It's not about being head of the Catholic Church or even being a Christian. Pope Francis has brought a much-needed message to the world - mercy for the animals, the planet and all who suffer. That's why we are calling on him to make the connection between Animal Agriculture and Climate Change.
Sign here for the animals, the earth and the future of our species. Your voice matters! Together we can get this petition to The Vatican!
Pope Francis is already a commited Climate Change campaigner, but we need to make him aware that animal agriculture is harming our planet, farm animals and us.
Pope Francis has billions of followers and admirers and it would have an enormous impact if he spoke out and asked people to take meat of their plate, while making world leaders aware of the impact of animal agriculture on Global Warming.
Make your voice heard and join us on our journey to The Vatican in 2019 when we hand over this petition to Pope Francis and ultimately the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24).
The earth and all its inhabitants need you! Sign today!
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Animal Agriculture and Climate Change
It is a proven fact that livestock factory farming emits more gases into the enviroment than cars and factories put together. It is also the leading cause of species extinction, rainforest eradication and oean dead zones. Not to mention gobbling up 30% of the earth's fresh water and occupying vast swathes of land where nothing else can grow!
Animal Agriculture and Animal Cruelty
Most people are simply unaware of what has been going on behind closed doors at animal factory farms (where most of your meat comes from nowadays). Chickens have their beaks chopped off, male chicks get ground up in mincing machines on the day they hatch, newborn calves get taken away from their mothers within hours of birth, pregnant sows are kept in such small cages they can't turn around and then their piglets have their teeth clipped and their tails and testicles removed - without anesthetic. And that's just some of the horrors that go on!
Animal Agriculture and Our Health
The consumption of animal products is the leading cause of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and obesity, to name a few. Plus, because factory farmed animals are forced to live in such inhumane conditions, they are given antibiotics in large quantities to try and keep them healthy – remember everything these animals are eating, you are eating…
LETTER TO HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Holy Father Francis,
Your Holiness has been an inspiration, not only to Catholics but all people across the globe. Your Holiness has shown great compassion and understanding of the world, which was once again displayed in the Encyclical Letter titled “On care for our common future.” It is clear that your holiness understands that great power comes with great responsibility, therefore, we implore you to extend you compassion even further, to include ALL animals raised and used for human consumption so that in turn you can implore your followers to turn away from animal product consumption in an attempt to save our planet from self-destruction.
I. Pollution and climate change
As your holiness has correctly pointed out, humans' reckless behaviour puts the environment at risk through pollution and climate change. We would like to draw your holiness' attention to the devastating impact of animals', reared for human consumption, on the environment.
Animal agriculture has a greater effect on the environment than all the greenhouse gasses that car exhaust gasses emitted. According to World Watch, 51% percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide can be attributed to livestock and their by-products. To keep up with US consumption, 300 million pounds of meat are imported annually from Central and South America. No single decision we can make as individuals can have such a dramatic effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the decision to reduce or stop meat consumption. With almost every human eating a meat-centered diet, the world's known fossil fuel reserves will last a mere 13 years. They would last 20 times longer if we stopped consuming meat, giving humanity ample time to develop alternative energy sources.
Factory farms are not only inhumane but, also a huge contributor to climate change and pollution. They produce massive amounts of dust and contaminate the air with nitrogen, in particular, ammonia. When cesspools holding tons of urine and faeces get full, factory farmers may circumvent water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, spreading disease. Studies show animal waste lagoons emit toxic substances into the air; chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune and neurochemical problems in humans.
The biggest intervention people can make towards reducing their carbon footprint would be to eat significantly less meat. Meat rich diets result in 7.2kg of carbon dioxide emissions. Vegan diets produce only 2.9kg.
Deforestation for agricultural purposes largely contributes to climate change. From tropical rainforests and Savannah in Brazil and other threatened habitats in South America to ancient pine forests in China, entire ecosystems are being destroyed to fuel humans' addiction to meat. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute,7 football fields worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create pasture land for farmed animals and grow crops that feed them.
The loss of forest and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses. Every year 1000 species are eliminated due to the destruction of tropical forests. Species which our children will never see because they have been lost forever.
It is said that the next world war will be fought over clean water resources. Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce and it continues to be wasted. The amount of water needed to rear animals as well make animal products for human consumption is astounding - 15,415 litres of water is needed to produce a kilogram of beef. Furthermore, animal waste from farms pollutes water resources.
IV. Global inequality and hunger
“The deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet.”
Much of the world's problems could be solved by the reduction or elimination of meat-eating. Livestock pasture needs cutting drastically into the land which could otherwise be used to grow food. At least 20 million people worldwide will die as a result of malnutrition. One child dies of malnutrition every 2.3 seconds. Vast quantities of food, which could feed humans, is fed to livestock raised to produce meat. The percentage of protein wasted by cycling grain through animals is calculated by experts as 90%.
One acre of land can produce 40 000 pounds of potatoes or 250kg of beef. US farmland has 56% of its farmland devoted to beef production. Each pound of beef requires 16 pounds of edible grain and soybeans which could be used to feed the hungry. It takes 25 times less land to feed someone on a plant-based diet than it does to feed a meat-eater since the crops are not being consumed by people directly but cycled through the animal who will be slaughtered for meat. Meat is a rich man's diet. The poor cannot afford it. And as it is clear that there is ever greater inequality in income and living standards in the world, it is not something that should be encouraged.
“Twenty percent of the world's population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive.”
V. Why eat animals?
As your holiness emphasised, we have no right to absolute domination over other creatures, therefore, why do we believe that we have a right to consume them or products derived from them? We have no real dietary need to consume animal products, in fact we are healthier if we do not and as your holiness has said, “it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer needlessly.”
It is not enough, though vitally important, to call for more compassion towards animals and less consumerism. In order to successfully combat the above-mentioned problems, we need to completely cease our consumption of animal products. As your holiness has recognised, attempts to curb consumerism and the degradation of the planet have been largely unsuccessful and what is needed is a change in lifestyle. Your holiness identified that one of the problems is a “lack [of] leadership capable of striking out on new paths.” We submit that your holiness is in a perfect position to lead the world towards a meat-free future in the interest of the environment, animals and humans. “All it takes is one good person to restore hope.”
We believe, as your holiness does, that “human beings, while capable of the worst are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning.” All that they need is a voice of reason in which they can trust to lead them onto the right path.
Marda DeWet & Clea Strydom