Petition Take action to end factory farming and reduce meat and dairy consumption
In order to improve public health, combat climate change and reduce animal suffering, the Government should:
1. Commit to end factory farming, starting by phasing out existing ‘megafarms'.
2. Set a target of a 50% reduction in meat and dairy consumption by 2030 and impose taxes to achieve this.
Factory farming can spread disease and cause animal suffering and is contributing to climate change, with over 37% of methane emissions originating from factory farming.
Meat and dairy consumption can also negatively impact human health, and WHO has classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen.
This response was given on 5 October 2020
Adopting best practice across all farming systems is crucial to delivering net zero. Stockmanship and good husbandry, whatever size and system of production, is key to ensuring good animal welfare.
As the first major economy to legislate for Net Zero by 2050, targeting greenhouse gases is a priority for this Government. We are clear that adapting best practice across all farming systems is a crucial part of this. The cornerstone of our new agricultural policy, the Environmental Land Management Scheme, will support farmers to deliver environmental public goods by paying them public money to do so. Additionally, measures in the Agriculture Bill, the National Food Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan will all enable farmers to optimise sustainable good production and reduce emissions.
In the UK, we can be justly proud that we have amongst the highest standards of animal welfare in the world. We are developing an Animal Health and Welfare Pathway which will promote the production of healthier, higher welfare animals. Improving animal health underpins the welfare of farmed animals; reduces greenhouse gas emissions; slows the rise of anti-microbial resistance; better protects farmers and the public from the economic impacts of disease; and helps demonstrate a commitment to rising standards of animal health and welfare to our current and future trading partners across the world.
All farms must comply with comprehensive UK law on animal health and welfare, planning, veterinary medicines and environmental legislation. Stockmanship and high husbandry standards are key to ensuring high welfare standards for all farmed animals.
The government advocates for a healthy balanced diet, based on the national food model the Eatwell Guide. Meat and dairy can both be an important part of a balanced diet,. We are also clear that our diets should include more fibre, fruit and vegetables.
We have already seen significant progress in cutting emissions but there is more to be done across the economy, including in agriculture. We will work with our fantastic farmers to do this, acknowledging that well managed livestock provides environmental benefits including biodiversity, protecting the character of the countryside and generating important income for rural communities. We should be proud of our high quality, high welfare UK produce which is recognised around the world.
Next year we will host COP26, where we will be seeking to secure international action on climate change and biodiversity loss. This will include emphasising the role of nature-based solutions, such as our work to tackle illegal deforestation and promote sustainable supply chains.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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