Meat & Livestock News

Advocacy Coalition Petitions USDA for Climate-Focused Meat Policy

A robust coalition, encompassing over 250 advocacy groups, scientists, and analysts, is championing a pivotal policy revision at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This group, which includes influential organisations like the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace, has submitted a persuasive letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack. Their primary request is for the USDA to integrate a strategy of reducing meat and dairy consumption into its broader climate change initiatives.

This movement gains context from Secretary Vilsack’s statements at the recent COP28 climate summit, where he acknowledged the significant role of food system emissions in meeting the Paris Agreement’s objectives. The coalition’s letter underscores the urgency for the USDA to consider the environmental ramifications of meat consumption in the United States as part of its climate policy.

The discussions at COP28, which touched upon plant-based diets, did not culminate in actionable policy recommendations for global governments. This gap in policy progression has motivated the coalition to push for a more proactive stance from the USDA.

The issue has also sparked political reactions domestically. Notably, U.S. Representative Mike Flood (R-Neb.) introduced a resolution in December opposing what he termed the UN Food & Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) “anti-beef” stance. This move highlights the complexities and divergent views in integrating agricultural practices with climate policy, particularly concerning meat and dairy consumption.