Compassion in World farming today (15th July 2021) described the new UK National Food Strategy as a potential ‘game-changer’ but said the Government will need to do much more to create a truly sustainable food system.
The Strategy – released today following a two-year review led by restaurateur Henry Dimbleby – outlines a range of recommendations with the aim of delivering healthy, affordable food and building a sustainable agriculture sector in an efficient and cost-effective way.
It sets out key recommendations from field to fork, including the need to reduce meat consumption by 30% by 2032, along with measures to change government procurement policies and get supermarkets to agree to meat reduction targets. The report also proposes a £1bn investment in research into improved plant-based food production and alternative proteins to reduce our reliance on and consumption of meat. Significantly, it also recommends that the Government should set clear standards for future trade deals to safeguard animal welfare and farmers.
“We welcome many elements of the National Food Strategy - such as the need for clear standards on trade, investment in alternative proteins, support for disadvantaged members of society and the need to overhaul public procurement – it could be a real game-changer for the UK,” said Dr Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK.
“But what’s also needed is for the Government to tax factory farmed meat and invest the revenues in lowering the cost of healthy food and supporting regenerative agriculture, which is better for animals, safeguards soil health and works in harmony with nature.
“A 30% meat reduction will not be enough to create a truly sustainable food system. Current subsidies and taxes must change so that the right kinds of food, especially plant-based ones and alternative proteins, can be embraced by retailers and consumers.
“We are concerned that the Strategy gives insufficient attention to animal welfare. We must move away from the cruelties of factory farming where animals are kept in crowded, stressful conditions which make them highly vulnerable to diseases, some of which are zoonotic.
“We must have an integrated approach by government to transforming our food system so that it benefits people, farm animals, wildlife and the planet.”
Compassion in World Farming supports a 50% reduction from current levels of meat and dairy consumption in the UK by 2035, and the UK government to ensure that all animals reared for food are produced in higher welfare systems. The charity is also calling for a global target of 50% less meat production and consumption by 2050.
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