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FoE members vote for more honesty regarding meat/dairy devastation

Redditch Vegetarians & Vegans | 10.09.2007 19:12 | Animal Liberation | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Birmingham

At the annual Friends of the Earth conference, local group members have voted strongly in favour of a motion drafted by Redditch Vegetarians & Vegans! The motion called for FoE to publish detailed information regarding the massive environmental impact of meat/dairy production, therefore allowing the general public to make an informed choice about their diet.

Any member of the public reading FoE`s literature/website at the present time, could be forgiven for thinking that there is no environmental impact from meat/dairy production, due to a total lack of information available!! It was this disgraceful situation, that encouraged Redditch Friends of the Earth to take action!

Several months ago, RVV helped Redditch FoE to draft a motion for this years FoE Local Groups Conference. The motion survived an attempt for it to be amended and also survived a prioritisation ballot, in which half of the 12 motions put forward were dropped. On Saturday 8th September, the `food production` motion was presented at conference(held at Reading University) by Redditch FoE, in front of approx 300 local group members from across the UK. There was a 15 minute debate in which several delegates voiced their opposition, but many more voiced approval. A vote followed, in which only one member from each local group had voting rights. Out of the 87 delegates who voted, 65 were in favour of the motion, 9 against and 13 abstained.

The motion read as follows:

"This conference calls upon the Board of Friends of the Earth Ltd. to consider publishing detailed information via FoE literature and the FoE website, that will explain how the production of various foods have vastly differing environmental impacts, in order to clearly illustrate the many environmental benefits of adopting a plant based diet.

This conference notes that there is an ever increasing amount of research & evidence from a wide variety of organisations, that suggests that meat and dairy production are amongst the most environmentally damaging practices carried out by mankind."

The presentation of this motion involved the reading of a 3 minute statement before the debate started and another minute of summing up after the debate & before the vote. To read the statement in full, see

Now that this motion has been passed, it becomes a Resolution for the Board of Friends of the Earth Ltd to integrate within FoE’s policy and strategy. Or at least, that`s the idea!!! Two years ago, a motion calling for the promotion of plant based diets was passed, but as yet, has not been implemented. It read as follows:

"This Conference calls upon the Board of Friends of the Earth Ltd to consider recognising the need to promote plant based diets and encourage a reduction in meat, fish and dairy consumption on environmental grounds."

So when it comes to raising awareness of the environmental devastation caused by meat/dairy production, it seems there is a fair amount of resistance at high levels within FoE!! Perhaps they fear that honesty on this subject would result in some meat/dairy eating members leaving FoE or a few less donations from the public, but that really is no excuse. As the "UK`s most influential environmental campaigning organisation", FoE surely have a duty to tell their members, supporters and general public that possibly the single most effective action individuals can take to save the planet, is simply to change their diet!!

Unsure whether or not the previous motion would eventually be implemented, Redditch FoE were keen to submit their own, and with our help, they did! Although it now seems that National FoE are finally conducting research on this issue and are apparently seriously considering a campaign strategy, it remains to be seen whether or not this will go far enough. So the idea behind Redditch FoE`s motion was simply to tie National FoE down to at least make information available via their website/literature, allowing members of the public to make an informed choice. We hope that by clearly asking for something specific, that FoE will struggle to wriggle out of this!!

Even up till now, the motion has had a big impact. Thousands of FoE`s local group members have had their attention drawn to this issue over recent months. The fact that those members prioritised this motion and then voted strongly in it`s favour, sends a very clear message to the Board of Friends of the Earth Ltd, that this is an issue of utmost importance to their members.

In recent weeks, we have seen that the most enlightened environmental groups have long since woken up to this issue. All of the kitchens at the Heathrow Climate Camp were vegan and there were workshops on vegan campaigning. Organisers of the camp even drafted their own leaflet, calling on the general public to "Fight Climate Change, Go Vegan". Read the leaflet here

If implemented properly, we believe the repercussions of this motion could be massive, as plant based diets will be promoted by mainstream environmentalists. Not only will FoE members across the country have access to the tools they need to spread awareness of an issue which they were previously forced to ignore, it is likely that we will see other environmental campaigning organisations follow suit!! There`s no doubt that more and more people are falling over themselves to find ways to reduce their ecological footprint, so we could potentially see a big increase in the number of eco-veggie/vegans!!!

Although this is a big victory, it is by no means the end of the campaign! FoE are still only part way through the consultation process regarding their next 5 Year Strategic Plan. It is essential that FoE local group members all round the country continue to demand that National FoE give the issue of meat/dairy production, the attention it deserves within that strategic plan. For updates on the progress of the strategic plan, see

Redditch FoE website

Redditch Vegetarians & Vegans
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Display the following 2 comments

  1. Well Done — Last of the Mohicans
  2. brilliant — vegan