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Compassion in World Farming launches STOPTHEMACHINE campaign with crucial message: if you care about wildlife, you should care about factory farming

Yesterday (22nd May), Compassion in World Farming launched its new campaign in a one-night only event at the Natural History Museum. STOPTHEMACHINE explores the link between factory farming and the devastating impact this is having on some of the world’s most iconic wild animals.

The campaign calls for an urgent rethink of the way we produce and consume food before it is too late. Factory farming is driving many species, including the Sumatran elephant, African penguin and Brazilian jaguar, to the brink of extinction but we can halt this decline. The everyday food choices we all make could help save these much-loved animals.

The launch event was attended by actors Peter Egan and Evanna Lynch, and a number of influential figures including leading British environmentalist Tony Juniper and conservationist Stanley Johnson.

Chris Darwin, naturalist and great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, who attended the launch said: “I know Charles [Darwin] would want to stop the machine because he loved the natural world.

“Ultimately, we have got to put factory farming to bed. In the museum. Out of history. Right now.”

Award-winning wildlife expert and presenter Simon King OBE, who helped launch the campaign, said: “The final goal of every campaign like this is that it no longer needs to exist.

“We’re not powerless in this battle. I’d like to hope that you go away from this evening feeling empowered.”

He went on to read the D.H. Lawrence poem ‘The Triumph of the Machine’: “They talk of the triumph of the machine, but the machine will never triumph.”

Informed by the global investigation undertaken by Compassion’s Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery for his new book, Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were, the immersive exhibition demonstrates how once diverse lands and waters are now over-farmed and over-fished, all to feed billions of animals crammed into cruel factory farms. It discredits the myths underlying 21st Century food production and showcases the ethical, sustainable alternatives once we STOPTHEMACHINE of intensive agriculture.

Many people attribute the decline of iconic species to climate change and habitat destruction. However, few know that intensive farming, fuelled by consumer demand for cheap meat, is one of the biggest drivers of species extinction and biodiversity loss on the planet.

In the last forty years the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish globally has halved and species are disappearing at a rate 1,000 times faster than would occur naturally. Huge swathes of wildlife habitat are being destroyed across the world to make way for intensive crops, which are then fed to intensively reared animals. These monocultures are doused with agrochemicals which are harmful not just to animals, but to people too.

We end up with less calories in meat, eggs and milk from the animals, than we started with in crops. It’s an inefficient, wasteful, and destructive way of producing food. STOPTHEMACHINE will open people’s eyes to the global demand for food that drives two-thirds of the loss of wildlife happening today.

Compassion’s CEO, Philip Lymbery, said: “There’s a faceless, heartless, relentless machine out there sucking the life out of our forests and oceans. It’s so powerful, the animals don’t stand a chance. This machine is factory farming.

“STOPTHEMACHINE is a crucial campaign that sends out a clear message: if you care about wildlife, you should care about factory farming.

“The campaign encourages consumers to choose pasture-fed, free-range or organic foods and urges governments to support alternative farming methods that work in partnership with nature and the wildlife that lives there. This is the ultimate key to preserving biodiversity. When farming starts to work with nature, and not against it, the benefits are endless.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The STOPTHEMACHINE exhibition will travel to a variety of locations including a Compassion in World Farming ticketed supporter event on 24th June which is open to the public at Savoy Place in London, the European Parliament in Brussels from 4th-8th September, the Evolution Festival in the Czech Republic from 23rd-24th September and the Extinction and Livestock Conference at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centre in London over 5th-6th October.

For high resolution images of the event please click here.

Speakers:

Simon King OBE is a naturalist, author and award winning broadcaster, working in the field of natural history for over 30 years. He has contributed memorable footage to some off the BBC’s most prestigious wildlife series including Blue Planet, Life in the Freezer and Planet Earth and is well known for his presenting work on popular series such as Big Cat Diary, Springwatch and Autumnwatch.

Chris Darwin is the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. He is an environmentalist, adventurer and ambassador for Bush Heritage Australia. His fundraising helped them buy the Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia. He believes we can halt the mass extinction of species by eating less meat and fish. He is currently developing a “less meat” app.

Tony Juniper is a campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser and a well-known British environmentalist. For more than 25 years he has worked for change toward a more sustainable society at local, national and international levels.

Stanley Johnson has published ten books on environmental issues. In 1984 he was awarded the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment and the RSPCA Richard Martin award for services to animal welfare. In 2012 he was awarded the WWF Silver Medal and in 2015 received the RSPB's Medal for Services to Nature Conservation' and the WWF Leaders of the Living Planet Award.

For more information about STOPTHEMACHINE please visit www.ciwf.org/stopthemachine

For further information or to interview a spokesperson please contact: Telsha Arora, Media Officer on 01483 521 890 or email telsha.arora@ciwf.org.uk