I would say that the thing you should pay attention to is that animal products tend to have a negative impact on the environment.
Meat-based diets have a major impact on the environment, much greater than meat-free diets. In fact, 78% of all agriculture-related emissions come from the production of animal products and in particular livestock farming, which generates up to 18% of CO2e emissions (according to the FAO). This may seem a small percentage, but it is even more than the emissions linked to the transport sector (14%) as a whole.
These emissions can be easily explained: in addition to the industrial processes related to animal products, it is important to note the resources needed to feed livestock. For example, in order to produce sufficient food, it is necessary to have crops, energy, water, fertilisers... which also implies problems of ecosystem degradation and deforestation. On the other hand, the capacity of cows to emit methane during their digestive process should not be underestimated, as it is one of the main greenhouse gases. This may seem insignificant, but consuming other livestock (such as poultry) reduces the climate impact. However, we have to keep in mind that it is also meat and has a large carbon footprint anyway.
The UN is urging a reduction in meat consumption in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the dangerous impact on climate change. But changing behaviour is difficult to achieve and not everyone wants to give up meat and/or dairy products altogether. This is why researchers are proposing a new plant diet that occasionally includes animal products, while at the same time having a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is a so-called "flexitarian" diet, which takes into account the environmental problems associated with meat consumption, but which is suitable for everyone, even those who are not ready to stop eating meat or dairy products.
Following a flexitarian diet means being flexible in what we usually eat, taking into account the impact of our consumption on the climate. Basically, our diet is based on products such as legumes, vegetables, cereals and also the occasional consumption of meat. Researchers found that a shift to a "flexitarian" diet was needed to keep global warming below the target temperatures of 1.5°C and 2°C, but that rich countries would need more radical dietary shifts towards products with a low carbon footprint.
Lamb, beef, cheese and pork have the biggest carbon footprint and vegetables and legumes like beans, tomatoes or lentils have the least. So following a flexitarian diet would mean, for example, having between eight and fifteen meatless meals a week, which would increase vegetable-based consumption. This is in fact similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet, where beef is eaten only once a month and the majority of meals are vegetable-based. Following a traditional Mediterranean diet could reduce global warming by 15% and even improve our health!
Now that we know that our daily consumption habits have a strong impact, choosing our products accordingly will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change. As consumers, we can strengthen the demand for more sustainable products and inspire others with our actions!
Let's not forget that changing the way we eat is not the only thing we can do to fight climate change. Indeed, reducing food waste also has a major impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks for the quick answer @ChristoPher !