By Larry Keane
Leaders of the world’s developed and undeveloped countries are gathering in Dubai for the 28th U.N. Convention of Parties (COP28) on climate action. It’s a global confab for privileged leaders to fly their private jets around the world – including Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry – to meet and talk about “climate science.”
But anti-hunting, animal rights activists are piling on the climate agenda this year with major efforts to force developed countries to cut back on burgers and steaks.
“The world’s most-developed nations will be told to curb their excessive appetite for meat as part of the first comprehensive plan to bring the global agrifood industry into line with the Paris climate agreement,” Bloomberg reported. Coincidentally, that’s the same media company owned by the billionaire gun control piggy bank and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
U.S. officials should tell U.N. officials to pound sand. It’s a backwards and laughable proposal for many reasons. Such an effort would end up penalizing America’s millions of hunters. And that, consequently, would harm many more millions of less fortunate families in need of good, healthy meals – especially during the holiday season.
Meatless Mandate Manure
The anti-meat push from the U.N.’s Food & Agriculture Organization won’t do much of anything towards “climate goals.” The scheme calls for developed nations to greatly reduce meat consumption and agribusiness, while encouraging developing countries to dramatically ramp up theirs. The net between those opposing efforts would do little globally.
Mandating reductions in meat consumption here at home would have a big impact, though. Despite the pleas today by animal rights activists for Americans to go the meatless route, the vast majority of Americans don’t. According to the data used by the U.N.’s food agency, the average American consumes 280 pounds of meat each year. The U.N. commission recommends people consume no more than 35 pounds of meat per year.
The push on the global stage to go meatless isn’t so far-fetched to believe political leaders in the U.S. could begin passing similar proposals. After all, the Baltimore School District became the first school district in the nation to implement “Meatless Mondays” for school lunches back in 2009. That move garnered the praise of the rabid anti-hunting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and was based on studies from the antigun Johns Hopkins University. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit in 2019. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012 began discussing similar plans and the idea has percolated so much that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced federal legislation in 2021 prohibiting federal agencies from implementing “Meatless Monday” policies.
These efforts by anti-hunting animal rights groups to dramatically reduce meat consumption have persisted for years, mostly in the background of policy debates. Recent developments in the U.S. and the prominence of the issue at this year’s U.N. meeting show there’s cause for greater vigilance from America’s hunting community.
Earlier this year, the city of Ojai, Calif., became the first municipality in the country to pass a resolution declaring that elephants aren’t just animals and instead deserve “the legal rights of a nonhuman animal.” It was a victory for the Non-human Rights Project (NhRP) after several years of pursuing similar litigation against zoos in both New York City and Colorado. After passing their resolution, Ojai City Councilwoman Leslie Rule declared, “It isn’t a joke.”
For those unfamiliar, NhRP failed in several previous attempts to get “personhood” rights for animals, namely elephants, under the care of zookeepers. In 2022, New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore rejected the groups lawsuit against the Bronx Zoo, writing, “Habeas corpus is a procedural vehicle intended to secure the liberty rights of human beings who are unlawfully restrained, not nonhuman animals.” Judge Jenny Rivera piled on too, asking about Happy the elephant that is well cared for at the Bronx Zoo. “If Happy is a person, does that mean that I couldn’t keep a dog? I mean, dogs can memorize words.”
In a harbinger of what a possible legal victory for NhRP could mean, the New York Farm Bureau submitted an amicus brief in favor of the Bronx Zoo warning that a ruling in NhRP’s favor could be disastrous. “Worse, if any of those habeas petitions succeed in securing the release or transfer of livestock… the downstream effects also would be serious.” The floodgate would open for future lawsuits against other zoos. Animal rights groups could sue dairy cow or meat processing operations, pig farms, or chicken or pheasant preserves. Those would also be serious obstacles for hunters harvesting wild game for their freezers and wildlife management biologists that rely on hunting as the primary wildlife conservation management tool.
Hunters Feeding the Needy
It is approaches like the COP28 meat reduction plan that make no sense and in turn only end up harming efforts by America’s hunters to help those in need. While continually under attack by anti-hunting animal rights activists and “climate science” schemers, hunters generously give back to those families who are less fortunate.
MeatEater reported on an extensive study demonstrating the depths and breadth of America’s hunters helping the hungry in order to “reframe debates about the relevance of wild and natural harvests, and understand how they contribute to a stable and equitable food system.” The report breaks down several states respective contributions through programs like Hunters Against Hunger and Hunters for the Hungry, but all told it’s estimated that around 10 million meals of healthy, high-protein wild game are donated by hunters across the nation every year – an estimated $70 million of meat donated by generous hunters. A simple Google search reveals how much good America’s hunters are already doing this hunting season in states like Indiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio and more. These highlights are likely nowhere to be found in Dubai.
Mandating reductions in meat intake by a global organization like the U.N. under the guise of “climate science” isn’t a serious solution for anything. Especially when the policies are pushed by anti-hunting activists with no connection to the communities American hunters continue to support.
Hunters harvesting game and generously donating extra food to those in need is uniquely American and should be celebrated and encouraged.