Meatwashing at COP28

Greenwashing, COP28. By Sue Coe.

A growing body of scientific evidence implicates animal agriculture in our planet’s most significant ecological threats, including biodiversity loss and the escalating climate crisis. Consumers and government officials are beginning to pay attention. In response, agribusiness is propagating false narratives to confuse the public and policymakers — most recently, government and business leaders at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference, COP28 in Dubai.

Along with factory farming giants like JBS, marketing groups like the Global Meat Alliance, whose mission is to “create a positive global narrative for the meat industry” and the Global Dairy Platform whose slogan is “Dairy. Everyday. Around the world.” are promoting animal agriculture’s messaging at COP28. Like the tobacco industry which used specious research and deceptive narratives to obfuscate alarming health risks linked to smoking, factory farming interests are concocting misleading stories about being “climate-friendly,” “sustainable,” and even “regenerative.” Do not believe them.

Killing animals for food is inherently cruel and inefficient, and even if some forms of animal farming are less environmentally destructive than others, shifting to eating plants instead of animals is fundamentally better. In the United States, we use 10 times more land to feed farm animals than to feed people, plus we are destroying forests, rivers, and precious ecosystems around the world to produce meat, dairy, and eggs.

It is time that we come to terms with the fact that we can feed more people with less land and fewer resources by transitioning to a plant-based food system. Any serious conversation about mitigating the climate crisis needs to focus on preventing the harms of animal agriculture.

Gene Baur is the President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary and has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, Gene has worked to end factory farming and advocated for a just and compassionate food system. He is the author of two best-selling books, and his work has educated millions and inspired an international farm sanctuary movement. Sue Coe is an artist and the co-author (with Alexander Cockburn) of Dead Meat.