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UN Convention needed to save planet, warns CEO behind landmark conference

News Section Icon Published 05/10/2017

Today, at the ground-breaking Extinction and Livestock Conference, Compassion in World Farming CEO, Philip Lymbery, will warn experts, campaigners, policy-makers and business leaders from around the world that a new UN Convention on food and farming is needed to integrate objectives and ensure that the current climate change targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved in order to save the planet.

The call comes as Compassion in World Farming launches a new report – called Towards a flourishing food system – which details how our global food systems should be reformed in order to secure food for future generations.

Philip, who spent several years investigating the impact of intensive farming on people, animals and the planet for his books ‘Farmageddon’ and ‘Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were’, says: “We need a total rethink of our food and farming systems, before it’s too late. Intensive livestock systems are at the heart of so many problems affecting health, food security, biodiversity, the environment and animal welfare.

“Unless we have a UN Convention to specifically tackle the wide-ranging impacts of food and farming, the targets on climate change won’t be achieved and our world will continue to be ravaged by our broken food systems.”

The conference, held at the prestigious QEII Centre in London, is the first ever to examine how current livestock production is driving two-thirds of wildlife loss worldwide, causing massive deforestation in countries such as Argentina and Brazil, using up the world’s precious natural resources, polluting our waterways and creating ocean ‘dead zones’ where nothing can live, creating the perfect breeding ground for superbugs and contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. This is in addition to the suffering and misery caused to billions of animals in factory farms around the world. 

CIWF believes that cohesive food and farming policies are needed with objectives relating to livelihoods, food security, natural resources, dietary health, climate change and animal welfare that are properly integrated so that one objective is not achieved at the expense of another. The best way to achieve this is through a UN Convention on food and farming.

“Without global agreements that have an holistic approach, our wildlife will be pushed to extinction, our landscapes will be bulldozed, our precious natural resources will be used up and our health will suffer,” says Philip.

“There’s already enough food for our growing population, the trouble is that we feed much of it in the form of cereals to factory farmed animals to produce meat, which makes no sense. By eating less and better meat and dairy products, such as pasture-fed, free-range and organic, we can help secure more sustainable food systems.

“The Extinction & Livestock Conference is just the beginning of what will be an ongoing international process to identify solutions and build a broad-based coalition and movement to lobby UN member states and institutions for a UN Convention that properly secures food for future generations.” concludes Philip.

Scientists, experts and business leaders from all over the world are speaking at the two-day Extinction conference, including: food activist and academic, Raj Patel; World Food Prize Winner and founder of the Millennium Institute, Hans Herren; and health expert Professor Frank Hu of Harvard University.

The conference will also hold the first ever UK public event to serve the Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat - which is currently only available in the US – along with a range of other innovative plant-based foods.  Actress and CIWF patron Joanna Lumley will be speaking at the event along with Tesco’s Director of Plant-based Foods, Derek Sarno.

For more information about the conference and the future development of solutions visit 


Media contact - for further information or to interview a spokesperson please contact the Compassion in World Farming media team on 01483 521618 -

Notes to editors:

  1. Copies of the report – Towards a flourishing food system – and a shorter media briefing document outlining the key impacts of livestock production are available on request.
  2. Relevant photographs are available via the following link to the CIWF photo library
  3. Footage of Philip Lymbery’s Dead Zone investigations are available via


UN Convention needed to save planet, warns CEO behind landmark conference.pdf:

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