Write to: your MP at: House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA; your MSP at: The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP; your AM at: The National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF99 1NA. To find out the name of your MP call 0207 219 4272; MSP on 0845 278 1999 or AM on 0299920 898 200.
I am very concerned about the link between modern farming techniques and the emergence of threats to human health. Problems such as antibiotic resistance, food poisoning and BSE/CJD can be traced directly to the way in which farmed animals are treated. Selective breeding of farmed animals for increased productivity and husbandry techniques which minimise costs have led to vulnerable animals suffering from an extensive range of diseases. These diseases in turn threaten human beings and I believe that the Government and policy-makers must do more to address these issues.
To give just a few examples of these kinds of problems:
- more than 5 million people suffer from food poisoning each year, most of it caused by animal products. Half of all chickens on sale are contaminated by the food poisoning bug campylobacter;
- use of antibiotics on farms has promoted the spread of antibiotic resistant “superbugs”. Animals are routinely drugged to attempt to control diseases like pneumonia, parasites, dysentery, meningitis and salmonella;
- the Meat Hygiene Service, the official body responsible for abattoirs, failed to meet its target for enforcing meat hygiene rules in slaughterhouses last year;
- BSE is now found in 24 countries and is suspected to exist in many more;
- a human epidemic of bird flu could kill tens of millions.
The business priorities of the agriculture industry have contributed to a pandemic of infectious and other diseases in farmed animals and the processes of slaughter, meat processing and even sale all contribute to heightening the risks to the public. Governments, both British and international, have failed to prevent and control both endemic animal diseases and epidemics such as avian influenza and BSE, and it seems that they are subject to a dangerous conflict of interest between promoting food industries and protecting the public.
I hope that you may be able to use your influence to lobby for more rational, sustainable and healthy plant-based food production.
I look forward to your reply.