Vegetarian Elite
 
British Government Leaders for a Vegan Era: MP Kerry McCarthy, MP Virendra Sharma & Green Party Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay      
Greetings, esteemed viewers. We’re delighted to have your company on Vegetarian Elite. This week we are talking with three vegan government members from the United Kingdom: Ms. Kerry McCarthy, Mr. Virendra Sharma, and Mr. Adrian Ramsay, who are all contributing into uplifting the planet to a brighter, kinder new era.

Ms Kerry McCarthy has served Labor Member of Parliament for Bristol East since 2005, Mr. Sharma has been Labor Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall since 2007, and Mr. Ramsay is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party in England and Wales. Allow us to first introduce MP McCarthy.

I’ve been a vegan since 1992, it was a New Year’s resolution I actually managed to keep and I’ve been vegetarian for about 30 years as well.

MP McCarthy has been active in the Labor Party since the early 1990s. Following her election to Parliament in 2005, she has sat on a number of committees, including ones for the Finance Bill, UK Borders Bill, and Mental Health Bill. More recently in 2010, she was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet, and was made temporary Shadow Junior Minister in the Department of Work and Pensions, and has served as the Shadow Junior Minister in the Treasury. Currently, MP McCarthy holds the title of Shadow Economic Secretary.

In November 2010, MP McCarthy was invited by the World Preservation Foundation and Dods as one of the distinguished speakers in the climate conference: “Leaders Preserving Our Future: Pace & Priorities on Climate Change,” held at the Central Hall Westminster in London, United Kingdom.

So it took me a few years before I actually started raising the issue in Parliament, and in the end, after a few years of waiting for someone else to do it, I had a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of livestock, of the environmental impact of the livestock sector: the fact that it takes eight kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef, the amount of water consumption that is used in the livestock sector, deforestation, greenhouse gasses, methane, and all those issues.

Invited as the special guest of honor for the same conference, Supreme Master Ching Hai shared encouragement via video message urging leaders and co-citizens alike to make courageous Earth-saving changes.

Now, some of us might question: Can our world really eliminate the global meat industry and become all vegan? The facts tell us yes, we can. And our humanity’s survival instinct tells us we must.

It was an issue that I’ve raised in Parliament before, I did an adjournment debate a few years ago. The greenhouse gas, you know, and the methane emissions from cattle for example, is something that crops up every now and again. But then it goes away and the focus has all been on CO2 and peoples carbon footprints. People shouldn’t just be lobbying their MP’s about aviation and things like that, they should also be lobbying them about the livestock sector. I think that’s really important.

We’ve got to get it on the mainstream political agenda, and that’s starting to happen, because people are beginning to talk about it and various politicians have brought forward their own bits of legislation. But it needs to be on the agenda, definitely within the European Union, because they are so powerful when it comes to world agriculture. And the fact that you’ve got people like Bill Clinton that has suddenly become a vegan, people like that signing up and taking the lead is really important and hopefully they can raise the profile of the issue. But we do need to have it taken a lot more seriously.

MP McCarthy is convinced that social problems, including wars, could be reduced by increasing the compassion and respect for animals through laws and policies.

Somebody once said that society should be judged by how it treats it’s animals. And I think if people can move towards, you know, a more compassionate lifestyle, but also being far more aware of the resources they’re consuming, the way they’re treating the planet, the way they’re treating other people and other living beings, you know, that has got to be of benefit, and it’s just partly people being more aware of the impact their own behavior has.

I think that getting across to people that what they do does make a difference even though they’re one little voice, if you add all those voices together you can really bring about quite dramatic social change is really important.

Hi, I’m Virendra Sharma, Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall, United Kingdom.
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MP Virendra Sharma served as a local councilor in the London Borough of Ealing from 1982 to 2010, and was also a mayor for part of his time as councilor. In 2007, Mr. Sharma was elected as MP in Ealing Southall, and a year later was given the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State at the Treasury and Home Office. He has been elected as a member of the Parliamentary Select Committees on Health, Human Rights, and International Development.

As a valued representative of the British government, Mr. Sharma has made official overseas visits as a Member of Parliament to Cyprus, Kenya, India, and Mauritius. MP Sharma, a vegan himself, believes that a plant-based diet helps promote good health.

There’s the scientific proof, all the health experts or the specialists, all the campaigning bodies also indicate that it is true – that vegan can help in reducing diseases. I do firmly believe in that and I support that.

With global warming gripping the planet, which is on the brink of disaster, MP Sharma highlights the vegan solution in lessening greenhouse gasses.

We can see recent changes in southeastern countries, (Yes.) the weather change, the effects of the floods, many other areas, which everybody has believed and seen it. And I believe, and many people support that idea, that yes, that vegetarianism and the approaches in this area can help in reducing those climate changes.

Bringing this idea into the forefront where everybody agrees in principle that we have to do something, accepting there is a threat coming, and we all have to work together on that. And I believe, and I said it at many conferences, that is the most important thing, rather than people saying it and doing nothing.

Additionally, MP Sharma is conscious about the environment and endeavors to reduce our carbon and water footprint. Statistics document that meat production uses at least 300% more water than growing vegetables.

Yes, eating less meat (Yes.) will help in reducing the carbon footprints, reducing use of water and other areas will help. I do, but at the same time, it’s the campaigning matter, which we need to go out in public raising the awareness, (Right, yes.) making sure that people participate in it, and become role models in that.

