To: The World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, World Health Organisation, World Organisation for Animal Health, United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
A Future Without Factory Farming
We call on the institutions and governments of the world to protect human health, and the health of our planet, by replacing factory farming with humane, regenerative agriculture that reduces the risk of future pandemics.
The emergence of COVID-19 and the ever-present threat of further pandemics has made the situation even more urgent. As we now know only too well, serious diseases can be transmitted from wild animals to humans. In addition, the crowded, stressful conditions of factory farms can be the perfect breeding ground for infectious diseases that can break out and infect human populations.
Our cruel abuse of wild and farmed animals is damaging our health and will continue to do so unless we fundamentally reassess our relationship with them.
COVID-19 has highlighted the dangers of ignoring potential crises until they are hard upon us. Other threats – climate change, antibiotic resistance, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and pollution – are also reaching crisis point. In each case we are doing far too little to tackle these impending disasters. And in each case our food systems play a major part in generating these crises.
The solution is a future for food where fewer animals are farmed globally, and the ones being farmed are in higher welfare systems that put animal health, soil health, agroecology, agroforestry and biodiversity at the heart of their operations. This shift must be backed up by a global reduction in the consumption of animal products, replaced with a nutritious diet focused on plants and plant proteins.
In the years to come, we need to avoid further pandemics and dangerous levels of climate change and other crises; we must change the way we farm and what we eat.
We, the undersigned, urge the adoption of an action plan, for human health, our planet and animal welfare: enveloping a systemic shift away from factory farming and towards regenerative agriculture, coupled with a decrease in the number of animals farmed globally.
It is also important that all strategies and initiatives already in place or begun (e.g. Farm to Fork Strategy, Green Deal and the Green New Deals) should now be prioritised and pursued with the most ambitious goals in mind. High on all agendas must be discussions to end intensive farming for good, and to protect our future by:
- Ensuring good animal welfare
- Tackling climate change
- Ending deforestation
- Ensuring nutritious food
- Achieving health-orientated livestock systems
- Minimising water use and pollution
- Enhancing soil quality
- Restoring biodiversity
- Ending routine farm antibiotic use