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Farmageddon in South Africa

News Icon 21/04/2014

I arrived into Cape Town and headed to the Spier estate, famous for its wines, to meet with Angus McIntosh, a farmer who passionately believes in rearing his animals on grass. After tea and homemade bakes, we were with his three thousand laying hens and mixed herd of cattle on rotational grazing.

Angus talks passionately about the perils of industrial agriculture now creeping into South Africa; “It’s not about production”, he says, “there’s enough produced to feed 12 billion people. What we need now is a qualitative approach to food.” I couldn’t agree more.

Before meeting trustees and supporters of CIWF South Africa for supper, I was on Cape Talk radio, speaking to Bruce Whitfield and his much listened-to The Money Show. You can listen to how it went here.

The next day started with the most beautiful presentation by children at Forest Heights Primary School on why cages must go. Grateful thanks to Principal Bosman, teacher Vivienne Rutgers and all the children involved for a very special moment.

Then it was on to launching Farmageddon in South Africa. The venue was Kalk Bay Books, Cape Town’s

number one place for book launches, a stone’s throw from the world-famous Boulders Beach with its colony of endangered Jackass Penguins. Our host for the evening was Cape Talk radio’s John Maytham, who chaired the event in front of a packed crowd, launching Farmageddon to a new nation.

An early start and more media preceded a visit to one of the region’s pioneering farms, Elgin Free Range Chicken. I went on a whistle-stop tour by company director, Jeanne Groenewald, before heading to one of the retailers she supplies; Woolworths.

It was an honour to present Woolworths with the first Compassion Good Egg Award ever awarded to an African company, for Woolworths’ commitment to sourcing only free range eggs.

After media interviews, I was on a plane to Johannesburg then on to Pretoria. Here I met CEO of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, Gerhard Schutte, before we were filmed for a television discussion about Farmageddon and the future of farming in South Africa.

The evening was spent at Johannesburg’s Constitutional Court, where factory farming was in the dock; Farmageddon was the topic at a lecture event hosted by Professor David Biltchitz, director of the nation’s institute for human rights and international law.

A morning spent filming with renowned national television programme, Carte Blanche, scheduled to feature Farmageddon on 4th May, was followed by a drive out toward Sun City. This was to be my only real chance to see the wild side of South Africa, with grateful thanks to Eileen and David Chapman, who took me on a taste of the bush. We spent a fantastic day on the

Pilanesberg game reserve, where we had breathtaking views of some of South Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

Huge thanks to Compassion’s director in South Africa, Louise Van Der Merwe, and everyone involved in organizing an action-packed week for animal welfare.

Heartfelt thanks to all the kind, generous and supportive people I met during my brief but most memorable time in South Africa.

Next stop for Farmageddon; Toronto, Canada.

For your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.


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