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New Lancet Commission Report On Climate Change Ignores Impact Of Livestock Farming

Via IFLScience (which is where science usually goes to die, but still, this is an exception):

Climate change is the greatest challenge to human health, according to the recent Lancet Commission report which calls for action to protect the global population. The report says that tackling climate change could deliver huge public health benefits, largely through phasing out coal, embracing renewable energy, and moving to a low-carbon economy. There is however one crucial issue the report fails to address: meat….

The livestock sector is a large source of global greenhouse gas emissions, with estimates of its overall contribution varying between 18% and 51%. Even in the smallest estimate, the livestock sector emits more greenhouse gas than the world’s transport networks.

According to one set of projections, by 2050 this sector will singlehandedly account for 72% of the total “safe operating space” for human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, 88% of the safe operating space for biomass use, and 300% of the safe operating space for the mobilization of nitrogen compounds in soils and elsewhere. This would lead to irreversible changes, irrespective of any efforts to mitigate climate change in other sectors of the economy.

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General Mills Updates Animal Welfare Policy, Will Only Buy From Cage-Free Poultry Farms

It’s a small step — one that does nothing to eliminate or reduce animal farming. However, given the size of General Mills, it’s a step in the right direction:

To advance toward a more sustainable planet including animal welfare, we will apply and work to achieve the “five freedoms” for all animals in our supply chain

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
  • Freedom from discomfort.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  • Freedom from fear and distress.
  • Freedom to engage in normal patterns of animal behavior.

We commit to working toward 100 percent cage free eggs for our U.S. operations. We recognize that the current avian influenza outbreak has been deeply disruptive to the U.S. egg supply and producers.  As the industry works to rebuild its supply chain, we will work with suppliers to determine a path and reasonable timeline toward this commitment.

 

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Poultry Brand Tyson Promises To Stop Using Human Antibiotics In Chickens By 2017

So, Tyson has said that it will stop using human antibiotics in its chickens within two years.

Hooray?

Maybe.

The change won’t do much to improve the inhumane conditions in which Tyson’s chickens are kept. In fact, if Tyson uses this as a selling point in the company’s ads — and I’m sure it will — it could very easily make things worse by increasing the demand for chicken meat.

But clearly, Tyson is responding to pressure from the public and the government. That’s encouraging. Hopefully, we can keep pushing them — and more importantly, consumers — in the right direction.

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Judge Grants Legal Rights To Two Research Chimpanzees So They Can Challenge Their Confinement

Fantastic, fascinating news.

A New York judge has granted two research chimps the writ of habeas corpus — a move that allows them to challenge their detention.

The decision, says Science magazine, effectively recognizes chimps as legal persons, marking the first time in U.S. history that an animal has been given that right.

— full story at NPR