A report commissioned by the UK government has urged people to reduce their meat consumption by 30% over the next ten years. Called the National Food Strategy, it was led by businessman Henry Dimbleby.
According to the report, reducing meat intake will be extremely important if the UK is to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The authors recommend replacing meat with healthier foods, including increasing fruit and vegetable consumption by 30%. They also suggest reducing consumption of saturated fat, refined sugar, and salt by 25%.
The report adds that animal agriculture is damaging to health, the environment, and biodiversity, recommending that some agricultural land should be repurposed for tree planting and other environmentally friendly projects.
Meat consumption is already falling in the UK, with some supermarkets closing their meat and fish counters due to falling demand. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a further spike in the number of Brits giving up animal products, and last November, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change recommended that meat should be taxed to help fight climate change.
The National Food Strategy’s conclusions have been applauded by animal welfare charity The Humane Society International (HSI), which said that reducing meat consumption would be vital in order to avoid climate catastrophe.
“The recommendations in the Food Strategy report are bold, visionary, and urgent, and it is imperative that the UK government listens and acts decisively to wean the nation off the vast quantities of cheap meat that are wrecking our health, the environment, and causing immense suffering to billions of animals,” said HSI UK’s Executive Director Claire Bass.