Humane Being is a small, not-for-profit, volunteer action group, that is about to challenge the UK government to put an end to factory farming. Factory farms are where up to hundreds of thousands of animals are kept in one barn, and live sad and often brutal lives before being slaughtered. The campaign to ‘Scrap Factory Farming’ began a crowdfunder last week, aiming to raise £60,000.
The volunteers are absolutely thrilled to have the renowned QC, Michael Mansfield, known globally for his work on landmark human rights cases over several decades, leading the legal team. Another great boost to the campaign came just before Christmas, when the RSPCA voted by a majority of 88 percent to call for an end to intensive animal agriculture in the UK and for a significant reduction in meat and dairy consumption to achieve climate targets. They, along with Humane Being, join the many scientists and organisations who are demanding action on environmental pollution, pandemic risk, antibiotic resistance, food security and animal cruelty.
As well as playing a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in stopping the spread of viruses that cause pandemics, the scrapping of factory farming would also tackle deforestation, cruelty to animals and accelerating problems with antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization estimates that increasingly ineffective antibiotics will lead to the deaths of ten million people a year by 2050.
David Finney, spokesperson for Scrap Factory Farming, commented:
“We are sitting on a pandemics timebomb. Three out of every four new and emerging diseases in humans come from animals. And factory farming – with huge numbers of animals in cramped and unhygienic conditions – is the perfect breeding ground for these diseases. Around a billion animals are killed from UK farms each year; more than 90 percent of these are chickens and pigs on factory farms. We may eventually get control of Covid-19 – but we are doing nothing about the conditions that created it in the first place. In recent years we have had mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu. Now we have Covid. Another pandemic is just waiting to happen; experts predict it will be a deadly form of bird flu.
“The scale of factory farming is also incredibly cruel. In the UK, we have over 16 million hens in cages each with a living area the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Pregnant pigs are confined in metal crates prior to giving birth; they have no room to turn around for up to 12 weeks a year. Calves are removed from their mothers within days or even hours of birth. Mutilation is common – teeth, tails, beaks, horns and testicles are clipped or removed without anaesthetic or pain relief. Nobody would accept pets or wild animals being treated like this.”
Fellow campaigner, Robert Gordon (aged 24), added:
“Scrapping factory farms is also vital if we are to tackle the climate emergency, one of the biggest concerns for my generation. Globally, around 15 percent of greenhouse gases are from animal farming – and the biggest impact each of us has on the climate is through the food we eat. This is why climate scientists and the World Health Organization are saying we must eat less meat and dairy. In the UK, there are almost 10 million cattle releasing methane – a very powerful greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere; chickens are fed soya that has come from rainforests that have been destroyed to make way for plantations. None of this is sustainable; we urgently need to create a food system that does not trash the planet.”
Barrister Lorna Hackett of Hackett and Dabbs LLP, part of the legal team, said:
“We must recognise that dietary over-reliance on animals products produced by intensive means has created an environmental and human health imperative. Now, at this gruelling time in our nation’s and indeed mankind’s history, it is more important than ever to safeguard human health, reduce environmental impact, protect and have compassion for animals, and of course to reduce the risk of a further pandemic. The recent multiple outbreaks of avian influenza in this country further demonstrate that we need to take such risks extremely seriously. This case, which we believe to be a global first, starts with a key mitigation – the banning of cruel factory farming. That is breeding and risking incidences of disease that pose a health risk that the authorities cannot continue to ignore”.
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Humane Being is a small group of volunteers who care deeply about the future of our planet, the cruelty inflicted on factory farmed animals and the effect of pollution on our health. Its latest campaign is Scrap Factory Farming; these huge farms are a big cause of all these problems and so Humane Being are taking their fight straight to the UK government.
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