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Last week, the major international Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a full-page ad praising the sustainability of the meat industry. The ad also attacked the vegan movement, claiming that if every American stopped eating animal products, greenhouse gas emissions would only drop by 0.36-2% globally.
The announcement was, unsurprisingly, paid for by the Beef Checkoff, a program designed to increase beef consumption.
“Beef’s environmental footprint may grab the headlines, but the truth is that eliminating beef is not a realistic solution or one that has an impact on climate change,” one part of the report reads. announcement. He goes on to say that raising cattle really helps protect the planet.
But the claims lack significant evidence. And while the meat industry’s editorial crises aren’t a new concept (see the similar ads it has placed in WSJ and The New York Times in 2019), they are arguably more damaging than ever.
The global climate emergency is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to spread disinformation on such a scale (the WSJ distributes about 2,834,000 copies a day).
So here is an open letter to the publication, urging them to correct the ad. You can read the full version below.
Dear Wall Street Journal, Dear Mr. Murray,
We have been forwarded the attached advertisement with manipulated science displayed in the the Wall Street newspaper August 14, and we would like to ask for your help in rectifying the ad, because continuing to promote the consumption of beef will cause enormous damage to our planet.
This ad is based on questionable data. It is not credible and contradicts data supported by international scientific reports and data from institutions such as FAO, UNEP and IPCC (main international sources of climate data).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for example, states:
Total emissions from livestock in the world: 7.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, which represents 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions … Cattle (raised for both beef and milk, as well as for inedible products such as manure and pulling power) are the animal species responsible for the most emissions, accounting for around 65 percent of emissions from the livestock sector … the production and processing of animal feed (this includes land-use change) and enteric fermentation in ruminants are the two main sources of emissions, accounting for 45 and 39 percent of total emissions, respectively.
The US figures for animal production are lower but generally do not include emissions caused elsewhere, for example for animal feed production, usually in South America, which is a key driver of greenhouse gas emissions. tight.
Switching to a plant-based diet could reduce your food emissions by up to 50%.
We just launched Diet Change Not Climate Change representing the facts with precision.
We would prefer the the Wall Street newspaper to disassociate itself from the advertising, and a confirmation that it will no longer publish such misleading data.
We would be grateful if you could forward this message to the appropriate department within the the Wall Street newspaper.
Jasmine from Boo,
Vice-President, ProVeg International
Director of plant news
Update Friday 27 11:52 BST
The article has been updated to correct the CCF involvement in the production of the Beef Checkoff Ad. The CCF asserted that it had no involvement in the production of the WSJ advertisement, nor in the production of the beefwhatsfordinner.com website. Plant Based News has updated the article accordingly.