The Belgian city of Ghent is the first in the world to officially push for less consumption of meat. This is political, not religious. Ghent is drawing attention to the contribution of greenhouse gases from livestock raised for meat. The U.N.'s FAO says 18% of all greenhouse gases come from farm animals raised for food. How does that compare with beans, I'd like to know?
So Ghent municipal employees and their supporters are having a meatless day every week. A big boon for those veggie menus and vegetable farmers.
Beyond simply the off-gassing, if you will, livestock farming consumes huge amounts of energy directly and indirectly in raising food for animals. And there is a large amount of water used both in raising livestock and processing the meat, which then has to be transported, refrigerated, etc. In Europe, as in America, "factory farms" have become a major source of pollution and some political wrangling. The veggie day is strongly supported by EVA, Belgium's veggie farming lobby. They point to the collateral pollution that's so much a part of modern livestock farming.
Thursday is going to be official veggie day in ancient Ghent. In the fall it will hit the public school cafeterias as well.