Saturday, 21 February 2015

Compassion in World Farming

I support Compassion In World farmings campaign 

 The Green Party believes that substantial changes are needed to ensure that food production is sustainable now and remains so for future generations. Changes in food markets and in patterns of production and consumption of food can achieve future food security locally and globally and ensure that everyone has access to a sufficient diet of nutritious and safe food. 

The Green Party believes that rather than creating problems, agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change, biodiversity loss and other contemporary challenges.


FA110 Everyone has the right to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food to lead a healthy life. Future food security must be ensured at the individual, local, national and global level.

FA111 Agricultural production, processing and distribution must: 

(a) be sustainable over the short and long term;

(b) provide nutritious and healthy food;

(c) support diversity and local food markets;

(d) be fair to farmer, distributor and consumer;

(e) respect animal welfare.

FA112 Our use of land and demand for food must not be detrimental or cause suffering to people elsewhere. Production for human need must be consistent with the wider need to protect and restore natural ecosystems and biological diversity.

Yours Sincerely

Adrian Windisch 

Dear Mr Windisch,

I am writing to you as one of my constituency’s candidates in the forthcoming general election to ask that you promote a humane and sustainable farming system in the new parliament.

We need to introduce high standards of farm animal welfare. It is time to phase out production that uses cages and crates as they thwart the basic instincts of many animals to roam, forage and explore. 

Animals should be kept in outdoor systems or, if they are housed, they should be kept in large barns with ample space, plenty of straw, natural light and effective ventilation. Genetic selection for fast growth or high yields should be avoided if this results in compromised welfare and systems should not be used if they require mutilations.

We need to encourage the adoption of balanced diets with a lower proportion of meat. This would deliver health benefits by reducing the incidence of heart disease, obesity and certain cancers; it would also lower greenhouse gas emissions. Although more crops would be needed for direct human consumption, this would be outweighed by a reduction in demand for feed crops.

Farming provides valuable income to many rural communities. There should be a particular focus on higher welfare production that delivers a better quality of food and a higher income to those farmers at the farmgate, benefitting both the farmer and the wider community through added value. 

Much livestock production in the UK is industrial in nature. 60% of EU cereal is used as animal feed. For every 100 calories that we feed to animals in the form of human edible crops, we receive on average just 17-30 calories in the form of meat and milk. We need to avoid excessive use of cereals and put more emphasis on restoring the link between animals and the land. 

We need to promote diets that include less but higher welfare meat in order to deliver a farming system that is less intensive, with less reliance on fertilisers and pesticides. This would mean reduced degradation of water, soil and air and lower use of water, land and energy as well as biodiversity gains. It would also enable animals to be kept to higher welfare standards. 

Across Europe, around 700 million farm animals (hens, sows, rabbits, ducks and quail) spend some or all of their life confined in cramped, often barren cages.  Cages should be consigned to the history books and food production should be developed using extensive, outdoor and cage free systems.

Sustainable farming that nourishes our health, the environment and promotes higher animal welfare must become the rule, not the exception.

For further information on these issues, Compassion in World Farming has produced a Charter which sets out a proposed future direction of travel. It can be found here and is supported by further details in briefing notes, which can be found here:

I hope you will feel able to support these policy suggestions and work towards realising them – in the UK and by taking a lead in Europe.

Yours sincerely,

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