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Exposing the money behind factory farming

We’re following the money that’s being pumped into cruel, crazy factory farming. With your help, we want to stop brutal banking and bring about a new era of sustainable investment, which supports humane, sustainable farmers and gets good food on your plate.

Our first target - EBRD

Did you know that you’re funding factory farming? We all are – through the taxes that we, and our friends and family, pay. We’ve been investigating the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It’s a public bank, owned by us and funded through the taxes we pay, but it’s not taking our concerns on board.

Between 2002 and 2011, it’s been estimated that the EBRD spent a whopping €218 million on farm animal projects (1).

Even though most people are outraged at the dangers posed by factory farming – for animals, people and the planet – the EBRD is still banking on brutality.

Here's what we've done so far

Early 2014

Gathering evidence

We were so concerned about the EBRD’s investments in factory farming that we decided to take a look for ourselves. We wanted to know more about the effect that their investments were having on farm animals, on communities and on the countryside.

On an EBRD-funded intensive farm in Turkey, we documented evidence of brutal animal handling and possible environmental damage, as follows:
  • Crates of birds are stacked in darkness and await loading

    Birds
  • As the crates were thrown onto the truck, some birds’ limbs fell out of the gaps in the crates

    Crates - stacked
  • Throughout filming, workers used crates of live birds as a loading step

    Crates - standing
  • Chicken feet were seen floating in the river near the farm

    Feet

Our investigation film

This short film shows what the EBRD’s money (your money!) is funding in Turkey. To make matters even worse, the company appears to be marketing itself as a free-range farming operation, using cute, cartoon-like images of chickens roaming free on pasture to promote its company and products. These images couldn’t be further from the truth.

No isolated incident

What we discovered in Turkey is no isolated incident. In Ukraine, we spoke with communities about life living near and, in some cases, working in EBRD-funded factory farms. At both locations, the same stories arose: animal and farm worker abuse; local communities driven to the edge; environmental damage.

We spoke to Maria Vasylivna Antoniv, a local resident and retired school teacher, whose family has lived in the village of Sivka-Vojnylivska for generations. She said that “when slurry spreading is carried out the smell is so strong it’s almost unbearable...” After witnessing first-hand the problems created by an established factory farm in nearby Luka, Maria took matters into her own hands. She called a series of public meetings and, as word spread, more and more villagers joined the campaign. After a long battle, the company dropped its plans for an industrial farm in Sivka-Vojnylivska.

Despite this win, industrial farming is expanding in nearby villages. Campaigners like Maria fear that this will continue when opposition is less well organised.

People here are used to farming and dealing with farm animals on a daily basis but it is only when these industrial farms are actually constructed that they realise what kind of enterprises they are ... The environment and the future of my people is being jeopardised.

Natalia Kolomiets from the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine

The EBRD has agreed to pump tens of millions of Euros into the farms that we investigated, as well as other factory farming operations. Our investigation suggests that, taking the EBRD’s own definition of socially responsible investment, its investments in factory farming fail on every count. Factory farming is a fundamentally flawed method of food production. We call on the EBRD to live up to its promise to “follow the highest standards of corporate governance and sustainable development” by ceasing its involvement in the funding of factory farms.

All of this is happening despite the EBRD claiming that it seeks to ensure that the projects it finances are “socially and environmentally sustainable” and “respect the rights of affected workers and communities” (2).

Get the full picture: Download our investigation report.

May 2014

Campaign launches

We launch our campaign during the EBRD's Annual General Meeting. Hundreds of supporters join us in sending messages to EBRD, asking them to stop #BankingOnBrutality.
Ftm Twitter
August 2014

Emergency meeting

We held an emergency meeting with the EBRD to tell them what we found – they have said they will work to promote better animal welfare standards, but this only scratches the surface of the problem. Factory farming isn’t something that you can improve – it’s fundamentally flawed.
September 2014

Supporters unite

We launched a public petition, targeting the top decision makers at EBRD. Over 55,000 supporters from across Europe urged them to stop banking on brutality.

We handed in the petition with a box of cakes (using higher-welfare ingredients of course!). We told them that no amount of sugar-coating can conceal the truth - stop funding factory farming.
cakes

The cakes that were sent to EBRD

The next big step

As well as continuing to push the EBRD to stop banking on brutality, we are now looking at new opportunities to stop the bankrolling of factory farming. You'll hear more from us soon!

Stay updated in the meantime

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References

  1. http://www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/hsi_ifi_report_june_2013.pdf
  2. http://www.ebrd.com/downloads/research/policies/2008policy.pdf

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