Cheap meat isn’t your friend. Find out how the transformational movement to improve food will benefit you
The worst crime in history
When a shopper sees a £3 chicken in the supermarket they may think it is a bargain. When the full costs to society, the environment and human health are taken into account it is revealed to be a very bad deal indeed.
Unscrupulous food corporations and supermarkets, boosted by ill-conceived government subsidies, have raced to the bottom to bring ever cheaper animal products to market. The results are scorched into the world around us. Today, humanity cowers under the spell of another food-born pandemic and the amazon rainforest is a smouldering mess.
Factory farming has long been considered cruel and environmentally destructive. Increasingly, new research is revealing it is actually the main way that humans are killing the natural world.
Planet Earth used to be covered in wild animals. Today, only a tiny fraction remain. By weight only 3% of the weight of land mammals are wild animals.
Most large land animals are crammed into dungeon warehouses where they suffer profoundly before being slaughtered and turned into poor quality food. Simultaneously, the last remaining wild places are being bulldozed and burned to grow more fodder for these pathetic doomed creatures festering in sheds.
As Yuval Noah Harari puts it -
Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history.
This industrial torment of sentient creatures and also our wild world may have trundled dismally on were it not for Covid-19. The major human health implications of intensive agriculture have been shunted to centre stage and the world is waking up.
Smart, informed people everywhere are joining the boycott of cruel intensive agricultural practices. These good choices are being reinforced and amplified by a major, joined up, global shift that could finally end this abhorrent chapter in human history.
Just in time, the health of humans, the wellbeing of all animals and the evolutionary destiny of the planet have become aligned. A major leap forward in human consciousness is upon us - the end of factory farming is nigh.
Here are the 7 signs -
1. Animal welfare organisations are going big
Europe’s leading farm animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming describes factory farming as “a nightmare we can end.” Their campaign End The Cage Age has mobilised almost 1.4 million people across Europe to call on the European Commission to ban all cages for EU farm animals.
CEO, Philip Lymbery. He said:
We’re a continent standing up against cruelty. We’re the generation that is going to make things happen. We’re the generation that will end the cage age.
Recognising how intensive farms are breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses and diseases that threaten human health, along with 170 other organisations across Europe CIWF is calling for signitures to call for a future without factory farming and a food and farming revolution; one that provides healthy, affordable food for all, produced from farming systems that are:
- Safer, promoting our welfare and that of farm animals
- Fairer, supporting rural livelihoods and relieving poverty
- Greener, protecting the planet and its precious natural resources
Lymbery again -
Every day there is a new confirmation of how destructive, inefficient, wasteful, cruel and unhealthy the industrial agriculture machine is. We need a total rethink of our food and farming systems before it’s too late.
2. Leading brands are joining the fight
Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling natural brand of soaps and body care products in North America has come out squarely against intensive agriculture. Since 2013, Dr. Bronner’s has made donations totaling over $3 million to a variety of highly effective organizations working to improve the well-being of animals and end factory farming. In 2017, they cofounded Regenerative Organic Certified, the new gold standard alternative to industrial agricultural practices, which hit the market place this year.
David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s said -
I’m grateful to my family, who support regenerative organic agriculture to mitigate climate change, which is directly linked to our current industrialized food system and inhumane factory farming of animals.
The brand has produced a highly collectable, limited edition soap calling for the end of factory farming which is being given away from the Ecohustler shop to anyone who shares this article on social media.
Leading UK brands such as Lush also fight to end factory farming. Stella McCartney is demonstrating how even fashion can be cruelty free with advanced sustainability policies which avoid the use of any animal products. She said
The beliefs I was raised with - to respect animals and to be aware of nature, to understand that we share this planet with other creatures - have had a huge impact on me.
3. Meat alternatives are trending
Do you need a dead animal in your food to make it delicious? Many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs are betting that you don’t.
Impossible Foods Inc. has led the pack. The company's stated aim is to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without the negative health and environmental impacts. The Impossible Burger, which is made from material derived from plants uses 95% less land and 74% less water, and it emits about 87% less greenhouse gas than making a ground beef burger patty from cows. Impossible Foods has raised $1.2 billion over 12 rounds of funding. The total valuation of the company is now $2 billion. Pat Brown the founder says
The mission of Impossible Foods is very simple. It’s to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035.
Supermarkets often stand accused of driving a race to the bottom in food standards by competing to cut prices and hawking bulk buy and two for one offers on nasty, low quality, meat products. And yet, even Tesco has revealed plans to boost vegan meat sales by 300 percent by 2025 (compared to 2018 sales) as part of an eco-drive.
Swedish brand Oatly, which makes a range of vegan dairy alternatives from oats, has seen its UK turnover grow by a staggering 90 percent in one year. Dairy has been plagued with issues for decades. Viva’s Scary Dairy campaign has revealed many horrifying facts, including the shocking statistic that 95,000 male calves a year are shot shortly after birth as useless by-products of the industry.
Viva!’s campaigns manager Lex Rigby said -
In every glass of milk, pot of yoghurt or slice of cheese there is a whole load of suffering that’s simply unseen. We’re fed this idyllic image of cows leisurely grazing in open fields when in fact many are increasingly kept indoors with zero access to pasture. The short life of a dairy cow is heavily exploited from start to finish.
