In response to reports that Air India has adopted a new policy of serving exclusively vegetarian meals to economy-class passengers – citing, among other reasons, passengers' increasing preference for meat-free meals – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent letters on Thursday morning to all Indian airlines exhorting them to serve vegan meals to all passengers in all flying classes.
In the letters, PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat" – notes that meat, egg, and dairy production is one of the leading causes of climate change, which is causing people throughout India to endure severe droughts, heat waves, and more. In addition to producing an estimated 51 per cent of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions, animal agriculture also uses a massive amount of water, land, and food resources.
"Balancing an airline's carbon footprint can start with putting meat and dairy products on the no-fly list," says PETA CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. "PETA is encouraging all Indian airlines to follow Air India's lead and serve exclusively healthy, humane, and eco-friendly vegan meals on all flights."
While more than 194 million people in India are undernourished, at least 50 per cent of the world's grain supply is being used to feed farmed animals. The consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products has also been conclusively linked to an increased risk of suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
And of course, eating meat causes suffering on a massive scale. In today's meat and dairy industries, chickens' throats are cut while they're still conscious, fish suffocate or are cut open while they're still alive, and calves are torn away from their mothers within hours of birth. At abattoirs, some animals are dismembered while they're still conscious.