Time for an 'eat less meat' campaign

Shoppers selecting chilled meat products at NTUC Xtra hypermarket in Jurong Point shopping centre.

Global warming poses many serious threats to our long-term survival.

The Government and civil society organisations constantly urge people to do more to mitigate these threats.

There are campaigns in place on reducing plastic, water and electricity consumption, as well as planting more trees.

One area that may have been neglected is cutting down on foods that contribute a proportionately higher carbon footprint to the environment.

One such food is meat. It has been reported that Singaporeans "eat three to five times more meat and eggs than is environmentally sustainable" (Slash meat consumption to save the planet: Study, Jan 17)

We have been quite successful in reducing sugar consumption in recent years, thanks to the efforts of the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

I hope HPB and other government agencies, such as the Singapore Food Agency, will study meat consumption habits here and examine how to achieve a level of consumption that is closer to an environmentally sustainable level.

Such an exercise should include stakeholders such as hotels, restaurants and catering businesses, among others, to get their cooperation and contribution to help the nation achieve the target.

A national campaign to initiate the movement is needed.

Consuming less meat would bring about not only many health benefits, but also new business opportunities in developing meat substitutes and new cuisines.

Grants could be given to proprietors and nutrition experts in this respect.

We have to bring about a mindset change and start instilling the habit of eating less meat now. We could set one or two days in a week as "no meat days" or cut down the meat portion in our meals.

Albert Ng Ya Ken

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