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‘Outlaw intensive farming methods’

MPs call for an end to intensive factory farming methods
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
‘Outlaw intensive farming methods’

On Thursday (25 March), a coalition of MPs urged the government to outlaw UK factory farming in a bid to end the suffering of billions of animals every year.

An Early Day Motion, signed by 16 cross-party MPs from Labour, the SNP, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, called for an end to intensive factory farming methods. The motion was inspired by vegan charity Viva!

UK’s factory farm

Factory farming is responsible for mass animal suffering, the rise of antimicrobial resistance and the spread of potentially lethal diseases, the MPs warned.

Around 50 billion farmed animals are subjected to intensive factory farming methods worldwide every year. 

In the UK, there are 1,674 operational factory farms, with almost 800 of those classed as megafarms or concentrated animal feed operations.

As a result some one billion animals in the UK are exposed to factory farming methods each year. 

Factory farms and diseases

Tabled by the SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron, the motion has been signed by former leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP, and former Shadow Secretary for Communities Andrew Gwynne. 

The MPs raised concerns about the extreme overcrowding of animals including poultry and pigs, the confinement of pregnant sows in farrowing crates and the selective breeding of broiler chickens, ducks and turkeys. 

Routine mutilation of egg-laying hens and piglets and the zero grazing of dairy cows are also methods associated with factory farming.

The MPs warned that three in four of the world’s new or emerging diseases reportedly come from animals, with factory farms providing an ideal environment for these diseases to thrive.  

They also warned that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock farming is increasing the spread of antimicrobial resistance.  

‘No country can claim to be a world leader in animal welfare and continue to allow the practice of intensive factory farming.  

‘Aside from the issues of animal welfare, it holds a very real and inherent risk of the spread and mutation of potentially lethal viruses.  

‘We strongly urge the government to listen to parliament and the will of the people, and outlaw the abhorrent practice of factory farming in the UK for good.’

Viva! Director

’Listen to the public’

The motion urges the government to listen to the British public, with polling finding they overwhelmingly support a ban on intensive farming methods. 

Released in January this year, the poll found some 9 in 10 Britons want a ban due to concerns of the spread of lethal viruses. 

In a typical year preceding Covid-19, over 200 zoonotic diseases caused 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths a year.  

Campaigners backed the motion, calling for the government to listen to both MPs and the public to protect the welfare of animals and human health going forward. 

UK first to ban?

A roundtable discussion, hosted by animal welfare and vegan campaign group Viva!, is set to take place on April 15 2021, where MPs and experts are set to explore how the UK can become one of the first countries to introduce a ban. 

The panel is set to be attended by Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, Labour MP Nadia Whittome, and the SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron.

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