In a powerful move, the United Nations has released a new report, entitled Right to Food, which urges Governments to move away from factory farming.
The report gives a detailed analysis of the industrial food system and stresses the urgent need for a shift from our current intensive farming systems, to extensive land-based farming, in order to feed the growing population.
Two thirds of farm animals worldwide are reared in cruel factory farms, where their lives are typically spent in barren pens, crates or cages which prevent them from expressing natural behaviours. Some believe that these industrial systems maximise efficiency and provide food for the booming population - but as the report indicates, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Factory farms are not just detrimental to animal welfare but also cause environmental damage and contribute to climate change. In addition this method of food production is extremely inefficient – as vast amounts of crops which could be eaten directly by people, are fed to animals instead. For every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and dairy.
The influential report highlights the role some food companies play in pushing us towards unhealthy diets. It emphasises the need to avoid overconsumption of meat and dairy products - made possible by industrial farming - as eating too much red and processed meat can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, as well as causing certain cancers.
In addition, the report outlines the potential role of economic measures, including taxes on food of low nutritional value, and targeted subsidies that allow people on low incomes to afford healthier food.
An urgent need for change
In summary, the UN makes it clear that urgent change is needed to fix our broken food system and calls on Governments to regulate the food industry for future generations. A move away from factory farms to extensive land-based farming that is healthy for people and sustainable for the planet is crucial.
Choose higher welfare
Find out more about choosing higher welfare meat, eggs and dairy products by downloading our free Compassionate Food Guide