Defra denies the switch to a vegan diet email

Following up on a couple of items – the first one about a leaked email from the Environment Agency in which it advised that if the public switched to a vegan diet it would be better for the environment.

Defra have gone into denial mode/put a spin doctor on it.

Report from the Faaarmers Guardian:

Environment Agency denies trying to convert the public to switch to vegetarian diet

News | 31 May, 2007
By Tom Levitt

A GOVERNMENT agency has denied allegations that it is secretly trying to convert the public to vegetarianism.

A leaked e-mail from the Environment Agency was reported to have advised that if the public switched to a vegan diet it would be better for the environment. It allegedly added that this would have to be introduced gradually so as not to alienate the public.

However, the agency said this week that it had no intentions of stopping the British public from eating meat.

“Promoting the potential benefits of a vegan diet in tackling climate change was a suggestion offered by a member of the public,” said a spokeswoman.

“The Environment Agency believes this is a matter of personal choice, but it would be wrong of us to dismiss the already very public research showing the benefits that reducing the consumption of animal protein, and therefore methane emissions from farm animals, can have on tackling emissions,” she said.

She said the email was in response to a public enquiry about last year’s World Environment Day – this year’s takes place on June 5 – and advised the public what they could do to help tackle climate change.

Another Government department, Defra, was forced to backtrack on similar comments back in February after a Government website, launched to advise people how to be greener, said livestock production was bad for the environment.

» Full story

Additionally: A comment on the ScouseVeg mailing/discussion list by Gina on the subject:

“To add to the Telegraph article, when I first became veggie in the 80’s
there was an interesting report linking a vegetarian or vegan diet to the environment.

It suggested that land could be used to a greater advantage by producing vegetable protein for direct human consumption rather than feeding it to beef cattle for humans to get protein second-hand. It takes 20lb of vegetable protein to produce 1lb of meat protein.

Over 80% of the world’s agricultural land is used for feeding animals and less than 20% for feeding humans directly. Huge amounts of grain are imported from under-developed countries to feed cattle. The world food problem could be eased if these products were available as food for the populations which produce them. “

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