MPs to go Meat Free?

7th September 2010
news
release

Manchester MP John Leech has responded to Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigners by submitting a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for catering authorities at the Houses of Parliament to go “meat-free” on Mondays. [1]  The EDM (EDM 669) has been tabled for MPs to sign this week as they return from the summer recess.

The “Meat Free Monday” campaign is being promoted in Manchester by Manchester Friends of the Earth [2], and by environmental campaigners and other groups and bodies right across the UK. It encourages local authorities, schools and other public and private bodies to provide an animal-free menu at least one day per week to help tackle environmental and diet-related health problems.

MP for Withington John Leech said:

“Farming and slaughtering animals is now recognised as a significant contributor to today’s greatest environmental problems. According to the United Nations, livestock farming could be responsible for up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. [3]

“As well as saving carbon, reducing the amount of meat in our diets will also help improve health.

“Parliament could send a powerful message and set a great example by designating one day a week as Meat-Free.”

Livestock uses far more land and resources than other food sources and the livestock supply chain also generates significant impacts. Amazon rainforest is being cleared to grow soy which is then transported across the Atlantic merely to feed to animals in the UK. In addition the methods used to process an animal into meat are both highly energy and water intensive and polluting. [4]

Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner Benjamin McCarron said:

”We’re delighted that John Leech is working on this and taking it to Parliament. In the recent past, MPs have come in for a lot of criticism, so it’s great to see a local MP setting a positive example.

“At a time when, for one reason or another, many people are thinking again about things they took for granted, more and more people are having another look at how much meat they eat [5] and how much it costs, and finding out that it’s actually fun to try out new cuisines and switch to a non-meat and fish diet at least one day a week.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Link to the EDM 669

[2] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations.  Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland: www.foe.co.uk

[3] Link to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation press release on climate change impacts of food

[4] Friends of the Earth is calling for the UK government to move towards planet-friendly farming with its Food Chain Campaign: www.fixthefoodchain.com.

[5] The “top five” most common reasons given by the public to Manchester Friends of the Earth Food campaigners this summer for “thinking about how much meat I eat” are:

1. the cost, 2. their health, 3. the environmental impact of meat, 4. world hunger and 5. their concerns over animal welfare.