Press Release

Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges California to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Agriculture

Legal Advocates Ask the Air Resources Board to Regulate Animal Agriculture


San Francisco, CA – Building on its groundbreaking petition from October 2014, today the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) asking it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture.

ARB held a public hearing in Sacramento today “to elicit new ideas and refine strategies to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants throughout the State.” Methane, which is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than CO2, is the most abundant short-lived climate pollutant in California.

According to ARB’s “Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in California” report, the livestock industry produces 59% of all methane in the state. However, ARB has so far bowed to pressure of industry lobby groups and has exempted animal agriculture from regulation.

Numerous studies show animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change. California uses more than 25 million acres of land for agriculture and has the largest scale factory-farmed dairy production in the nation. According to ARB’s own research, “Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data 2000-2012,” emissions from California’s livestock agriculture—including the meat, egg, and dairy industries are comparable to emissions from the entire manufacturing sector in the state.

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s petition to ARB urges that animal agriculture no longer receive a free ride when it comes to regulating some of the most potent contributors to environmental degradation in California, as well as to global climate change.

ARB’s public hearing suggests it is willing to consider outside opinions and respond to feedback on its policies. In connection with this hearing, Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted comments to ARB explaining its position that the agency must end its exemption of animal agriculture from greenhouse gas regulation in order to more consistently fulfill its mandate to mitigate catastrophic climate change and the direct impacts on residents and wildlife in California. No one industrial sector deserves such special treatment, to the detriment of all others.

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