Michael Mansfield
© Jane MingayMichael Mansfield QC
Eating meat could be banned like smoking, one of Britain's foremost barristers has predicted, as he called for the offence of 'ecocide' to be introduced to prosecute those who damage the nature on a massive scale.

Michael Mansfield QC warned that the farming of livestock for meat was destroying the planet and called for legislation to criminalise those who cause global warming and the wilful destruction of wildlife. In a message delivered at the launch of the Vegan Now campaign, which encourages people to stop eating meat and dairy, Mansfield said he had a 'single message' to make ecocide a crime.

"I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal," he said.

"There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal such as smoking inside.

"We know that the top 3,000 companies in the world are responsible for more than £1.5 trillion worth of damage to the environment with meat and dairy production high on the list.

"It is time for a new law on ecocide to go alongside genocide and the other crimes against humanity."

If the world became vegan it would cut food related carbon emissions by 70 per cent

Potential per-capita changes in diet related greenhouse emissions if everyone in the world switched to a particular type of diet

vegan propaganda chart

Comment: Let's put this into perspective, shall we?

methane meat chart
meat greenhouse gas infographic

Mr Mansfield, a committed vegetarian, made his comments ahead of a debate on how veganism can help protect wildlife and the planet, which is taking place at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.

Comment: Surprise surprise. A "committed vegetarian" is spouting nonsense about the environmental impact of meat eating. He's just another Greta Thunberg.

The world's top three meat producers are responsible for more greenhouse gases each year than all of France. Around 25 per cent of all greenhouse gases come from agriculture, with livestock farming contributing to 80 per cent of the total.

Comment: These figures are highly suspect. Even if carbon emissions had a significant impact on climate, the numbers have been purposely slanted to paint meat eating as some sort of bad guy. As seen in the graphics in the comment above, when carbon emissions from meat animal farming are compared to those of industry and transportation, they shrink to insignificance.

Juliet Gellately, director of the pro-vegan charity Viva! said: "Thirty years ago people didn't bat an eyelid if you lit a cigarette in a pub or restaurant.

"But now society accepts smoking is harmful and totally unnecessary and so we legislated against it. The same could happen with eating meat.

Comment: True. It's amazing what fascism can accomplish.

"The global livestock industry is wrecking our most precious flora and fauna. And for nothing more than corporate greed.

"It's high time we kicked meat and dairy into touch and went vegan now."

The international crime of ecocide was originally proposed in 1970, at the Conference on War and National Responsibility in Washington, by the American biologist Arthur Galston, who discovered that the US use of Agency Orange in the Vietnam War had caused devastation to wildlife.

Ecocide was initially included in early drafts of The Rome Statute, which laid out the remit of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but it was removed in 1996, following objections from Britain and the US. Now the widespread destruction of wildlife can only be prosecuted if it happens during war.

Mr Mansfield added: "I have one singular message, to make ecocide an international crime

"Ecocide was going be a crime, but two nations objected, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"So when it was going to be the fifth crime against humanity, security and peace it was removed and it hasn't got back on again.

"It ties in exactly with veganism, the rights of the animals, the rights of the environment, and the rights of human beings in one package. It's a universal right and I hope this can be discussed."