Letters to the Editor: Animal farming costs too much for planet earth

 Letters to the Editor: Animal farming costs too much for planet earth

'According to Our World in Data, if everyone shifted to a plant-based diet, we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%.'

Why are we still farming animals when it’s becoming increasingly clear that animal agriculture is no longer fit for purpose in our rapidly changing, climate-challenged world? 

We are locked into a system of food production about as inefficient as one could imagine. For instance, in order to produce 1kg of wheat, an average of 2.5kg of greenhouse gases are emitted, whereas a single kilo of beef creates on average 75kg of emissions. 

According to Our World in Data, if everyone shifted to a plant-based diet, we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%.

Animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions (14.5% of total GHG emissions, the figure most frequently cited). Individual citizens can go car-free, take showers instead of baths, recycle until blue in the face, but research shows the single most effective action to reduce carbon footprint is to radically reduce or eliminate meat intake and switch to a plant-based diet.

Most health professionals and health promotion bodies accept that the consumption of red meat and processed meat carries significantly greater risks of heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and a higher incidence of diabetes. Medical research and extensive studies consistently show this to be true.

Animal agriculture is a massive polluter of land and freshwater systems. What is less well known in the general population is agriculture’s close links to the emergence, and spread, of new and potentially deadly pathogens.

Let us not forget about the animals: stated bluntly, animal agriculture is a disaster for all farmed animals, intensively or extensively farmed, for all will suffer the same, early (chickens at 38 days; pigs at 6 months, cows at 3/4 years) brutal fate at the slaughterhouse.

A wide-ranging public debate on animal agriculture and where it fits into our vision of a sustainable, healthy, ethically-based future is long overdue. The animal agriculture industry and its influential and ubiquitous lobbyists have had it their own way for too long. It’s time to redress the imbalance.

Gerry Boland

Keadue, Roscommon

Revenge not best form of defence

There is a huge difference between defence and revenge; governments and peoples of every civilised nation on this earth should say that to the Israeli government, in the clearest and most emphatic way that they can.

Tim Buckley

White Street, Cork City

Irony of ethnic cleansing in Gaza

The suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust was truly horrific and those who turned a blind eye to it share in the shame and guilt of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.

Is it not then supremely ironic that the Jewish nation, whose people more than any others endured such pain, humiliation, and death, should now itself inflict a genocide of its own upon its Palestinian neighbours? What is taking place right now in Gaza is ethnic cleansing in all but name — a whole people hunted from their homes, deprived of vital supplies, annihilated under a rain of bombs and missiles.

Those of us today who turn a blind eye to this massacre, notwithstanding our rightful condemnation of the recent appalling attack on Israeli citizens, are going to find ourselves on the wrong side of history once again, with blood on our hands through our silence.

How can a nation whose people endured so much grief and suffering less than a century ago now be so ruthless and lacking in mercy towards another people, a people after all, who have lived under an essentially apartheid regime of forcible occupation of their own lands, internationally recognised as such since as long ago as 1948, and many of whom do not even remotely support the methods of Hamas in Gaza? What, for instance, is the crime for which innocent children in Gaza have been collectively punished, traumatised, and killed so far in their thousands?

Surely it is beyond time for every nation to call a halt to these devastating hostilities rather than escalate them, continue negotiation for the release of the unfortunate hostages, and show some compassion towards the ordinary Palestinian people who are bearing the brunt of Israel’s retaliatory onslaught?

Sinéad Boland

Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow

Silence of Church leaders deafens

The silence of so many Western church leaders and theologians of all denominations to the cries for justice from the people of Gaza, whether Muslim or Christian, shows the world, once again, how religious leaders are failing to stand up for the oppressed.

This is nothing new as the Bible has been weaponised by church leaders through the centuries to justify the ethnic cleansing and enslavement of South America, Africa, Oceania, and South African apartheid.

The biblical tradition of justice, mercy and peace, as preached by Moses, the Jewish prophets and Jesus Christ, was and continues to be ignored by Church leaders to ingratiate themselves and curry favour with unjust oppressors.

Jesus of Palestine, in particular, preached a God of compassion whose sole passion is for justice and who takes the side of the powerless and oppressed.

This Palestinian was not afraid of denouncing the unjust cruelty of the Romans against his people and for which he was executed as a criminal on a cross.

There is still time for Church leaders to stand up and follow the example of Jesus Christ and so many other prophetic figures down through the centuries to respond to the cries of the Gazan people for justice and peace.

Brendan Butler

Drumcondra, Dublin 9

RTÉ news statistics mislead on welfare

On October 23, on RTÉ News: Nine O’Clock, statistics were displayed supporting an argument that, in Ireland, an allowance for job seekers seemed disproportionately higher than other EU states. I wouldn’t disagree. 

But, of the countries with which we were compared, and, in general terms, Ireland happens to be one of the most expensive countries in the EU. This wasn’t noted in the item. 

Does RTÈ still take the people who fund the station for fools? If Kevin Bankhurst desires to implement transparency within the organisation of RTÈ, it might be a reasonable request to start with the news?

Marcus Crothers Fitz-Gerald

by email

RTÉ should put Irish sports first

The RTÉ News: Six One evening bulletin on October 29 was followed, as usual, by the sports bulletin. The lead item covered was a comprehensive soccer report and footage of the goals scored in the English Premiership. 

This was followed by a short report on the URC match featuring Munster and Benetton. Bringing up the rear were very short reports on the county hurling finals. These club finals are the second most important sports events in the GAA calendar, next only to the All Ireland senior football, hurling and camogie championships.

The final item covered was about a minute-long report on the Dublin City Marathon, one of the most iconic and important events in Ireland’s sporting fixture list. This inferiority complex should have exited the gene pool long ago.

It seems English Premiership football is now regarded by RTÉ as Ireland’s domestic soccer league. This is not to suggest English football be ignored by RTÉ but surely important Irish sporting events should receive appropriate air time. 

As the national broadcaster and a publicly funded institution, RTÉ has a duty to project a distinctly Irish world view. Giving Irish sports fair coverage on Irish television and radio would be a good start.

Tom Cooper

Templogue, Dublin 6

They don’t Makem like Tommy

A wonderful stop-and-listen interlude on Sunday Miscellany last week. It was Tommy Makem singing ‘Hear The Wind Blow’, with that lovely tremor in his voice. Hopefully, Tommy, you are resting in peace with the wind ever blowing gently over you.

Tom Gilsenan

Dublin 9

Andy and Bundee are Irish heroes

Andy Farrell has been named World Rugby Coach of the Year — well deserved. Sadly, although he was in the running, Bundee Aki did not get named Men’s 15s Player of the Year. Rest assured Bundee, you are Ireland’s Player of the Year. Well done to both men.

John Fair

Castlebar, Co Mayo


Check out our Sustainability and Climate Change Hub where you will find the latest news, features, opinions and analysis on this topic from across the various Irish Examiner topic desks and their team of specialist writers and columnists.

More in this section

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy Brand Safety FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Examiner Echo Group Limited