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Spare the beef, save the planet


"Meat your doom" was the message from Liberation B.C., which called for a 25 per cent reduction in meat, dairy and egg consumption in Vancouver.

The message was delivered to Vancouver City Council's Greenest City Action Team (GCAT) yesterday, asking it to encourage residents to choose green over red.

"We can't sustain meat production," said Glenn Gaetz, Liberation B.C. director. "So do it now as a choice rather than being forced to in the future."

Animal agriculture produces 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's 2006 report, Livestock's Long Shadow.

"Our current meat-centric diet is entirely unsustainable," the letter states. Animals consume 70 per cent of Canada's grains and that could feed people directly.

Gaetz admits its potential adverse effect on jobs in the meat industry, but that could also happen when more people ride bicycles instead of purchasing cars, he countered.

Jack Mandleman, owner of the eco-friendly Red Ribbon Meats (RRM) in Richmond, said, "If I reduce my meat production by 25 per cent, I'd be out of business."

Since 1965, RRM has worked with local meat companies that process locally and it also recycles bone waste.

GCAT, whose members include David Suzuki and Mike Harcourt, is tasked with recommending steps to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world.