World leaders at COP26 missed opportunity to link animal agriculture to climate crisis

FOUR PAWS is disappointed that the role of factory farming has been neglected yet again


Glasgow/Vienna 12. November 2021 – As the UN global climate conference comes to an end, it is obvious that the impact of animal agriculture was not addressed. For two weeks, world leaders, NGOs and industry representatives have discussed means and measures to combat the climate crisis and deal with its consequences. In the first week, numerous governments, including the UK, signed on to a pledge to drastically reduce or stop deforestation by 2030 and a second pledge to significantly lower methane emissions. FOUR PAWS is disappointed that at a global climate conference aimed at stopping the climate crisis, animal agriculture was not mentioned at all.

“While both of these pledges set ambitious goals, world leaders again have failed to address an important factor in achieving those targets: ending factory farming. Animal agriculture, and particularly factory farming, does not only significantly contribute to global methane emissions, but feed production and creation of feeding lots are main drivers behind deforestation. To achieve the targets set in these pledges we must end factory farming, reduce the number of animals we farm and enhance keeping standards in general.”

Josef Pfabigan, President of global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS.

Innovation does not always equal animal welfare

Over 30 governments also signed onto the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), an initiative that calls for significant investments in innovative solutions to make agriculture more sustainable. “While we welcome this initiative, innovation does not always equal animal welfare”, says Dr Martina Stephany, Director of Farm Animals and Nutrition at FOUR PAWS.

If this initiative is to have a serious impact on global emissions, it needs to focus on non-animal based proteins and a shift away from animal agriculture. We can no longer pretend that gadgets or adapting farm animals to be more efficient can lead to long term sustainable developments in the farming sector. We need a fundamental system change in our food production cycles. Only a global transition towards more plant-based protein sources can sustainably lower emissions long term without threatening food security.”

Animal agriculture is a major driver for GHG emissions

While production methods are cruel and cause immense animal suffering to the 80 billion animals raised for food production globally each year, factory farming is no longer only an animal welfare issue. The scientific evidence clearly shows how significant the contribution of animal agriculture is to global greenhouse gas emissions.

As a global animal welfare organisation, FOUR PAWS is determined to rally for the link between animal agriculture and the climate crisis and to put factory farming in the centre of the debate. We call on the governments to support a just transition away from intensive animal agriculture and towards sustainable food production methods at every possible level”, states Pfabigan.

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Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK 

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