Byron meets new challenge
RADICAL animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), famous for its anti-fur campaigns with naked celebrities, has launched a beefy broadside across Byron Shire’s bow.
PETA has challenged Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham to follow the lead of a Belgian city and proclaim one day a week a ‘vegetarian day’ to help combat climate change.
PETA referred to a recent United Nations report claiming meat production was responsible for 40 per cent more green house gas emissions than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined.
Campaigns director Jason Baker from PETA Australia targeted Byron Bay as a ‘virtual vegetarian haven’ boasting a multitude of meat-free menus and markets’
“Byron Bay has a golden opportunity to lead the charge for a greener Australia,” he said.
“The best thing any of us can do to protect our health, animals and the Earth is to go vegetarian.”
Cr Barham was not available for comment yesterday but an amused deputy mayor Basil Cameron thought it a good way to raise awareness but doubted the idea would have legs.
Cr Ross Tucker took a moment to digest the idea before responding.
“If it’s going to save the world, stop rising sea levels and reverse climate change then surely we should do it for a month rather than a day,” he said facetiously, adding the idea was ‘absolute nonsense, childish, tokenistic and symbolistic’.
Hog’s Breath cafe manager John Giles responded, ‘good luck with that’. “I can only speak personally of course but don’t forget we sell vegetarian meals here too,” he said.
Earth and Sea Pizza owner David Woolsey was equally amused, stating Byron was probably the only place on Earth where such a thing would happen.
“I’m not vegetarian but I empathise with the issue. I’d love to do it but it would be a commercial disaster,” he said.
The idea stemmed from the Belgian city of Ghent where a recent edict requires all civil servants and elected officials to eat vegetarian meals exclusively for one day a week to combat the environmental impact of meat production. The letter asks Cr Barham to honour her commitment to combat climate change by introducing a weekly vegetarian day for all council employees.
“We hope that you and all of Byron Bay’s employees will lead by example and go meatless on day a week.