Yesterday (29th September), Compassion, in coalition with other NGOs and MEPs defied the saying that "nothing in life is free", by serving over 1000 meals to Members of the European Parliament, Parliamentary staff and visitors, European Commission officials and members of the public.
The Free Lunch event highlighted the fact that our food system is broken and aimed to dispel the myth that we need to produce more food to feed the world.
Olga Kikou, our European Affairs Manager said: “There is an urgent need for the EU to develop a food policy that addresses the adverse impacts of our current food system on animals, people’s health and the environment.
"The Free Lunch was a great success, showcasing plant based foods and encouraging us all to make responsible choices - healthy, ethical and sustainable diets are a must.”
Food for thought
The delicious lunch, prepared and served with the help of volunteers, was free of artificial additives and GMOs, did not contain animal products and used up food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Around two in every three farm animals are currently factory farmed. These intensive systems prioritise production above all else, creating vast quantities of seemingly cheap meat, milk and eggs. But factory farming comes at a cost. Animals are treated as commodities and are often raised in intense confinement. Factory farming is highly dependent on large quantities of precious resources, such as grain-based feed, water, energy and medication.
Factory farming is all-too-often viewed as the cheap, efficient solution to feeding our world. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. For every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and dairy; a 70% loss. In short, people are being forced to compete with farm animals for food.
Need for change
The event also emphasised a number of political asks, including calls for the European Commission to:
- Produce a holistic strategy towards a sustainable European food and farming system.
- Develop guidelines on what constitutes a healthy and sustainable diet, including the need to reduce consumption of animal source foods for health, environmental and animal welfare.
- Include reduction of animal-based foods in the revised Green Public Procurement guidelines.
- Introduce an EU target that, by 2030, 100 percent of children should have received food and nutrition education, including on the benefits of plant-based eating, by the time they have completed primary school.
- Develop promotional measures for increased consumption of plant-based foods.
Paul McCartney and family, who supported the event said: “It is essential that politicians adopt measures which promote healthy and sustainable food consumption: more plant-based foods and fewer animal-based foods.”
The hugely successful event was co-organised by Compassion , Humane Society International, Food for Life Global, Beyond GM and the European Parliament’s Sustainable Food Systems Group.