The Daily Telegraph

Soya milk will cost the Earth, vegans warned

- By Helena Horton

VEGANS should stop drinking soya milk in order to save the rainforest, the Sustainabl­e Food Trust has said.

A report from the trust argues milk from cows – especially cows traditiona­lly grazed on grass – is much better for a sustainabl­e planet.

The global consumptio­n of soya products has been rising, but many are produced on deforested land with the Amazon rainforest suffering great losses due to soya production.

However, the report adds that livestock is frequently fed with soya, and accounts for a large part of the profitabil­ity of the “unsustaina­ble” soya industry. The UK suffers less from this than other countries because it has lush grassland for cows to feed on.

The authors calculate about 85 litres of milk is produced in the UK for every kilo of soya bean meal consumed by dairy cows. In contrast, no more than 7.5 litres of soya drink are produced from a kilo of whole soya beans.

As a result, drinking milk from cows in the UK uses 11 times less soya than consuming drinks made from soya. “Vegans and others who buy milk substitute­s made from soya for their latte and cappuccino, or breakfast cereal, are also harming the planet. They would do better to switch to milk from cows, and especially cows traditiona­lly grazed on grass, if they want to help make a more sustainabl­e planet,” the report states.

Patrick Holden, the trust’s executive, said: “This is an important study. It shows that livestock farmers could reduce their dependence on imported protein, which is produced at such a high environmen­tal cost, and rely more on home-produced feed.

“But it also shows that drinking cows’ milk uses far less soya than drinks made from soya, because most of the milk comes from grass. This highlights the importance of grass, a crop ideally suited to our climate.”

The Government recently revealed it is looking into ways to remove products derived from deforestat­ion from the supply chain.

This could mean switching away from a reliance on soya.

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