One of Britain’s best known barristers will tell the Labour Party conference that eating meat could be banned like smoking, it has been reported.
Michael Mansfield QC, a self-described “radical lawyer” who has worked on some of the UK’s most high-profile court cases, will call for the crime of “ecocide” to be introduced.
He is set to give a speech today launching the Vegan Now campaign at the party’s conference in Brighton.
A panel of experts will discuss the effects of livestock farming on the environment.
Last year, scientists suggested imposing a meat tax in an effort to save lives.
Vegan charity Viva! – which counts Mr Mansfield as a patron – published part of his speech on Sunday evening.
He will say: “I think when we look at the damage eating meat is doing to the planet, it is not preposterous to think that one day it will become illegal.
“There are plenty of things that were once commonplace that are now illegal, such as smoking inside.”
Mr Mansfield, 77, has represented the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six, the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and the families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
He is expected to make a call in Brighton for new legislation to criminalise the destruction of nature, which he calls a “crime against humanity”.
He will say: “We know that the top 3,000 companies in the world are responsible for more than £1.5 trillion worth of damage to the environment, with meat and dairy production high on the list.
“We know that because the UN has told us so. It is time for a new law on ecocide to go alongside genocide and the other crimes against humanity.”
In a recent report, the United Nations said that eating less meat is a “major opportunity” in the battle against climate change.
Juliet Gellatley from Viva! said: “Thirty years ago people didn’t bat an eyelid if you lit a cigarette in a pub or restaurant.
“But now society accepts smoking is harmful and so we legislated against it. The same could happen with eating meat.”