Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Animal rights campaigners cook up a meat-free Monday 台灣版週一不吃肉 九二一開跑


If you want to live a healthy low-carbon life, eating less meat and more vegetables could be an effective and practical way of doing it, according to the organizers of the Meat-Free Monday campaign.

Following the lead of famous British singer and former Beatle Paul McCartney, who is promoting the Meat-Free Monday campaign, some local activists are launching a “Meat-Free Monday platform” in Taiwan on Sept. 21.

Alex Su, a vegetarian writer and one of the platform’s founders, says it’s vital that the campaign to wean people off meat eventually bears fruit. “Nature’s counterattack is reminding Taiwan that it is time to actively protect our environment,” he says. Su points out that, according to statistics compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2006, livestock production, not humans, is the biggest producer of carbon dioxide, as it accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — a bigger share than the petrochemical industry, cars, and motorcycles, which were mistakenly thought to be the major causes in the past.

The goal of the platform is to encourage people to keep their tables free of meat on Mondays and ask restaurants to offer their customers meat-free dishes as one-third of all items on the menu on that day. It will also work with supermarkets to introduce vegetarian counters, and with airlines to offer vegetarian meals on board. It will hold a meat-free forum and invite the mayor of Ghent in Belgium, which is known around the world for promoting Thursday as a vegetarian day, to give a speech. At the same time, it will cooperate with the media by flasing up Meat-Free Monday reminders during TV shows.

Su says the demand for meat products has been growing at an astonishing speed. The growth of the livestock industry has led to forests being destroyed to make room for pasture, while a massive amount of carbon dioxide is created during the production of both frozen meat and processed meat products. Tree planting as a means of protecting the environment takes three to five years to yield results. Transforming the petrochemical industry will be even more difficult. Meat production is the prime culprit of global warming, but it’s an area that’s relatively easy to improve.

Su said that the platform will set a two-year goal. It will first try various methods to turn meat-free Mondays into a habit, calling on the government to declare Mondays to be veggie days throughout Taiwan within the first year. Then, in the second year, it hopes to make the country a starting point to link up with likeminded groups worldwide and get all major countries in the world to join the Meat-Free Monday campaign.<>P>(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG)







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