Make Animal Welfare a Priority in New Farming Plan

Pig Jenny Poole

Target: George Eustice, U.K. Minister for Farming, Food and Marine Environment

Goal: Take animal welfare and environmental protection into account when devising the new 25-year plan for food and farming.

The British government is currently working on a 25-year plan for food and farming, but the focus is being put on intensifying farming, increasing exports, and weakening regulations. Instead, this plan should include some serious adjustments to current conditions where billions of animals suffer in intensive factory farms, the meat and dairy industry are allowed to pollute air and waterways and cause extreme land degradation, and hormones and antibiotics pumped into animals are causing widespread illnesses and diseases.

Considering its focus on productivity, competitiveness, technology, and profit, it seems that this food and farming plan is currently driven by agriculture interests alone, while those of animals and the general public are being overlooked. As quoted by Compassion in World Farming, a report by the Natural Capital Committee clearly states that “farming can produce large external costs to society in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, air pollution, habitat destruction, soil erosion and flooding,” estimating that these costs to society reach the equivalent of over 1 billion U.S. dollars per year.

Also, due to agriculture, wildlife is also being displaced, culled, and otherwise harmed. Within the farms themselves, intensive living conditions for farm animals give rise to salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter, which make their way into food and can prove fatal to consumers. Instead of allowing this system to become increasingly cruel, harmful, and destructive, the British government should be taking steps to reverse this trend.

According to Compassion in World Farming, it should also be nurturing “dietary change from the consumption of high levels of processed foods, meat, dairy and eggs” to “consumption patterns that are healthier and more sustainable.” While the current government promised to uphold high standards of animal welfare for farm animals, this has not been achieved and is even less likely to be ensured through increased intensification of the food and farming system.

Sign this petition urging the British government to revise their 25-year food and farming plan to take animal welfare, consumer health and environmental protection into account.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Eustice,

The 25-year plan that the government is currently working on wrongly focuses on intensifying farming, increasing exports and weakening regulations. As is, billions of animals suffer in intensive factory farms, the meat and dairy industry are allowed to pollute air and waterways and cause extreme land degradation, and hormones and antibiotics pumped into animals are causing widespread illnesses and diseases, not to mention allowing drug-resistant bacteria to develop and spread.

Instead of promoting intensification, this plan should include some serious adjustments to current conditions in order to improve the health of consumers, of the planet and the welfare of farmed animals. It should also nurture a dietary switch away from meat, dairy and eggs because these polluting industries cause intense animal suffering. While the Conservative Manifesto promised to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare, this will most certainly not be achieved through the current 25-year plan.

I urge you to take animal welfare, consumer health and safety and environmental protection into account into the 25-year food and farming plan.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jenny Poole

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