On a quiet Saturday, July 25th, which might have been just like any other Saturday, the United Nations (U.N.) dropped a bomb, tweeting this: “The meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s largest oil companies. Meat production contributes to the depletion of water resources & leads to deforestation.”
Thus, out of the blue, this bomb burst in our face, at the least untimely moment. In addition to the senselessness, I found it very unwise and unfavorable in the current circumstances of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, good quality food is needed, not just to live, but to get out of this global COVID-19 pandemic in a healthy manner.
After the bewilderment, responses began. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock Development Officer Anne Mottet tweeted that “that it did not seem right and that it should be corrected.” And so, the string of comments on social media followed. In the end, the tweet was removed.
The International Poultry Council (IPC) rapidly reacted. It said, “This type of communication is not acceptable and is disrespectful of our industry and all the efforts we have made and are making.” Not only this, but “it does not reflect the close collaboration between the IPC and FAO,” as a U.N. body itself. Meanwhile, the Global Livestock Platform, which includes several global animal protein producer organizations, is already taking a stand on the matter.
When I see this and the series of articles of the same nature − of vegan and dystopian overtones − that have recently been published in well-known media, I do not think of a plot or a conspiracy, but rather that we must act now and build on our strength. It seems to me that there is a lot of passiveness, which does not mean that we should ignore the responsibility we have.
At the Latin American Poultry Summit this coming January 2021, we have included in the program a panel discussion entitled “How to improve sustainability of the poultry industry and how to communicate it to the public,” in which experts from the poultry industry and climate change will participate. The rationale behind it is to analyze what we can do to show the public everything that is being done.
It seems to me that this issue of how to communicate is urgent. As an industry, we have the material to prove it, as well as the ability to do so. But do we know how?
What do you think?