Edward McMillan-Scott, an MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, is a Vice-President of the European Parliament. His portfolio includes Democracy and Human Rights. He sits as an independent and sumarises
In 2006, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) based in Rome issued its 400-page ground-breaking report, Livestock's Long Shadow. It gave a stark warning: "The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond itspresent level."
The economist Lord Stern, author of a major report on the economic impact of climate change, recently observed, to some controversy: "Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world's resources. A vegetarian diet
The better news is that a modest change to our eating habits can have a major effect on the rate of climate change. Even better is that vegetarians have 28 per cent less heart disease, 39 per cent lower cancer mortality and suffer 50 per cent less diabetes. In my own case, not eating meat dropped my "bad" cholesterol by 27 per cent.
Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, warned that global warming poses a “real and present danger” to the health of millions.
His report suggests that tens of thousands of lives a year could be saved in Britain alone by cutting the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. The move would significantly cut emissions and save around 18,000 lives a year from heart disease alone, they estimate.
Alan Dangour, one of the authors of the report and a senior lecturer at the London School of School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that a dramatic change could be made without having to give up meat.
“We are not saying become vegetarian, we are just saying cut back on the amount of meat and meat products you eat," he said.