Top British barrister Michael Mansfield QC believes eating meat could become illegal.
According to Mansfield, the government should introduce tighter legislation on activities and practices that harm the environment.
In the UK, people used to consider smoking inside normal, but now it’s illegal. Meat can go in the same direction, believes Mansfield. “There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal,” he told the Independent.
Animal agriculture is responsible for a multitude of environmental problems, including high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Last year, the United Nations (UN) revealed that tackling meat consumption is the world’s most “urgent problem.”
The organization stated, “our use of animals as a food production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe.”
In Mansfield’s view, ecocide should be recognized as the 5th international crime against humanity, alongside genocide. Ecocide includes any extensive damage or destruction to the planet and wildlife. It is not currently accepted as an international crime by the UN.
Mansfield told LIVEKINDLY, “it is a vital first step in the recognition of the importance of the environment and the need for accountability.”
‘A Threat to Ecosystems and Human Survival’
Together with animal rights charity Viva, Mansfield presented his views at the Vegan Now campaign panel at the Labour Party Conference last month. “The vegan campaign by Viva is crucial in raising awareness and example,” he said.
Vegan Now focuses on the link between the climate crisis and animal agriculture. It provides information and resources on how to switch to a more environmentally-friendly, plant-based diet.
Mansfield isn’t the only one who believes ecocide should be recognized in law. Extinction Rebellion activists often carry banners with the words “climate crime.” “Exactly,” said Mansfield. “Ecocide.”
“Industrialised/factory farming presents a threat to ecosystems and human survival,” he added. In the Amazon rainforest, for example, cattle ranchers clearing land for beef farming have caused devastating fires, causing harm to wildlife and indigenous people.
“I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal,” he told the Independent.