To the Australian Government and its representative members,
I write to you as a concerned member of the public about a critical issue related to the health and environment of Australians.
In the lead up to the Federal Government elections this year, the major parties are putting out campaigns about their plans to tackle climate change. However, I thought it was odd that none of the major parties have mentioned the number one leading cause of climate change – animal agriculture. If they truly cared about climate change, they’re focusing on the wrong thing.
A full 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the livestock industry, with some estimates including related sources placing the figure at over 50%, compared to just 13% for the transport sector. In western nations it takes 2-2.5 acres of land to grow one cow in a factory farm, while free range farming is even worse, requiring 10 or more times the land usage. Farms also produce significant amounts of waste which ends up in waterways and eventually in the ocean, producing dead zones and harming marine life. Howard Lyman, a former cattle rancher from USA, has stated that “You can’t eat meat and call yourself an environmentalist.”
Further, there are boundless health reasons to adopt a plant based diet, and for a government to promote one. Most chronic health diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity can be cured with a vegan diet, and the risk of cancer is significantly lower. Diet related issues in 2010 contributed to the burden of disease in USA more than smoking, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
The NHMRC claims to be the peak body for health advice and medical research in Australia; however they are out of step with the other major organisations in the world in advocating meat and dairy consumption as part of a healthy diet. They are, willingly or otherwise, harming Australia and costing tax payer billions of dollars a year. I have written an article about the economic benefits of a government run public health campaign around diet with a focus on encouraging a vegan diet, and the low case benefits run into the billions of dollars within a few years (michaeldello.com/?p=802).
Finally, supporting the livestock industry is cruel and unjust. A growing number of your electorate has decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle in order to not be a part of animal exploitation. The average human eats 7,000 animals in their lifetime. In a world where we abhor treating others because they are different (different skin colour, race, gender, sexuality, religious choices etc.), it is unacceptable to continue to treat animals the way we do simply because they are different. Cows are forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk, and their babies are often taken at birth so they don’t take their mother’s milk so that it can get to a human’s mouth. As a result, this is also a feminism issue.
“The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham.
I appreciate that a lot of support to the major parties comes from the livestock industry, and people are concerned about jobs, however, no one could justify protecting the tobacco industry because of its support or its jobs. Here I have demonstrated that the industry is worse than tobacco and cigarettes. We must transition if we claim to respect the lives of human and non-human animals in Australia. This election, I will be urging all of my friends, family and colleagues to not vote for those parties that still support animal agriculture.
Vegan Australia has released a report demonstrating how the Australian agricultural system can be adapted to avoid the necessity for animal farming, which I encourage you to look at.
Many of the facts from this article are taken from the documentary Cowspiracy, which I urge you to watch if any of this is surprising to you.
Please feel free to call or arrange a meeting to discuss.
Feel free to use the material here to send to your own representative in the lead up to the Australian federal election if the issues I’ve discussed are important to you.