The United Nations Environment Programme says eating less meat can help reduce the risk of a pandemic, and also save the environment.
“At a time when so much of the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been more obvious that the well-being of people and animals, wild and farmed, are intertwined,” said Philip Lymbery, of Compassion in World Farming, which also backed the think tank.
If ecosystems continue to be destroyed, the population’s food supply will be at risk, they warned while announcing a new Chatham House report.
A move towards more plant-based foods are necessary to ensure biodiversity loss will not accelerate, they also said.
In addition, more land needs to be protected, and agriculture needs to become more environmentally friendly, they said.
Natural ecosystems have been increasingly converted into arable land and pasture in recent decades, leading to the loss of animal habitats.
“The intensive farming of billions of animals globally seriously damages the environment, causing loss of biodiversity and producing massive greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate global warming,” said famed primatologist Jane Goodall in the UNEP statement.