Did you know that the federal government and state and local governments have the power to buy plant-based foods instead of animal products? It’s true!
Governments use taxpayer money to purchase food for places under their control, such as parks, hospitals, correctional facilities, and government buildings. Mercy For Animals is working with lawmakers to require state and local governments to reduce the meat, dairy, and egg products they purchase and increase the amount of plant-based food. This shift could help transform the food system as we know it.
Changing the System
Animal agriculture is responsible for more than half of our food-related greenhouse gas emissions. Producing animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs generates more emissions per gram of protein than producing plant-based foods such as soy, rice, beans, and wheat. States and cities could easily lower their food-related emissions—and save money—by reducing their meat and dairy purchases.
By purchasing more plant-based foods, governments could help spare countless animals a life of misery at factory farms. Policies like these could also significantly increase the plant-based foods available and the demand for plant-based foods overall.
These policies could also benefit marginalized communities. The DC Council Office of Racial Equity found that “focusing on greenhouse gas emissions through food buying contracts could have a positive impact on health and environmental outcomes for Black and Brown residents.”
Earlier this year Washington, DC, passed the Green Food Purchasing Amendment Act, which requires agencies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food purchases. This is a big deal! By requiring agencies to purchase climate-friendlier foods, DC set itself up as a leader in the fight against climate change. The bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, stated:
The food system is inextricably linked with environmentalism, and it is time for the District to align local food spending with our sustainability goals. And there is no better place to start than with our own local agencies
In other cities and states, such as Connecticut, Mercy For Animals is pursuing policies that call for governments to purchase less animal-based food. While each government is different and policies vary by city, county, and state, the impact is the same. Government purchasing directly impacts farmed animals, the environment, and the health and well-being of communities.
You have a powerful voice, and you can help increase plant-based options in your community! To learn more about how you can help, sign up through our Action Center.