The past year has presented many challenges including a global pandemic and numerous climate change related weather disasters. Because of those challenges, lawmakers and their constituents have contemplated how our treatment of animals and the planet impacts our quality of life. Studies have shown that the intense confinement of animals in the agriculture system leads to the spread of zoonotic disease. Additionally, animal agriculture contributes to climate change by contributing at least 14.5 percent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions each year. In light of those facts, lawmakers have been introducing bills to address public health and climate change. Switch4Good has been communicating with lawmakers directly and also encouraging our supporters to communicate with their own lawmakers. Here are the four bills we are focusing on and encourage you to take a stand if you are a resident in any one of these areas.
California Climate-Friendly Food Program
California is leading the way in legislation to improve public health and reduce climate change. Earlier this year, California’s General Assembly introduced the California Climate-Friendly Food Program (AB 558) that would incentivize schools to offer plant-based school meals. This bill would not only increase student access to healthy food but would also help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the 540 million school lunches served in California each year.
Smart Climate Agriculture Program
California’s General Assembly also introduced the Smart Climate Agriculture Program (AB 1289)—a bill that would provide grants to small to midsize farms to transition the use of their land from raising livestock or growing livestock feed crops to plant-based agriculture. The bill would also implement the development of best practices for transitioning those farms.
Connecticut’s yet-to-be-titled HB 5030 is a bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food procured by the State. This legislation would create an opportunity for Connecticut to look beyond its electric, building, and transportation sectors and identify and address the significant impact that the animal agriculture industry has on greenhouse gas emissions.
Oregon’s House introduced a bill (yet to be titled) to ensure healthy plant-based foods for some of its most vulnerable citizens. Oregon’s House bill (HB 2348) would require hospitals, long-term care facilities, and prisons to offer 100 percent plant-based meals and beverages that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugars to patients, visitors, and staff.
Switch4Good strongly supports these bills because each one focuses on our missions of improving human health, planetary responsibility and/or food justice. If you live in any of these states, please urge your state representative to support this vital legislation. To be updated with our latest legislative efforts and ways you can get involved, please sign up for our e-newsletter today.