The 2016 Oxford Real Farming Conference will be held on 6th and 7th January, where Compassion in World Farming’s new report, Cheap Food Costs Dear, will be launched.
Peter Stevenson, Compassion’s Chief Policy Advisor, will be discussing his new report written on behalf of Compassion in World Farming. In it, he explores the impact of factory farming on people and the planet as well as the cost of industrial livestock production.
In compiling this report, Peter said: “The essential purpose is to highlight the deep concerns and imbalance surrounding factory farming.
“It’s important we remain acutely conscious of the long term and potentially irreversible impact the rearing of animals on an industrial scale has on our health and environment.”
The bleak conditions imposed on factory farmed animals are far too often justified by the claim that this gives us cheap food. But scratch the surface and you’ll soon find that in order to have meat at an acceptable price we not only have to treat the animal appallingly, but the planet too.
The industrial production of livestock has far-reaching negative consequences, including impaired human health, environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and loss of biodiversity. These crucial issues summarise a major flaw in the true cost of meat production and the vulnerability of the planet when it comes to industrial scale animal rearing.
Industrial livestock production is hugely inefficient, dependent on feeding human-edible cereals to animals. For every 100 calories fed to animals in the form of cereals, just 17-30 calories are returned for human consumption as meat or milk.
Feeding cereals to animals is a wasteful use not only of these crops but of the land, water and energy used to grow them. The need to grow huge amounts of grain to feed factory farmed animals has fuelled the intensification of crop production with its use of agro-chemicals and monocultures. Recent studies show that intensive agriculture has eroded the quality, productivity and biodiversity of UK soils.
In addition, Compassion’s CEO, Philip Lymbery, will host a panel of experts at the conference. These include Peter Stevenson; Tim Lang, Professor of Food and Policy at City University; and Charlie Clutterbuck - arguing the case against intensive livestock production.
The two-day event is a unique gathering of UK sustainable food and farming movements, offering delegates the opportunity to connect with other farmers and hear from experts in the field.