What produces 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide? The animal agriculture sector. According to a new report by animal campaigners, 20 livestock companies contribute more emissions than Britain, France or Germany. And governments subsidize them to do so.

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About 2,500 banks, pension funds and investment firms financed global meat and dairy companies to the tune of $478 billion between 2015 and 2020, according to the Meat Atlas. And the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development predicts meat production will rise by another 40 million tons a year by 2029. China, Brazil, the United States and some European Union members produce the most meat. But lower-income developing countries are trying to get their piece of the shepherd’s pie. Poultry is growing especially fast, with experts predicting that it will account for 41% of all meat protein globally by 2030.

Related: Air pollution from US meat production causes 16,000 deaths annually

Food and agriculture campaigner Stanka Becheva, who works with Friends of the Earth, said, “we need to begin reducing the number of food animals on the planet and incentivise different consumption models,” as reported in The Guardian. Meat industry regulations need to be beefed up, too, “to make sure companies are paying for the harms they have created throughout the supply chain and to minimise further damage.” Banks and investors financing large, intensive projects to produce more animal protein also pose a problem.

Paolo Patruno, deputy secretary general of the European Association for the Meat Processing Industry, minimized having such a meaty role in emissions. “We don’t believe that any food sector is more or less sustainable than another. But there are more or less sustainable ways to produce plant or animal foods and we are committed to making animal protein production more sustainable,” Patruno said, according to The Guardian. “We also know that average GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions in the EU from livestock is half that of the global average. The global average is about 14% and the EU average is 7%.”

Meanwhile, the National Farmers’ Union in England and Wales is going for net-zero emissions by 2040.

Via The Guardian

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