To the dismay of many citizens who are speaking out against the cruelty involved in the foxhunt, the British government is actually considering its reintroduction. MP Sharma, on the other hand, is setting up an initiative in an effort to stop this. He is an excellent example of compassion and respect for all life.

Killing, fox hunting, hunting in general, we oppose it. I’m part of the Animal Welfare organization; I do not support the killing of any birds and not only the fox hunting alone. (Yes.) And I will carry on fighting for that. Cruelty in the society, we oppose, (Excellent.) and I’m part of that group which opposes that. So I will be certainly encouraging my constituents to play their part for the future environment in this country and in the world.

Another kindhearted British government member who is concerned about the future of our world is Mr. Adrian Ramsay, Deputy Leader of the Green Party in England and Wales. Born and raised in the UK, Mr. Ramsay has been actively campaigning in local elections for the Green Party since the age of 16. He has taken national roles within the Green Party, such as being Spokesperson for Planning and Economic Development and taking part in debates about youth issues on the Party’s behalf. Mr. Ramsay also believes that immediate action is needed to halt the dire impact of climate change.

It’s clear that climate change is a massively urgent issue. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly agree that we’ve got to take urgent action over the next few years to reduce carbon emissions by a substantial amount, to show that we can avoid going over the tipping point of the 2 degree rise in global temperatures – that’s what we’ve got to avoid.

Deputy Leader Ramsey points out why the shift away from animal agriculture is the most effective solution to preserving our environment, and ultimately, saving our planet.

Moving away from factory farming would really help us to tackle climate change, and there’s a number of reasons for that. One of them is the deforestation that’s happening in so many parts of the world, which is affecting indigenous communities and wildlife, but it’s certainly increasing climate change as well.

And one of the main reasons for deforestation is clearing land for intensive rearing of animals or for growing food to feed to those animals, when we know that less intensive forms of farming and particularly crop production is a far more efficient way of feeding people. Of course the emissions from intensive farming, including methane emissions, are very substantial and have a real effect on the changes in the environment that we’re seeing.

Sharing MP McCarthy and MP Sharma’s viewpoints, Mr. Ramsay is also convinced that the promotion of an organic, locally produced, plant-based diet leads to healthy lifestyles and a sustainable planet. He believes that subsidies for farmers should support these green options.

We want to make it a lot easier for people to make environmental friendly and healthy choices in diet, and that includes having vegetarian and vegan options more readily available in schools and in hospitals, for example. It includes showing that the healthy options are cheaper options, and yes of course having information about what foods are healthier and greener in terms of local production, in terms of reducing the amount of meat and dairy that we’re consuming.

We want to make it easier for farmers to go organic and to grow things more locally, and on a small scale, wildlife-friendly way that preserves biodiversity. And we think that the subsidies that go to farmers should be focused around achieving these objectives, making it easier for farmers to do the green thing.

The Green Party wants to promote organic farming both in the UK and around the world. And there are good reasons for that in terms of protecting the environment, in terms of protecting the health of both the workers and the people consuming the foods. And that’s a really important part we think of local agricultural policy, but also of trade policy around the world.

Mr. Ramsay has succeeded in making Norwich a Fair Trade City, and is also vocal about opposing genetically modified (GM) products.

We need to ensure that the world trade rules are about creating fair-trade, that it’s not the case that the big companies have all the power to drive down welfare standard for animals, labor rights standards for the people working in farms or in factories. We’ve got to ensure that fair-trade is the norm, that governments are able to stand up for high principles in our trade system. And for me that means ensuring that we don’t have GM. It means ensuring that we always have fair-trade rather than slave labor, and it means high levels of animal welfare and environmental standards. And Greens are saying that fair-trade rather than free-trade is the priority.

Mr. Ramsay and his government colleagues have hopeful visions of creating a more benevolent greener, and overall better society.

If we’ve got better public transports, that will improve people’s lives as well as reducing carbon emissions. If we’re creating jobs in areas like renewable energy and home insulation, that will help save people money on their fuel bills and keep homes warm as well as tackling climate change. If we have local food supplies, that will keep people in work, it will ensure that we have food security for the future rather than relying on huge imports, and it will reduce carbon emissions as well.

We want it to be easier for people to use public transport by reducing the prices. We want it to be easier for people to buy local produce by having more farmers markets and supporting local producers. And we want it to be easier for people to recycle by having better recycling facilities. So there are lots of things we want to do to help people live a green lifestyle, and through that to raise the profile of the issues of the problems and of the potential solutions.

Nearing the conclusion of our interview, Deputy Leader Ramsay offered his encouraging well wishes.

Supreme Master Television, I really appreciate the work that you’re doing and I hope the next years are just as successful in raising awareness of the important issues around the world, of improving conditions for people, for animals and for the environment.

Likewise, we wish to sincerely thank Mr. Adrian Ramsay, Mr. Virendra Sharma, and Ms. Kerry McCarthy for their relentless compassion and leadership for human health, animal welfare, and a sustainable global society. We look forward to the day when their noble ideals will be realized.

Learn more and contact Member of Parliament Kerry McCarthy at: www.KerryMccarthyMP.org
For more information on Member of Parliament Virendra Sharma, please visit: www.VirendraSharma.com
Green Party Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay can be found at: www.AdrianRamsay.org.uk

Thank you for joining us today on Vegetarian Elite. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Between Master and Disciples. Blessed be our wise and courageous leaders who work diligently to uphold peace and integrity.



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