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In a climate crisis, there is no pride in dairy

9 March 2023

Vegan milk alternatives

Image source: Geo-grafika / shutterstock.com


ProVeg calls on Senators to help farmers transition to alternative protein production

US Senators seeking to restrict the labeling of plant-based food and drink through the reintroduction of the Dairy Pride Act should be putting their energies into helping dairy farmers transition to alternative protein production instead.

Even farmers would agree. Food awareness organization, ProVeg International, has interviewed farming organizations in the US and Europe, in a report called “Amplifying Farmers Voices”, and found that farmers are concerned about sustainability and are therefore open-minded about the food they produce, as long as there is a market for it and the market offers a financially secure and resilient future. Restricting the market – through harmful and unnecessary regulation – only poses threats to sustainability.

“Industrial dairy farming is not the future and Senators need to accept this and act upon it,” Lana Weidgenant, US policy and campaigns manager at ProVeg, said.

“Farmers need help to transition to alternative protein production and Senators should be stepping up to offer that help to ensure both the long-term interests of farmers and the protection of the environment,” Weidgenant said.

The Dairy Pride Act seeks to compel the FDA to prevent the labeling of plant-based milks as “milk”. This runs contrary to draft FDA guidance that was published in February 2023 which states that oat and soya milk can be labeled as milk because consumers are not confused by this.

“Instead of squabbling over the naming of products, which is what the Dairy Pride Act is about, we should be introducing legislation that supports farmers in transitioning to more climate-friendly practices,” Weidgenant said.

Science demands food system change

Scientific research continues to reveal the huge damage caused by the meat and dairy industry and the need to transition to plant-based and other alternative protein diets to curb this damage.

This week, a new study highlighting the damaging effect of the dairy industry on the planet – specifically through methane emissions – was published by Columbia University, New York.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, reveals that high methane producing foods like meat and dairy products will push the planet past the 1.5C international target by the end of the century if left unchecked.

Last year, a study from Bonn University published stated that rich countries will need to reduce their meat consumption by up to 75% to meet international climate targets and avoid ecosystem collapse.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), reducing resource-intensive meat production will also help us to feed the 10 billion people expected to be living on our planet in the year 2050.

A separate study found that growing food exclusively for direct human consumption, rather than as animal feed and for biofuel production, could potentially increase available food calories by as much as 70%, which could feed an additional 4 billion people.

ProVeg promotes plant-based diets

ProVeg is supporting a range of solutions to transform the food system. These include its pioneering Incubator program, which helps accelerate plant-based startups to the market through the provision of finance and other support. 

At national and international level, we push for policies to support plant-based diets, including through attendance at the UN climate summits. Other programs include School Plates, which has added over 8 million meals to schools in the UK since its inception, and the Veggie Challenge, which encourages to reduce or eliminate animal-based foods.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]

About ProVeg International

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.

 

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