The meat and the dairy industry produces more climate-changing emissions than every plane, train and car on the planet. The food chain links factory farms in the UK to the rainforests of South America where huge soy plantations are wiping out wildlife and making climate change worse.
The soy crop now covers an area of South America larger than the UK. It is grown to feed chickens, cows and pigs in Europe. Soy farming has destroyed much of the wildlife-rich rainforest of Brazil. This threatens many species with extinction. Brazil’s soya bean production doubled over a decade, reaching 53 million tons in 2006. Between 2001 and 2004 Amazonian agricultural areas increased by 13,900 square miles, an area bigger than Northern Ireland.
Converting land for agriculture is a major cause of deforestation in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. While some soy fields were created from previously cleared pasture in the savannah grasslands, much of it was newly-cleared forest land.
The clearing of the Amazonian rainforests using slash and burn methods releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Half the volume of a forest tree is carbon. Rainfall in the Amazon supplies 20 percent of all the water that flows into the world’s oceans. Forests also absorb carbon and release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. The cycle of rainfall and evaporation in rainforests is important to the world’s weather patterns. A NASA study calculated that they create 75 percent of the energy that drives atmospheric circulation. If the pace of destruction continues, 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest will be lost to soy farming and cattle ranching by 2050.
£700 million a year of taxpayer's money is spent on livestock production in England alone. Much of this goes to factory farms instead of more sustainable forms of farming. We are trying to change this.
Factory farms and intensive production needs vast quantities of animal feed. Most of this is soy from soya beans. A lot of it comes from countries in South America, for example, Europe imports a third of Brazil's soy harvest. The majority of this soy is genetically modified (GM).
The people of the UK are caught up in this damaging food chain. At the moment billions of pounds of taxpayer’s money is being used to prop up factory framing through EU subsidies. Public money is also spent on food in schools, prisons, hospitals, and care homes with little thought as to how it is produced.
We want a new law that requires the Government to:
Almost all Cardiff MPs have already indicated their support for this campaign. We need your help in the next stage of the campaign, to get more support for a strong law.