NEW DELHI -- Animal welfare group PETA India on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "ban" all meat products from menus at all government meetings and events.
Taking a cue from reports that Germany's environment minister had recently banned meat from being served at meetings and events, PETA India asked Modi to "lead" India in a similar direction.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the move will help in curbing green house gas and tackle the issue of climate change.
Noting that as a vegetarian, Modi is a a role model of "compassionate, healthy, and environmentally friendly" eating, PETA said that it is time the entire Indian government should follow his lead and protect the environment by eliminating animal-derived foods from its meals.
The letter notes that Germany's ministry went meat-free because meat production is one of the leading contributors to climate change, which is causing people throughout India to suffer severe droughts and heatwaves.
In addition to producing an estimated 51% of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions, meat production also uses a massive amount of water, land, and food resources, it said.
"I am writing to ask for India to take a cue from the German environment minister who banned meat from being served at her ministry's meetings and events because meat production is one of the leading causes of climate change.
"I hope you will agree that India should also set a good example where environmental conservation is concerned by eliminating animal-derived foods from the menus of all government or government-sponsored meetings and functions," the letter written by Nikunj Sharma, Lead Public Policy, PETA said.
Animal-derived foods include those that come from animal sources such as meat, milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
Sharma later told PTI that although the body first wants the prime minister to "eliminate" meat from menus, on a larger note, the organisation has sought a ban on food derived from animals.
"The meat industry is heating up the planet and gobbling up our natural resources, but we can fight climate change by starting with what's on our plates.
"PETA is calling on Prime Minister Modi to set a global example by ensuring that exclusively healthy, humane, and environmentally-friendly vegan meals are served at all government functions," Sharma said.
While more than 194 million people in India are undernourished, 60 per cent of the world's grain supply is used to feed farmed animals, as it takes 10 kilograms of grain to produce just 1 kilogram of meat, the body said.
According to the United Nations, a global shift towards a vegan lifestyle is vital in order to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty, and the worst effects of climate change.
"As a vegetarian, you are a role model of compassionate, healthy, and environmentally-friendly eating. It's time for the entire Indian government to follow your lead and protect the environment by eliminating animal-derived foods from its meals.
"Will you please ensure that animal-derived foods are not served at government functions?" the letter asked.
Noting that India is home to more than 280 million cows and 200 million other ruminant animals such as goats and buffaloes, it said they are bred predominantly to be used for meat or dairy production.
According to satellite data from our space programme, these animals transfer almost 12 million tonnes of methane which traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does into the atmosphere via flatulence every year.
In fact, a widely publicised report published by the Worldwatch Institute in 2009 estimated that 51 per cent of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions may be attributable to agriculture, specifically to businesses that raise cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels, and pigs for food, PETA said.
"Animal welfare is also a growing concern because of today's industrialised meat and dairy industries.
"Citizens are concerned that many chickens' throats are cut while they are still conscious, that fish typically suffocate or are cut open while they are still alive, that pigs are often stabbed in the heart as they scream in pain, and that calves are usually torn away from their mothers within hours of birth," the body said.
It said that at slaughterhouses, animals are often killed in full view of one another and dismembered while they are still conscious while eating animals also wreaks havoc on human health and leads to increased risk of suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
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