"The “gigantic” power of the meat and dairy industries in the EU and US is
blocking the development of the greener alternatives needed to tackle the
climate crisis, a study has found.
The analysis of lobbying, subsidies and regulations showed that livestock
farmers in the EU received 1,200 times more public funding than plant-based
meat or cultivated meat groups. In the US, the animal farmers got 800 times
more public funding.
The money spent on lobbying the US government by meat producers was 190 times
more than for the alternatives and was three times higher in the EU. The
researchers also found that almost all dietary guidelines avoided highlighting
the environmental impact of meat production and bans on alternative products
using terms such as “milk”.
Cutting meat consumption in rich nations is vital to tackling the climate
crisis. Livestock production causes 15% of all global greenhouse emissions.
Cutting meat and dairy consumption also slashes pollution, land and water use,
and the destruction of forests, with scientists saying it is the single biggest
way for people to reduce their impact on the planet.
“The power of the animal farming sector, both in the US and in Europe, and the
political influence they have is just gigantic,” said Prof Eric Lambin, who
conducted the study with Dr Simona Vallone, both at Stanford University, US.
The researchers concluded that “powerful vested interests exerted their
political influence to maintain the system unchanged and to obstruct
competition created by technological innovations”.
Lambin said: “We found that the amazing obstacles to the upscaling of the
alternative technologies relates to public policies that still massively fund
the incumbent system, when we know it’s really part of the problem in terms of
climate change, biodiversity loss and some health issues.”
The researchers said that tackling the problem would require government
policies that ensured the price of meat reflected its environmental costs,
potentially via taxation, increased research on alternatives, and better
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics