Transition to an Irish Vegan Agriculture System

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By James O’Donovan

This report presents an exploration of the costs of our Food Production System Globally and in Ireland and the enormous benefits of Transitioning to a Vegan Agricultural System.  It outlines the principles that need to be taken into consideration for a socially just transition as well as presenting extracts from a range of recent scientific reports advocating for a move towards a plant based agricultural system.  It considers the economic, health and social implications as well as the huge biodiversity and climate change benefits of this transition.  It makes a list of recommendations for actions to enable an immediate and rapid transition to a Vegan Agricultural System in Irelandputting Payment for Ecosystem Services at the heart of Rural Land Management.  This transition would see significant income increases for over 80% of Irish Family Farms while restoring 2.8 million hectares to native forests, grasslands and wetlands.   

Globally a VAS allows a large scale restoration to species rich land ecosystems that will also help to restore our freshwater ecosystems and wildlife.  This transition is the most effective way to deal with what the UN considers to be the most pressing problems facing humanity.  These include human malnutrition (including hunger and obesity), biodiversity loss, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, soil erosion, rural economic development and employment, and pollution.  But it is also an internal human transition to a more compassionate caring world.  This transition will allow other species to no longer live in fear of human beings and to have the space to thrive and live out their lives.  This transition will not happen without a range of initiatives across human society and culture.  These include changes to how our legal system sees and relates to other species, changes in our ethical understanding of our treatment of animals.  Already around the world people are working to bring about this compassionate truly sustainable future.  This vision of a sustainable human society in harmony with other species and nature is already releasing the tremendous energy and effort that will be needed to fully accomplish this worthwhile goal. 

James O’Donovan, Co-Editor of Vegan Sustainability Magazine, June 21, 2019.

You can also download the Executive Summary and individual report chapters here.

WWF Living Planet Report, 2018