Will the Next United Nations Climate Conference Go Vegan?

PETA Calls for COP 22 to Right COP 21's Wrongs by Serving Eco-Friendly, Plant-Based Meals

For Immediate Release:
December 16, 2015

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

At the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 in Paris, 196 countries agreed to approve a plan to combat global climate change that included a call for more vegan eating. But the meals served at the conference were far from “green,” prompting PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—to send a letter to the U.N. today calling on officials not to repeat this year’s mistake and to ensure that next year’s COP 22 in Morocco sets an example by serving only vegan meals.

“The U.N. itself has acknowledged that a global shift toward vegan eating is imperative both for slowing climate change and for eradicating global hunger,” writes PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “COP leaders must surely set an example, eating as if they mean business, enjoying only planet-friendly vegan foods during COP events.”

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PETA’s letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres follows.

December 14, 2015

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Dear Mr. Secretary-General and Ms. Figueres,

We send our best wishes concerning the adoption of the agreement to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions and congratulate you on including conscientious consumption as a necessary part of the strategy to reduce carbon emissions and protect our planet.

It’s of concern, therefore, that the meals at COP21 were far from “green.” A Financial Times editorial called the lack of even vegetarian food “disconcerting” for committed environmentalists, and a reporter for The Huffington Post wrote of being unable to find adequate “wholesome” meat-free options during the summit.

As you must know, the meat industry is responsible for 85 percent of soil erosion in the U.S., and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers the farming of animals to be the number one source of national water pollutison. In the U.S., more than 50 percent of all water use is dedicated to the raising of animals for food. More than one-third of fossil fuels and raw materials also go toward the farming of animals. The U.N. itself has acknowledged that a global shift toward vegan eating is imperative both for slowing climate change and eradicating global hunger.

On a global scale, the farming of animals for food releases a substantial percentage of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. The Worldwatch Institute also points out that “[r]oughly 2 of every 5 tons of grain produced in the world is fed to livestock, poultry, or fish; decreasing consumption of these products, especially of beef, could free up massive quantities of grain and reduce pressure on land.”

You have recognized the negative impact that the farming of animals has on the planet, but COP leaders must surely set an example, eating as if they mean business, enjoying only planet-friendly vegan foods during COP events.

It’s imperative that COP22 not repeat the mistake of COP21 by ignoring the largest contributing factor to global climate change. May we hear from you that you’re committed to making COP22 a completely vegan event in 2016?

We’re available to provide vegan meal planning assistance. I look forward to your reply.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk
President
PETA

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind