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Compassion urges MPs to save countryside

News Section Icon Published 27/01/2014

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, has spent three years investigating the hidden cost of cheap meat and the devastating impact of factory farming on people, animals and our planet.

His new book out this week, Farmageddon, written with political journalist Isabel Oakeshott, exposes the threat Britain faces of a new wave of US-style industrial farming that would spell the end of the British countryside as we know it.

Briefing politicians in Westminster today (27th January), Philip will call for government action to support farming that takes animals from factory farms and puts them back on the land.

Britain is already facing a situation where the countryside is becoming a green desert for wildlife. Studies point towards the intensification of farming as a key cause:

  • Farmland breeding birds have dropped by half since 19701
  • Farmland butterflies have declined by more than 40 per cent in the past 10 years2
  • Several species of bee are in trouble and could become extinct within a short time3

Zac Goldsmith MP, who is hosting the briefing, says: "The threat posed by factory farming to the future of our countryside is very real, as Philip and Isabel have highlighted in this exceptional book. It is a valuable contribution to the discussion about how we feed an ever-growing population without trashing our countryside, putting farmers out of business or jeopardising our health."

Philip says: "When I started watching wildlife as a teenager 40 years ago, I had no idea that the farmland birds that I was so fascinated by were literally disappearing. The Great British countryside has been badly scarred by intensive farming practices and the spectre of US-style mega-farms threatens to take the countryside to a new tipping point. This would spell the end of the British countryside as we know it. We need urgent government action to stop our wildlife being wiped out in the name of cheap meat."

Philip adds: "It doesn't have to be like this, everyone can be part of the solution. Governments can help improve the health of their nation and safeguard future food supplies by supporting food production that puts animals back on the farm instead of in factories.

"Consumers can make a difference three times a day by buying products from animals that are pasture-reared, free range or organic."

Farmageddon is published by Bloomsbury and will be available in all good bookshops from 30th January 2014.

You can buy a copy on Amazon or direct from the Bloomsbury website.

Find out more

Farmageddon exposes how intensive farming causes unparalleled food waste, damage to our health and the countryside, and is the world's biggest cause of animal cruelty. Find out more.

1. Defra: Statistical release: 17 October 2013 Wild Bird Populations in the UK, 1970 to 2012
2. Butterfly Conservation, State of Britain's Butterflies 2011
3. Bumblebee Conservation Trust


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