Consume Less Pork this Lunar New Year, Environmentalists tell Chinese
As China braces to celebrate Lunar New Year this week, also popular as the Year of the Pig, environmentalists have urged Chinese to consume less pork and help in saving the planet.
The traditional Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animals. The current week marks the transition from year of the dog to the year of the pig.
China is one of the most meat-eating countries. It accounts for half of the world’s pork consumption. This makes China the biggest emitter of climate-warming greenhouse gases in the world. As per the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 14.5 percent of global emissions are caused by livestock.
“Chinese emissions can be reduced by almost 10 percent in the next decade if Chinese people just ate half as much meat,” said Jen Leung, China climate director at the U.S.-based charity WildAid.
“So just try eating a little less pork in honor of a healthy Year of the Pig,” she said.
Monday, the eve of the Lunar New Year, marks the beginning of the week-long holidays in China. It is the most important time of celebrations among Chinese people, as they travel home. Restaurants across the country serve special menus.
While pork is a favourite across China, a company in Hong Kong is partnering with restaurants to promote “vegan pork” dishes, made with soybeans and peas.
“Traditional belief dictates that we should not eat the same animal during their year in order to bring good luck — so pig year don’t eat pork,” said Alvin Lee, marketing manager at Green Monday, a company promoting sustainable living.
“But more importantly it’s to address the issue of food safety and to mitigate climate change,” Lee said, referring to a recent outbreak of deadly African swine fever on pig farms in China.
PETA has launched Social media campaigns over Weibo – China’s Twitter – using the hashtag #PigYearDontEatThem.
“Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined,” Jason Baker of PETA Asia said.
In 2016, China had issued dietary guidelines urging people to reduce their meat consumption. However, even today, eating meat is considered as a wealth and status symbol in China.
Let’s just hope for more environment friendly Lunar New Year this time.
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