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MPs call for action on intensive farming

News Section Icon Published 04/06/2013

Compassion is delighted at the news today that MPs on the International Development Committee have called for concerted action to curb food waste, including favouring extensive farming systems, like pasture-fed cattle.

This is at the heart of Compassion's work. We are pushing for a common sense approach to feeding the world.

A common-sense approach to farming and food production could revolutionise our food system to become more effective at making food available to people. This means that farm animals must be kept in ways that add to the world's food supply, rather than competing with people for food and resources.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, chair of the International Development Committee warned:

"There is no room for complacency about food security over the coming decades if UK consumers are to enjoy stable supplies and reasonable food prices.

"UK aid to help smallholders increase food production in the developing world is of direct benefit to UK consumers as rising world food prices will reduce living standards of hard-pressed UK consumers.

"We have seen two notable 'shocks' or 'spikes' in global food prices over recent years, with price peaks in June 2008 and February 2011. These crises - driven by rising demand for food and by the impact of biofuels produced through agriculture - hurt many parts of the UK food industry and strongly undermined the global fight against hunger.

"A number of tangible measures set out in our report could, if implemented, have a significant impact on global food security and directly benefit UK consumers.

"There is, for example, considerable scope for the Government to launch a national consumer campaign to reduce domestic food waste. Alongside this the Government should also set national targets to curb food waste within the UK food production and retail sectors, with clear sanctions for companies that fail to meet these targets.

"With the UK never more than a few days away from a significant food shortage, UK consumers should also be encouraged over time to reduce how often they eat meat. Meanwhile, as a nation we should place a stronger focus on more sustainable extensive systems of meat production such as pasture-fed cattle, rather than on highly intensive grain-fed livestock units."

The Committee's warning is timely and welcome. Getting animals back on the farm, out in fields where they belong, instead of being factory farmed, where they eat food that could be fed directly to people is hugely important. Industrially reared animals worldwide consume enough grain to feed three billion people.

Eating less, but better meat from pasture-fed animals would have a significant impact on consumer health and animal welfare. At the same time, reducing the mountain of food waste in the west has to be an imperative.

See our Raw campaign for more information.


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