A new Foresight Report "The Future of Food and Farming", published by the UK government on 24 January 2011, has been making waves in the media. The report puts huge emphasis on using science and technology to ensure food for all in the coming years.
Compassion in World Farming welcomes the Report because it should stimulate governments to take action to address the global crisis in long-term food security, but we believe that science and technology cannot on their own solve the global food crisis of today, nor the likely crises of tomorrow.
The Report advocates "sustainable intensification" of agriculture so that the growing world population can eat more animal products in their diets. Does that mean more intensive factory farming? What impact would this have on animals, on the planet and on global health?
Industrial animal production uses vast amounts of grain and soya. It takes an average 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef. The livestock sector is responsible globally for around 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions we produce. Two out of three farm animals in the world are already kept in the miserable confinement of the factory farm. The massive availability of cheap animal products allows wealthy societies to over-eat, but nearly a billion people go hungry every day, while another billion have inadequate nourishment. The use of crops for feeding animals, most of whom are factory farmed, when those crops could be used directly by hungry humans is a shocking indictment of our global food and farming priorities.
Research commissioned by Compassion in World Farming has shown that it is possible to feed the world using solely environmentally friendly and humane production systems.
Joyce D'Silva, Compassion's Director of Public Affairs, said: "Compassion in World Farming believes that unless we address the issue of consumption, in particular consumption of animal products, we will find it impossible to deal fairly with world hunger. We do not believe that keeping billions of farm animals in the deprived and miserable conditions of the factory farm can play any useful role in achieving equitable food for all."
For more information on the issues around industrial animal farming, see see our reports.
We believe that farm animals should not and need not suffer.
If you agree, please support us today. Your donation could help end all forms of farm animal cruelty and help us stop factory farming in its tracks. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.