(Updated April 21, 2020) | New Zealand researchers are urging the country’s government to end its reliance on animal agriculture. A new report is urging New Zealand to embrace plant-based farming.
The Green Protein Report calls on New Zealand to make the switch for environmental, health, and ethical reasons. The Vegan Society of Aotearoa backed the report.
The dairy industry is one of New Zealand’s largest economical drivers. But the report’s authors say the industry doesn’t address the “true costs” of animal agriculture.
“New Zealand is proud of its global dominance in the dairy market and its alleged clean, green image. However, the true costs, to animals, the environment, and society are not properly reflected,” the authors wrote.
The ‘True Costs’ Of Animal Agriculture
Studies show the environmental impacts of factory farming are much higher than the farming of whole, plant-based foods. Research by the University of Otago revealed a population-wide shift to a plant-based diet could reduce the country’s GHGs by as much as 42 percent.
“In 2015, New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions were 80.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) [and] agriculture comprised approximately 47.9 percent or 38.4 Mt CO2e of this,” the report revealed.
Research shows the consumption of meat and dairy negatively impacts peoples’ health.
The Vegan Society said: “As a result of our excessive consumption of meat and dairy. Kiwis have become obese and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we suffer heart attacks and get cancers, all of which can be reversed by a fully plant-based diet, using mostly wholefoods.”
The Green Report also outlines the welfare problems inherent in animal agriculture. “It is clear that the substantial ongoing welfare problems remain prevalent within the farming of poultry, pigs, cattle, and sheep in New Zealand,” the authors wrote. They continued, “one of the most effective ways to reduce animal suffering is simply to reduce the number of [animals] farmed and killed for human consumption and export.”
New Zealanders Are Ditching Meat
New Zealanders are already shifting away from meat to plant-based foods.
A study from 2019—commissioned by non-profit think tank Food Frontier and plant-based food brand Life Health Foods—revealed that approximately one-third of New Zealanders limit their meat intake.
The report found one in three New Zealanders consciously limited the amount of meat they consumed. They primarily did so for health reasons, but also for animal welfare, price factors, and the environment.