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Livestock and climate change film and debate

“This movie is about over and under-consumption; the trick about sustainability is to find a balance” explained Ulf Bjornholm Ottosson - Head of UNEP’s Brussels Liaison Office to the EU institutions - during a panel discussion after the screening of the livestock and climate film Cowspiracy in Brussels on 7 October.


The US documentary was screened at the Italian Cultural Institute as a joint initiative by the United Nations Regional Information Centre, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and UNEP.


The documentary follows US filmmaker Kip Andersen as he investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations seem too afraid to talk about animal agriculture, including fishing, as “the most destructive industry facing the planet today,” as he puts it.


The film outlines the impacts of animal agriculture on climate change and suggests that people become vegans. The movie builds on observations made in the ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’ report produced in 2006 by the FAO.


The screening was followed by a question and answer session with a panel made up of - other than Mr. Ulf Bjornholm - Ms. Rosita Zilli, Deputy Secretary of the European Community of Consumer Co-operatives and Mr Henning Steinfeld, Chief of Livestock Sector Analysis and Policy at the Animal Production and Health Division of the FAO and main author of the Long Shadow report.


Worldwide, one third of all food is wasted and many NGOs are working to reduce food waste and food loss, Ms. Zilli pointed out. Meanwhile, Mr. Steinfeld claimed it was “dangerous to take the movie’s recipe to save the globe,” as in many parts of the world meat production takes place on a smaller scale than in the West, with a lower impact on the environment.


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