There are three slow-motion global disasters taking place and very soon the damage they are causing will be irreversible, according to the outgoing director general of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan. They are global warming, antibiotic resistance and degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Three disasters, one major common cause – factory farming!
Now, in an open letter published today in The Lancet and signed by 200 mostly high-ranking academics, the WHO is urged to oppose industrial animal farming (CAFOs – concentrated animal feed operations) and the consequences of not doing so are spelt out in stark terms.
Factory farming is: “… a major contributor to each of the three disasters highlighted by Chan. Industrial production has led to drastic over-consumption (of meat) and associated burden of non-communicable diseases in many societies. Experts predict that without urgent and drastic shifts in global meat consumption, agriculture will consume the entire world's carbon budget necessary for keeping global temperature rises under 2°C by 2050.2 The same study, led by scientists at the Oxford Martin School, predicted that if health guidelines on meat consumption were followed worldwide, 5·1 million premature deaths would be prevented and greenhouse gas emissions would be two-thirds lower by 2050 (compared with expected trends).
Some of the solutions advocated are – a ban on growth-promoting antibiotics, a reduction in the construction of animal farms and a reduction in subsidies for animal farming and its inputs (such as fodder). If implemented, this has huge implications for the EU Common Agriculture Policy subsidies – or those that will replace them post Brexit.
“We have been advocating precisely this for 20 years,” says Juliet Gellatley, director of Viva!, Europe’s largest campaigning vegan organisation, “and all governments have refused to act. They continue to present British farming as some rural idyll when 80 per cent of all animals are factory farmed – precisely what the WHO is referring to. We know how dreadful these places are as we regularly film inside them to expose the reality.
“The shocking footage we have obtained has been publicised in nationwide exposes and has helped to promote the vegan revolution that is now happening. People are tired of being lied to and are taking matters into their own hands. We know precisely the scale of the problem through Viva!Animals, Viva!Health and Viva!Planet and it is frightening yet ignored – as the manifesto’s of almost all the political parties in the current election show.”
Juliet Gellatley is available for interview. Contact Siobhan Dolan on 0117 944 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org