The message is connecting with consumers who don’t want this level of suffering in their mug of tea. This shift is greatest in young consumers. Ishen Paran, Oatly General Manager UK, says -
It's evident that environmentally conscious youngsters are driving a change in consumer buying behavior. Whilst it has been noted that the cost of sustainable products can be more, the cost on our planet is greater. It's great to see younger generations educating us all in living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Even Arnie is getting in on the action.
As I got older and I started reading up on it, I recognized the fact that you really don't have to get your protein from meat - or from animals. So we started going more in a direction of a vegetarian kind of diet.
A recent poll showed that 60 percent of Americans have started eating a more plant-based diet since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Take that factory "farmers"!
4. People don’t want any more new diseases
Industrial agriculture is making us sick. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three in four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Examples include bacteria such as Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), Campylobacter and Salmonella, and viruses including Avian and Swine Influenza.
Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health and animal agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States, writes:
Unnaturally high concentrations of animals confined indoors in a limited airspace and producing significant quantities of waste may allow for the rapid selection, amplification, and dissemination of zoonotic pathogens.
Margaret Chan, when director general of the World Health Organization called antibiotic-resistant microbes, climate change and chronic diseases “three slow-motion disasters” shaping the global health landscape. Factory farming connects the dots among them.
Globally, up to 80% of antibiotics are administered to farmed animals – a perfect storm for triggering the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.
Factory farms are horrendous, miserable places densely packed with suffering animals. Incidences of disease are much higher than in natural populations of animals. In an attempt to keep the sad creatures alive for long enough to be slaughtered and turned into junk food they are subjected to intense regimes of antibiotics. This is making the antibiotics humans use much less effective and raises the spectre of superbugs.
Today, some 700,000 people die every year because of antimicrobial resistance but the report warns that by 2050 over 10 million people could die annually, more than the amount of people that currently die of cancer.
More than any event in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic has made plain the consequences of our abuse of animals. More than that, some scientists even see factory farming as the root cause of the pandemic. Marius Gilbert a epidemiologist of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium describes how it worked with flu -
There is clearly a link between the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses and intensified poultry production systems.
5. To save the Amazon we have to kill factory farming
The Amazon rainforest is on fire.
New research shows that the Amazon is near a tipping point of switching from rainforest to savannah. Should such a transition happen the consequences are likely to be catastrophic. A huge and irreplaceable treasure trove of wildlife would be lost forever.
The knock on effect for the global ecosystem and climate would be devastating. Weather systems the world over, but especially in the Americas would fundamentally change - most likely becoming much hotter and drier.
Ingo Fetzer of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, co-author of the paper, said:
We understand now that rainforests on all continents are very sensitive to global change and can rapidly lose their ability to adapt... given that rainforests host the majority of all global species, all this will be forever lost.
A farm creates food on its land. A factory “farm” is a concentration camp for animals. The food has to be grown elsewhere and shipped to the site.
Factory farmed animals consume 90% of soya imported into the UK. Brazil is the second largest producer of soya beans in the world, growing 24-25 million hectares (almost half of Brazil’s total cultivated land). Brazilian soya bean production is one of the main agricultural supply chains that is driving deforestation in Brazil.
If you eat factory farmed meat - you are complicit in the destruction of the Amazon. Find out how you can do more to help protect the Amazon at - https://amazonwatch.org/
6. Celebrities are lending a hand
Campaign group Farms Not Factories believe that the factory farming of any species is wrong, but specifically focus on pigs in order to raise awareness where there is currently insufficient public knowledge.
Factory pig farms can be defined as “indoor facilities in which overcrowding and lack of bedding means that animals suffer stress and disease, are prone to tail biting and have to be routinely given antibiotics”.
They enlisted a pantheon of well loved celebrities to watch animals in intensive operations. They are now calling for change.
Animal Equality launched our iAnimal virtual reality project with the film ’Through the eyes of a pig’ transporting people inside factory farms. Peter Egan, the Downton Abbey Actor said -
“I have never seen anything as shocking as this in my life. It’s devastating, and completely inhumane. Virtual reality enabled me to experience, close up, for just a few minutes, the horror of the short lives of factory farmed animals, to see what they see, to get a real sense of how they live. It has shocked me deeply, and it has strengthened my resolve to help them.”
Brian May of Queen went further saying -
Eating animals has brought us to our knees as a species. I think it’s time to re-examine our world in a way that doesn’t abuse other species.
7. Good food makes us happy
Good food is the foundation of happy and healthy communities.
The big lie of the industrial food system is that we need multinational corporations, factory farms, genetic modification and chemical inputs in order to feed the world.
The reality is that big corporate agriculture is destroying the life support system we all depend upon and supermarkets and junk food joints diminish our communities and well being whilst turbo charging global inequality.
Chefs, health gurus and doctors all say the same thing - the best food is local, seasonal, fresh and chemical free. More than this, becoming more involved in how our food is produced and connecting properly with the people making good food around us is a fast track to more thriving communities.
The climate emergency, wildfires, extreme weather and the global pandemic all make this a scary time. A surprising solution is that our choices as consumers and our attitude to food can change the world for the better if we focus our efforts together.
Factory farming is a hideous monster terrorising our world. Together we can defeat it.