Vegetarianism and global warming

This was originally posted on the Voices of CAA Blog, which got fatally dismembered in a CMS upgrade.

There’s been a lot of news about vegetarianism and global warming. The New York Times recently reported :

The biggest animal rights groups do not always overlap in their missions, but now they have coalesced around a message that eating meat is worse for the environment than driving. They and smaller groups have started advertising campaigns that try to equate vegetarianism with curbing greenhouse gases.

It’s very tempting to try to ride on the tail of the latest trend and news topic, and I’m not denying that there may be credibility to the claim that eating meat is bad for the environment.

However, I’m very skeptical that animal advocacy organizations should be pushing this argument. If next year it’s proclaimed that eating fish is the best solution to global warming, what are animal activists going to say? That global warming is not important? I don’t know that this will happen, but if diet fads are an indication, vegetarianism could be the savior one moment and a villain the next.

I believe that we should push our strongest argument: our treatment of farm animals is unjust and unnecessary. I also think sincerity goes a long way. If your name is ‘Compassionate Action for Animals’, people are more likely to trust what you have to say about animals and morality, not environmental science and policy.