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Why Animal Health is Essential for Human and Planetary Health

  • climate change
  • Nutrition
  • planetary health
  • sustainable diet

Why now?

Our planet needs us! We look at how altering the way that we feed animals, manage them, their space and how we use them impacts planetary health and climate change! A respect for nature is needed if we want to feel great and enjoy our life instead of being greeted by negative news and extreme climate change. It’s happening now and will only get more severe unless we act.

 

Still, Why NOW???!

Well every single day that goes by impacts how our future looks and by focusing more on a sustainable balance with nature, you end up with a much brighter looking future instead of the doom and gloom that is painted in the IPCC report and splashed across media.

 

The food and land we consume with our current diet shows a more sustainable diet and better habitat management is an absolute priority along with many other areas of sustainability to really help create a brighter future that we’re proud to be part of. Rather than asking “Why now?” you have the chance to be able to look at yourself, feel amazing and say “why didn’t I do this sooner?!”

The Pressing Issues

If you’re a believer of Descartes’ thinking, ‘You are what you eat’. 

This phrase has been used time and time again to get people to think about what goes into their stomach, especially when getting a bit greedy and taking in too much, which has consequences.

The planet is warming at an alarming rate, processed foods are leading to increased levels of obesity and diet related conditions and we’re growing and consuming at a rate we can’t sustain. The question is have we come to the realisation that perhaps we really do need to think about the impact of what we consume? 

One thing that will hardly ever cross most people’s minds is the nutrition provided to the animals that we, as humans, will consume and also the impact of feeding these animals in the ‘cost efficient’ way we look to do?!

How ethical would it be to change the diets of animals we consume to make a more sustainable existence for us all and what would be the potential consequences???

With a population of over 26 billion, chickens are an efficient form of farming that plays a vital role in our nutrition, especially with regards to protein supply through meat or eggs. Obviously being kept in an organic free range manner helps reduce the amount of toxins that sit within their system and provide a higher level of nutrients but there is research to suggest that altering their diet and other animals consumed could lead to more sustainable food production.

As the world’s population increases, the demand for poultry meat and eggs is expected to rise by 121% and 65%, respectively, by year 2050 despite a significant rise in meatless meat and a vegan based diet, which equates to more animal feed, more land use and more waste, so thinking about what we can do to increase production efficiency and reduce waste is essential right now.

We have an immediate and pressing responsibility for implementing sustainable solutions.

Land use for farming

About 70% of land is used for farming materials, biomass and food production. As has been abundantly clear for a long time now, the production and maintenance of the supply of beef and lamb not only takes up the biggest space but also has the highest carbon output. In multiple countries, the demand and consumptions of these isn’t sustainable and for the 1.5C change that we are striving towards, it requires an adjustment in the space required for food consumption and importantly, that space being used for afforestation practice rather than just more housing or industrial development.

 

We’ve begun to show improved practices of re-wilding and re-forestation but the need to establish new grounds and increase biomes in areas previously just used to feed livestock is so important. Importantly, 36% of all crops that are used are for the purpose of feeding livestock but only a quarter of this actually being effectively digested so how much do we need to have a diet heavily built on meat and foods that require shipping all over the world?

We need to be smarter with our use of space, our reliance on livestock for food and what we feed them to gain the greatest nutrients if we do choose to have meat.

What can we do that makes a real difference? Have a guess below…

Great Choice or Could Be Better

Local Beef or international grains

What has the greater carbon footprint?

Local Beef

Obviously it is better to avoid Beef and Lamb completely due to their carbon emissions but grain flown from multiple international areas are actually worse for the environment

Afforestation or Mass Tree Planting

Which of these is actually better for the environment?

Afforestation

There is a big difference between tree planting and afforestation. Tree planting can happen very cheaply and does have positive effects, however afforestation adds new plant life to an area, similar to the crops previously grown and not only help carbon capture but also increase biodiversity

Vegan, Keto or Okinawa Diet

What one helps you look the best and take best care of the planet

It's close but Okinawa!!!

While all diets have their perks, the Okinawa diet has sustainably sourced, local food that doesn't require supplements and focuses on naturally occurring oils and a breadth of fresh food so comes out on top here - longest life expectancy, smallest impact and tasty! A Vegan diet significantly helps the planet and animals but can be difficult to avoid processed food and maintain nutritional value. A keto diet will help you lose weight but I wouldn't recommend, as the high fat low carb is damaging for you and not sustainable at all.

What will you do with your diet?

There’s no question that practices are changing and that there are more meat free and sustainable alternatives including exciting dietary innovation. There is also the understanding that in terms on planetary health, having locally sourced meat and food as a whole might be a better options that internally sourced crops from several areas from a sustainable aspect.

The key question that needs answering is “what are you willing to do to tackle climate change?”. Having a sustainable diet and making choices that positively affect the planet aren’t something we can wait.

The planet is ‘sick’ and with a growing trait to over consume, our health is also being put at risk.

 

We can make changes and feel great whilst saving the planet! Now is the time to make a change so what will you do?

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