August 2019

The Cow in the Room: a call for policy for sustainable diets

This policy brief outlines what the research says about changing diets and explores consumption-focused measures that could help reduce animal-based products in diets. The recommendations in the brief focus on higher-income countries that consume more than their equitable share of global meat and dairy, and where the excessive intake of red and processed meat is thought to lead to adverse health outcomes.

The brief presents an overview of the environmental impacts of meat and dairy, and provides a brief review of the research on changing diets, before reviewing three high-impact, practical policy ideas which are ripe for implementation. The goal of this policy brief is to move the conversation beyond controversy over the idea of intervening to shape public diets, and towards practical policy discussions on how, given the extreme urgency, this can be done.

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