Voices for Change: Factory farming
Facts and figures relating to global food security are frequently used by scientists, politicians and industry to justify factory farming…
- But what do official figures really tell us (anyway)?
- How efficient is factory farming?
- What are the hidden costs?
Not only are the statistics used to justify factory farming increasingly coming into question, see for example a 2010 Soil Association report - Telling Porkies: The big fat lie about doubling food production - there is also a growing awareness of food waste in the EU. For example, the 2011 documentary film, Taste the Waste reveals statistics such as:
90 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the EU each year
Furthermore, the risks for the environment and human health, as well as the negative impacts of large mechanised farms on animal welfare, biodiversity, traditional farming practices and rural communities are becoming ever clearer. ARC2020 decided to listen to some alternative voices…
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF FACTORY FARMING
ARC2020 spoke to Emma Slawinski from Compassion in World Farming to find out more about factory farming. This 3 minute video outlines some of the hidden costs of factory farming in terms of loss of nutritional value, ineffiecient resource use, loss of biodiversity and other environmental impacts:
Pig Business, a 2009 film produced by Tracy Worcester is a documentary that exposes the huge hidden costs behind the pork and processed meats industry on our supermarket shelves. Tracy recently spoke to ARC web correspondent Peter Crosskey. You can find the interview along with the film trailer here:
The Meatrix website offers information on the issues surrounding factory farming, as well as alternatives to conventionally-raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs. The website also features The Meatrix Interactive 360°, a tool to help people learn about factory farming, with in depth information on the issues.
FACTORY FARMING AND HUMAN HEALTH
Factory farming needs high volumes of cheap animal feed, pesticides and antibiotics to mitigate the spread of disease.
In recent years there have been a number of health scandals, such as those relating to MRSA, linked to factory farming. Already this year they have been a number of studies revealing the extent of the risks. See the following ARC2020 blog posts on a story from Germany:
In January 2012, the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, comprising of Compassion in World Farming, Sustain and the Soil Association issued a report warning of the risks of factory farming practices. The report states that farm animals consume nearly half of all antibiotics used worldwide. This extensive use of antibiotics, gives resistant strains of bacteria an ideal opportunity to develop. Find the report here.
FACTORY FARMING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- Factory farms in Poland: threat to Baltic Sea: ARC2020 blog post
- Breeding animals: consequences on the environment and people/Allevare gli animali: le conseguenze sull’ambiente e sulle persone (ltalian only)
- Hoofprints: Livestock and its environmental impacts: Friends of the Earth 2008
FACTORY FARMING AND THE CAP
A number of organisations have produced reports that outline their objectives for the CAP reform, focusing on different topics related to industrial farming. The report Globalising Hunger: Food Security and the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for example analyses the impacts of the scramble for the cheapest raw materials, the exports of cereals, dairy and poultry products, as well as the effects of the growing demand for animal feed, by far the most important agricultural commodity imported into the European Union.
Feeding the beast: How factory farming is propping up factory farming a report from Friends of the Earth considers possible policy options in the short and long term for promoting more sustainable forms of livestock production.
Compassion in World Farming has set up a campaign: Filthy Business which focuses on the reform of the CAP
YOUR POINTS OF VIEW
Johnan Lugger, manager of a small ecological mountain-farm in Austria, speaks to Simone Matouch from Forum Synergies about his experiences. Audio recording coming soon.
Find the PDF translation here
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