China eats around 28% of the world’s meat – including half its pork – according to the OECD and FAO. In total in 2014, the Chinese served up over 86,000 tonnes of meat. That means twice as much as the US.
The impact of meat-eating on the environment is significant. The FAO estimates that domesticated ruminants (such as sheep and cows) release 100m tonnes of methane every year.
In fact, one study suggests that a shift toward a more plant-based diet (in line with dietary requirements) could reduce food-related emissions by between 29-70%.
Experts at the advocacy group WildAid say that average annual meat consumption in China is on track to increase by another 60 pounds by 2030. Therefore, the new Chinese government guidelines have called on the population to halve their meat consumption, according to The Guardian.
The move has found support in Hollywood. Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron lent their support to a WildAid campaign, urging the Chinese population to follow the new guidelines – for the good of their health and the environment.