We need food sense

01 May 2013

Compassion's CEO Philip Lymbery will deliver a keynote speech at a conference on the Greening of Food, Farming and Agriculture in Oxford today.

The conference, which brings together academics and experts from across the world, is being held at Trinity College, University of Oxford.

Philip will tell those attending that one of the essential challenges facing the world is how to feed its growing population.

Food Sense

Presenting Compassion's Food Sense, Philip will say the ability of factory farming to feed a growing world population is fatally limited.

Factory farming means we feed human-edible grain to animals that are confined and they convert those calories in a hugely inefficient way into meat and dairy products. In a world where almost one billion people go to bed hungry at night, this waste is scandalous.

For every 6kg of plant protein such as cereals fed to livestock, only 1kg of protein on average is given back in the form of meat or other livestock products. In terms of food value, for every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and milk; a 70% loss.

Factory farms are food factories in reverse; they waste it, not make it; and they waste valuable cropland in the process.

Philip will tell the conference that people don't have to choose between eating cereals or meat. Both can be produced far more effectively if farm animals are kept in ways that add to the world's food supply, rather than detract, as they do on factory farms. The industrial approach forces animals and people to compete for food in a way that ill-serves them both.

See our Food Sense report for more on a common sense approach to feeding the world.

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