I sent the letter below to The Globe and Mail this past week after reading an excellent column by Paul Shapiro. The letter was published in yesterday's paper (along with a very good letter by Anna Pippus, calling for governments to play a much more active role on these issues).Re If You Don’t Want to Ditch Meat For your own Health, Do It To Avoid Pandemics (April 24): Paul Shapiro’s piece on the many good reasons we should transition away from eating animals mentions the UN’s conclusion that 15% of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to animal agriculture. But the relevant UN Food and Agriculture Organization study looked only at the agricultural operations themselves. An additional 10-15% is attributable to deforestation, which is primarily also related to animal agriculture; we cut down “carbon sink” forests primarily in order to grow crops that are to be fed not to us, but to animals we will then eat.
When we obtain our nourishment directly from plant sources, far, far fewer forests are destroyed; if we transition away from eating animal products, the net positive effect on climate change will be closer to 30% than 15%.