Vienna, 15 September 2023 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS joins the climate strike in many cities across the world to call for an end to factory farming and a reduction of global meat and dairy production. Accounting for at least one-sixth of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions – and thus more than the global transport sector – these dominant drivers of the climate crisis have been ignored for too long by politicians and industries.
2023 has seen record-high temperatures with the hottest ever measured July, devastating wildfires, floodings, and landslides. Around the globe millions of animals and people alike suffer from the rising heat, threatening livelihoods and destroying homes. Factory farming is a major contributor to harmful methane emissions, the world´s biggest driver of deforestation. A shift towards more plant-based diets is a key factor to reach short-term climate targets and to avoid triggering dangerous tipping points.
“Together with thousands and thousands of people we are marching today for the lives of 80 billion farmed animals, that are raised, fattened and slaughtered across the world every year. We are marching as they account for the most vulnerable creatures who cannot advocate for themselves and we are marching because their lives have been unforgivingly ignored by politics and industry. We need to change to more sustainable diets, and we must end factory farming and drastically reduce meat and dairy production and consumption to free those animals from their daily misery and to keep the world a healthy and thriving place to live in.”
Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS
Why the meat and dairy industry are the culprit
In the public debate the necessity of a transition towards renewable energies is widely discussed and accepted as an essential climate solution. Due to the limited time we have before passing the critical 1.5°C limit from the Paris Climate Agreement, mitigation measures in all sectors are necessary, especially those with short term effects. While carbon dioxide is a long-lasting greenhouse gas heating up the planet for hundreds of years, reduction measures pay off slowly over time. On the contrary, the very potent greenhouse gas methane, which is 84 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe according to the IPCC, is considered a short-term greenhouse gas which makes it essential for climate solutions.
With a 32% share, the livestock sector is the biggest source of human-made methane emissions due to manure management and enteric fermentation of ruminant animals for meat and dairy production. Not only are farmed animals-related methane emissions heating up the planet rapidly, but deforestation for animal feed and grazing cattle are the number one cause of biodiversity and habitat loss, freshwater exploitation and overexploitation of land and resources which are vital for healthy ecosystems. According to a recently published report by FOUR PAWS most industrialised countries must cut down 70-80% on their meat production and consumption to stay within planetary boundaries and align with the 1.5°C heating limit.
Fridays for Future
The climate strike is initiated by the global climate movement Fridays For Future (FFF). Five years after its inception it keeps reiterating its warning messages louder than ever before. What started with Greta Thunberg in August 2018 now is a movement that criticises political indecisiveness, with clear demands: to follow science, limit global heating to 1.5°C and ensure climate justice.
Fridays for Future, is a youth-led and -organised global climate movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. In the three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, she sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day, demanding urgent action on the climate crisis. Since then, she, and other young people all over the world organised weekly strikes, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org