass. In addition , forests are cooling the climate , forests are creating clouds (and therefore rain) and nature reserves offer space for plant and animal species that are threatened with extinction.
According to the largest dietitian associations in the world, it is possible to live healthily on a plant-based diet during every phase of life. Nevertheless, proponents of the livestock industry argue that a vegan diet is not the most healthy or the most sustainable. We would like to invite those people to think more outside the existing frameworks. How can we fully plant our diet and what opportunities does this offer to public health? In which ways can we make better use of the vacant ground surface? How can we use food waste streams instead of animal manure? What can this mean for reducing the manure problem and improving the quality of Dutch drinking water? What opportunities does all this offer society and the economy? And above all: how can we use an animal-free food supply for the Dutch climate and biodiversity?
Almost 40 percent of the EU budget goes to agriculture. Nonetheless, subsidies for livestock farming do not, in net terms, benefit Dutch society . However, the livestock industry accounts for two-thirds of the greenhouse gases of total Dutch food production. The Netherlands is among the top five EU countries that emit the most food-related greenhouse gases. The ambition to change this is already there. Four Ministries wrotein 2016 together to the House of Representatives that the Netherlands wants to be ‘the undisputed leader with the lowest possible emission of greenhouse gases in food production’ within 10 years. A lot still needs to be done for this, because the reality is that the Netherlands is currently the farthest from all European countries to achieve the climate targets.
We humans are all in the same climate boat and will have to solve it together. Let us therefore look at the opportunities it offers if we remove the animal from the food chains by converting the pro-livestock policy into subsidies for nature management, CO2 uptake / storage by nature and the production of vegetable food.
We call on political parties to seriously consider an agricultural system without animals. As far as we are concerned, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the RIVM, the Nutrition Center, the Health Council, Wageningen University and other institutions do far too little research into the benefits, challenges and opportunities of a vegan food supply.
We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope that we can discuss this with you shortly.
This letter is signed by: Dutch Association for Veganism, Even No Meat, Bite Back, Animal Rights, Plenty Food, Sea First Foundation, Sea Shepherd, Vegetarian Association, The Save Movement Netherlands, An Animal A Friend, Animal and Law, Caring Vets, Dutch Geese Protection, Vegan Student Association Groningen, Melief Foundation, Plenty Food Netherlands Foundation, Vegan Church, Animal Emergency Assistance Committee, Network for the promotion of Biocyclic-Vegan Agriculture Netherlands & Flanders, Eyes on Animals, Animal Awareness, Ex-laying hens, Save a Laying Chicken, VeggieSquad, CoralGardening , Smart Parks, Vegan Strike Group, Stichting Belangengroep “Rights for all living things”, Akka’s Geese Paradise, Stichting BeLeef de Peerdegaerdt, Stichting De Leemweg cattle shelter and Stichting De Nobele Hoeve.