Earlier this year, Health Canada published much-anticipated draft revisions to Canada’s outdated food guide. The proposed healthy eating recommendations would encourage Canadians to eat “vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein” and to mostly eat unsaturated fat (found in plant-based foods) over unsaturated fat (found mostly in animal foods).
The proposed healthy eating recommendations would also eliminate the outdated food category and serving size / number format, instead setting out easy-to-follow, culturally-inclusive eating principles. Notably, dairy would no longer have its own food group—a sensible move considering up to 90 percent of some ethnicities cannot digest mammalian milk after infancy.
Unhealthy diets rich in animal foods cost the Canadian economy billions in health care costs and lost productivity. Researchers at McGill University have found that shifting Canadians towards a healthful, more plant-based diet is better for our economy.
And of course, the meat, dairy, and egg industries are a nightmare of cruelty for the 771 million land animals killed in Canada in 2016 alone.
The meat and dairy industries are concerned that the proposed healthy eating recommendations will hurt their bottom lines because Canadians will consume fewer animal foods. In fact, a recent investigation in the Globe and Mail showed that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has been lobbying Health Canada on industry’s behalf. Officials from AAFC warned that, “Messages that encourage a shift toward plant-based sources of protein would have negative implications for the meat and dairy industries.”
If you agree that Canadians deserve healthy eating recommendations that promote our health and longevity, not the short-term economic interests of a few politically powerful industries, take action! Here’s what to do:
Contact your local federal member of Parliament and ask to set up a meeting. Not sure who that is? Find out here.
Review this document, prepared by Animal Justice, outlining the health and economic case for Health Canada’s proposed eating recommendations.
Print two copies of the above document and bring along to your meeting—one to leave with your MP, and one for yourself to refer to.
Contact us afterwards to let us know how your MP responded!
Thank you for taking action for animals, our environment, and the health of all Canadians.