Residents of Los Angeles are one step closer to an animal-free local food system, following a unanimous vote by the city council to endorse the Plant Based Treaty.
Launched in 2021 as a companion to the Paris Agreement, the aim of the treaty is to centre food systems in the fight against the climate crisis.
Los Angeles joins a growing list of cities which are committed to the demands of the Plant Based Treaty, and is the second US city to make the pledge after Boynton Beach in Florida. Earlier this year, the West Sussex town of Haywards Heath became the first signatory in Europe and recently the town of Didim became the first in Turkey.
The treaty is formed of three principles. The first is aimed at stopping further damage done by climate change, and stipulates that new animal agriculture or associated activity is forbidden. As well as halting land use changes, this principle also requires no new slaughterhouses to be built and no conversion of any land for animal feed production.
The second principle is designed to eliminate the driving forces behind the problem, by promoting plant-based foods and helping people to actively transition away from eating meat and dairy.
The final principle is focused on actively healing the damage done by our current animal-based food system and mitigating the effects of climate change where possible. Aims here include reforestation on land and ocean repopulation, as well as moving towards developing so-called green cities and towns.
Los Angeles’ adoption of the Plant Based Treaty is likely to have an impact on the wider state of California, which is home to the country’s largest dairy industry. There are currently 1,400 dairies in California, and around 1.7 million cows.
According to the California Air Resources Board and its methane research programme, animal farming is responsible for more than half of the state’s methane emissions.
“This landmark resolution marks a vital cultural shift as Americans prioritise both combating climate change and improving their health,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, who introduced the resolution alongside Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
Commending on the decision, President of the Animal Alliance Network, Ellen Dent, added: “By passing the Plant Based Treaty Resolution, LA City council members are upholding their promise of making the shift towards preventative climate change policy so directly needed for their constituents and beyond.”
News of LA’s adoption of the treaty comes as the European Commission launches its own initiative focused on improving access to vegan meals.
Organisers of the European Citizens’ Initiative for vegan meals will seek to develop and pass a law mandating that a vegan alternative is available in all private and public spaces in Europe where food is sold.
Supporters of the move claimed in a statement this would address “the emerging collective awareness of animal rights, as well as help fight the climate crisis by increasing the consumption of plant-based food, and reducing the cost of food.”
Following the launch of the initiative, organisers now have six months to open a signature collection process. If one million signatures are gathered, from at least seven member states, the European Commission will be required to address the issue and act accordingly.