Good food, healthy planet

Take action: Demand truth in labeling. Tell the USDA to require honest, transparent labels so we know how our meat was produced, and we'll send you our new guide to avoiding factory-farmed meat and dairy.

Eat less and better meat and dairy and more plants. When you eat less meat, you can afford better.

Buy local and direct whenever possible.
It's often more affordable for you and more profitable for the farmer. Connect directly with farmers by shopping at your local farmers market, or visiting LocalHarvest.org or EatWild.org, where you can find products directly from farmers, community supported agriculture farms or quality meat suppliers.

Try Meatless Monday and explore dishes with more beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables and grains. Find recipes at vegweb.commeatlessmondays.org; vegetariantimes.com/recipe. Good info on protein quantities in vegetables here

Ask your local supermarkets and restaurants (including chains) to carry more plant-based options and to source more humane, pasture-raised, and/or organic meat and dairy products and wild-caught (non-GMO fed), sustainable seafood. Leave comment cards, speak to the manager and post on their Facebook pages.

Choose veggie protein dishes when you are out, unless the menu says the meat is organic, pasture-raised or grass-finished, or the seafood is wild-caught and sustainable.

What we eat has a huge impact on our health and the environment. No food has a bigger impact than meat.

The way meat, dairy and eggs are produced -- and the growing consumption of these products -- comes at a very high cost to our health, the environment, animal welfare, and workers. The meat at the center of many plates is also at the center of some of our world’s greatest ecological and public health threats: deforestation, habitat destruction, water scarcity, climate change, water pollution, diet-related disease, antibiotic resistance, intolerable animal cruelty and more.

Our Good Food, Healthy Planet campaign aims to address these issues by dramatically reducing consumption of animal products, while increasing access to and availability of sustainable meat and organic plant-based proteins on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. We also advocate for better policies and regulations to reduce the harmful environmental, animal welfare, public health and worker impacts of industrial agriculture and push for greater public investment in more sustainable, affordable, local, just, organic food production. 

The science is clear: a diet with less meat and more plant-based, organically grown foods is far better for our health and the planet.

When you eat less, you can afford better. Certified organic, humane and/or pastured animal products are better for your health, the environment, animals, workers, and independent farmers and ranchers. They often taste better too! No matter what kind of meat and other animal products you eat, eating less is one of the simplest ways to have the big positive impact on your health and the planet.

But we can’t just expect individuals to change: businesses and government must be part of the solution. Restaurants, institutions and other businesses that provide 50 percent of American meals must also be part of the solution by serving less meat and putting more sustainably produced plant-based proteins on the menu. Supermarkets too must ask their suppliers to carry more certified sustainable and humane meat and dairy products. Government policy must also play a key role. We advocate for stronger regulation of factory farms, fewer subsidies for chemical intensive monoculture crop production, unsustainable grazing and animal factories, reduced support for meat-centric diets, and greater investment in organic, local, just, ecological agriculture.

Why less and better?

  • Lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Less exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and cancer-causing dioxins
  • Cleaner water (less pesticide, manure and nitrate pollution)
  • Smaller carbon footprint 
  • Huge water savings
  • More land to grow food for people
  • More habitat for bees, butterflies and other critters
  • Less animal suffering 
  • Better conditions for farm workers
  • Supports our independent family farmers and ranchers

Background 

Most meat, poultry, eggs and dairy sold in the U.S. come from factory farms -- where animals are often raised in cruel, cramped and unsanitary conditions. In order to prevent disease and promote faster growth, they are frequently pumped with hormones, growth additives and daily doses of antibiotics. They typically eat a diet of subsidized GMO grains and legumes grown with large amounts of toxic pesticides and fertilizer which pollute our rivers and groundwater. Raising billions of animals in confined feedlots generates mountains of toxic manure that pollutes our air and water. Overuse of antibiotics contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistance, one of our most serious public health problems. Animal agriculture is also a major driver of climate change, habitat destruction and deforestation.

The good news is that we can all be a part of the solution. We can dramatically reduce the impacts of animal agriculture and change the face of factory farming by making different choices about what we put on our plates each and every day. Eating less and better meat and dairy is one of the simplest ways to have the big positive impact on our health and the planet.

Every day that we eat, shop or order food out in restaurants, we can be part of the change that is needed to align our diets with a healthier planet. We also need to vote with our vote and demand better government policies that provide fairness for farmers and protect public health, workers, the environment and the animals.


Resources

Friends of the Earth's comments urging the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to emphasize the health, environmental and economic benefits of less meat and dairy on America’s plates and restaurant menus

Friends of the Earth, NRDC and partner comments to the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef

Friends of the Earth’s comments to the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef on sustainable beef and consumption

Presentation, “Food and Climate: What You Put on Your Plate Matters,” at joint Harvard School of Public Health and Culinary Institute of America-sponsored Menus of Change Conference. 

More Spin than Science: The Latest Efforts to take Down Organics," CivilEats.com

"Assault on Organics: Ignoring Science to Make the Case for Chemical Farming,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's July Extra magazine

Friends of the Earth’s letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in support of a petition to require third-party certification of sustainability and humane claims on meat labels

Friends of the Earth’s letter of support for Massachusetts legislation that would ban extreme animal confinement and California legislation that would ban use of antibiotics in healthy animals.

Meat Atlas, Friends of the Earth Europe and Heinrich Böll Foundation

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