Over 400 people crowded into Savoy Place in London on Monday 20 September 2010 to hear global farming and food experts debate key issues surrounding farming, the environment, water scarcity, food security and animal welfare. The event was the fourth in the Peter Roberts Memorial Lecture series, held in honour of Compassion's farmer founder.
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Prof. Arjen Hoekstra
The water "footprint" of animal products from factory farms can be huge. The audience was shocked to hear from Professor Arjen Hoekstra that 15,500 litres of water can be required to produce just 1 kilo of beef for example.
"3% of our water footprint is water used in the home; leaving products we buy in supermarkets accounting for 97% of our water footprint."
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Dr Kate Rawles
Bio-ethicist Dr Kate Rawles grabbed attention with her challenge to us all to seek to find a truly ethical diet, where people, animals and planet are protected.
"There is good news, we still have time. Food is relevant to everyone. Individuals, governments, organisations and businesses can play immensely significant roles."
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Dr Samuel Jutzi
Dr Samuel Jutzi, from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, made a strong case for support for farmers in developing countries, who are often hugely dependent on their animals.
"We must ensure that animal welfare objectives are incorporated into (…) a responsible livestock sector that can support food security on a global scale."
Compassion's own Chief Executive Philip Lymbery gave a stirring call, emphasising the devastating impact of factory farming on global grain and water resources, on the environment, on our health and on the animals' lives. As he pointed out, factory farming was a 20th century techno-fix which has no place in a sustainable future.
"Can we feed the world without factory farming? Yes we can."
We are grateful to John Parker, Globalisation editor of The Economist, for his professional and enthusiastic chairing of the event.
Leading the debate
Compassion will continue to lead the campaign to end factory farming globally by 2050 and to place our concerns at the heart of the global debate on the future of food and farming.
To help us move the debate further forward, please support us. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.