Federal MP Introduces Motion to Defund the Meat Industry

Meat is not green. That’s why a Member of Parliament recently introduced a groundbreaking motion in House of Commons, calling on the federal government to tackle the major role that industrial animal agriculture plays in the climate crisis.

Paul Manly, a Green Party MP from the Nanaimo—Ladysmith riding in British Columbia, gave notice of Motion M-96 on June 22, 2021. Although Parliament is now on its summer break, Mr. Manly’s motion could be debated and adopted by the House of Commons when it returns in the fall.

The motion points to clear scientific evidence that industrial animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, noting that emissions from livestock alone make up at least 14.5% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emissions from farmed animals are particularly dangerous because of the high impact of methane on trapping heat in the planet’s atmosphere. The motion also recognizes the secondary impact of animal agriculture, including emissions release through deforestation to free up land for cattle-grazing and feed production.

Despite the devastating impact of the meat, dairy, and egg industries on our planet and the climate, the federal government still subsidizes these highly-profitable businesses to the tune of billions of dollars annually. Farmers also have a special carve-out in Canada’s carbon pricing regime, and are mostly exempt from paying the carbon tax.

Mr. Manly’s motion calls on the House of Commons to ask that the government phase out subsidies to the animal agriculture industry, and ensure that the industry also has to pay its fair share of the federal price on carbon.

The meat industry spends millions of dollars on greenwashing propaganda because it knows that people want to make climate-friendly food choices. A recent months-long investigation by DeSmog into meat industry lobbying records and public relations work showed that Big Meat uses similar tactics to Big Oil to undermine the clear link between their products and climate change.

But the truth is clear—the world cannot stop runaway climate change without a major shift away from industrial-scale animal agriculture. It’s time for governments to acknowledge this reality.

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