Two ways to tackle livestock’s contribution to the climate crisis

cows in a crowded feed lot

25 April 2017

BERLIN, Germany - GRAIN and the Institute for Trade and Agriculture Policy (IATP) have produced a hard-hitting fact sheet pointing to the huge role of the industrial meat and dairy complex in destabilising our climate and how we can address it. This fact sheet is a concise call to action, released as two major funder alliances gather in Barcelona and then Paris to assess and strategise on these issues.

Two ways to tackle livestock’s contribution to the climate crisis” points to moving away from industrial meat and dairy and redirecting support to sustainable smallholder systems as the way forward. The emphasis is on these two clashing models. One model mass produces apparently cheap commodities for global markets at huge cost: exploitation of workers and animals, pollution, deforestation and massive climate change, all propped up with enormous public subsidies. The other model feeds communities through local markets, provides livelihoods and employment, and can be far more sustainable and productive but goes invisible and unsupported.

“If we don’t act now, we will overshoot the 2ºC rise in temperature that governments committed to stay below,” warned Shefali Sharma, director of IATP Europe. “It’s crucial that we divest not only from fossil fuels but the industrial livestock complex as well.”

The fact sheet argues that it’s not just a matter of eating less meat. “Citizens and social movements need to get more aware about and mobilise support for small farmers’ and pastoralists’ production systems and local markets” stressed Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN. “We need food system change, not just individual consumer action.”

The EDGE Funders Alliance is meeting in Barcelona on 24-28 April 2017 where support to people’s struggles for agroecology will be a centre of discussion. The Global Alliance on the Future of Food is meeting in Paris on 1-3 May 2017 to discuss the connection between food systems and climate change, followed by an international conference on soils and climate on 3-5 May. GRAIN and IATP will be at these events together with allies and partners.

View the online version of the fact sheet. A PDF version is also included below.


For more information please contact:

Henk Hobbelink, henk@grain.org, +34933011381 (Barcelona)

Shefali Sharma, ssharma@iatp.org, +491771469613 (Berlin)

Renée Vellvé, renee@grain.org, +33675073468 (Paris)

Josh Wise, jwise@iatp.org, +1 9528185474 (Minneapolis)