This letter was sent to GuelphToday.com by Mo Markham with Guelph Climate Save and Kitchener-Waterloo Climate Save. It deals with how tax money should not be used to fund environmentally destructive industries.
It's irresponsible and inconceivable that, in the midst of a climate crisis caused in no small part by farming billions of animals, our governments continue to donate our tax dollars to the dying, destructive animal agriculture industry while simultaneously telling us they're working to mitigate the climate catastrophe. When they're not studying animal agriculture, as they are at the new "swine" research centre in Elora, they're bailing it out, because it's not sustainable on its own.
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the UN issued a code red for humanity three months ago; when more than 15,000 scientists from across the world issued a SECOND warning to humanity that includes the necessity to decrease meat; when scientists from Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, John Hopkins and other universities across the planet have told us we must transition to plant-based foods to have a livable future; when COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, is actually underway; when millions of people are dying of starvation every year and farm animals are a net sink of food; when our own Canada Food Guide, finally based on science rather than industry pressure, is telling us we should eat more plant-based food for our health and the planet's health ... this is a time to be sinking more tax dollars into animal agriculture rather than into transitioning to a plant-based food system???
Animal agriculture uses more than 80% of the farmland on the planet and returns only 18% of the calories we consume, according to Oxford University. With our ever-increasing human population, that's clearly NOT sustainable. The UN says animal agriculture creates more GHG emissions than all transportation. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of GHG, deforestation, ocean dead zones, freshwater use, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and species extinction. Animals eat food, drink water, and create excrement and GHG emissions every day for months or years before they become food.
The University of Guelph and our governments pretending we can make this bad situation better by pouring millions of dollars into studying it doesn't change reality. Oxford University and numerous other well-respected universities studied nearly 40,000 farms across the world; their conclusion was that WE DON'T HAVE TIME for animal agriculture … in any form.
So why is the government not studying transitioning to plant-based foods? Why are they not putting these millions of dollars into transitioning our food system and educating the public about all the amazing plant-based options out there instead of subsidizing this industry? Because this industry has a great deal of lobbying power, which our governments bow to. And, sadly, some of our institutions of higher education do too.
Ford continues to dismantle environmental protections; build highways with money that needs to go to public transportation; and continues to donate our tax dollars to animal agriculture. We must all demand more of our governments and our institutions, and let them know that we won't accept such irresponsible and short-sighted behaviour. They're not going to stop on their own.