May 6th, 2021 Newsletter

Who’s the greenest of them all?

Rupert Everett: #TurnYourNoseUp at factory farming

In this video, one of our #TurnYourNoseUp series, actor Rupert Everett asks, “Did you know that three quarters of the pork eaten in the UK has been raised in factory farms? They have to be given routine doses of antibiotics just to keep them alive which leads to antibiotic resistance superbugs. We can stop this threat to our health by choosing pork from high welfare farms where the pigs are happy and healthy so they don’t need antibiotics”.

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Still time to vote for good food and farming

In case you have yet to make up your mind who to vote for in the many elections on Thursday, we’re sharing (better late than never!) some useful breakdowns of commitments to health, food and farming of both the Scottish and Welsh party manifestos and Councillors and Mayors in the local elections.

??????? Scotland: With the main talking point being Scottish independence, it’s easy to miss what parties are pledging on improving agriculture, food and land use. So, take a look at the following campaign overviews; if short of time, One Kind has an excellent overview with excerpts from the manifestos of the 5 major political parties or the Scottish Food Coalition and the Landworkers Alliance deeper analysis.

Good to see the Greens, SNP and Labour parties form a coalition round the progressive policies contained in the Good Food Nation Bill as its legislation will recognise people’s right to healthy sustainably produced food which in turn will affect how it is sourced.

As Farms not Factories is not a charity, we are free to point out that the Green Party gives the biggest commitment to healthy food and farming, not least in their ‘push for trade deals that do not allow the importation of products with low animal welfare standards’. This way we can protect and grow a resilient food system comprising a countrywide network of small scale family farms, butchers and retailers that can survive in a cut throat competition against cheap imports from economies of scale, high tech ag and toxic inputs presently favoured by corporations and their political stooges.

??????? Wales/Cymru: For more info on the various parties and their pledges, see the Landworkers Alliance guide and Food Party Alliance Cymru manifesto.

In terms of animal welfare, most of the party pledges only focus on the eradication of bovine TB or having CCTV in abattoirs. Considering the amount of press on the increasing number of factory farms and subsequent pollution in Wales over the past year, a commitment to eradicate this barbaric system should be in every party’s manifesto. As the Liberal Democrats mention improving public sector procurement, perhaps they would pledge to only source high welfare, locally reared pork for politicians in the Senned canteen that has in the past been slated for selling GM products. The Greens set out a ten step action plan to transition to agro-ecological food production which includes more local food and supply chains, and they would hold a citizens’ assembly to consult on proposals so that it could truly reflect the needs and wants of people across Wales.

??????? Local elections in England: While it is too late to follow Sustain’s excellent toolkit for pre election day council lobbying, this briefing paper describes the resulting food policies of candidates in the London Mayoral election. While Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate, is described as having ‘No clear commitments made in relation to food and farming’, the Green party is in line with most of Sustain’s recommendations. Just one of their progressive pledges; ‘Will support farmers and growers to get longer tenancies and access to London’s customers and businesses, from farmers’ markets and community group box schemes to supermarkets. Locally grown fruit and vegetables can create 1,000s of London Living wage employment opportunities, improve food security and support the local economy.’

In my local Bristol Mayoral election, I voted for the Lib Dem candidate, Caroline Gooch as she is standing to scrap this US style system of an all powerful mayor. Bristol’s present Labour Party mayor, Marvin Rees is a terrifying example of their tendency to dictate  the rules of the game by taking unilateral decisions and undermining local democracy.

The resignation statement of the latest of five Labour councillors to resign because of bullying, Jo Sergeant, noted that Rees sees local councillors as an “annoying inconvenience” and has “no respect” for any members other than those Labour individuals in his “inner circle”.

‘She said he set up the City Office and One City Boards as an “alternative council” to make policy in a way that “circumvents democratic process”. She describes the Bristol Labour party as being “focused on power for power’s sake and beset with a culture of fear and bullying”.’

News round-up

✋ Alarm at the rise in seizure of illegal veterinary drugs at UK borders.

“Illegal imports are a concern, particularly if this means that antibiotics are being imported and used without a veterinary prescription. It’s particularly irresponsible to be importing high-priority critically important antibiotics illegally, or to be importing drugs that are banned from all veterinary use in the UK.” – Cóilín Nunan

? Pig farmers across the world are embracing cage-free systems.

Lindsay Duncan, World Animal Protection farming campaigns manager said, “Ending the cage age is not only better for farm animals it also helps farmers, with mother pigs in cage free systems having fewer illnesses and producing healthier faster growing piglets. It is great to see the farming trend shifting towards cage free and we are calling on the UK government to follow suit and ban cages for mother pigs.”

? Aberdeenshire pig farmer under investigation for animal welfare breach.

An investigation is underway after undercover footage was found to capture animal welfare breaches at a pig farm in North-east Scotland. Campaign group Animal Equality UK obtained footage at P and G Sleigh Pig Unit, in Aberdeenshire, which exposes workers using their own means to inhumanely euthanise weak and injured pigs on the farm.

? Greenpeace documentary showing the realities of living near a pig factory farm.

“No other country in the world has more pigs per capita than Denmark. The country houses 5.8 million people and 5,000 farms that produce 28 million pigs every year. The Danish pork industry has rapidly intensified over the last decades, and people who have spent their lives near small farms in the countryside have now become neighbours of large factory farms. “We used to have a lovely community feeling here, and about 70 of us held together for the neighbours”, says Michel Pouret-Frydendahl, who lives within a few hundred meters of three intensive pig farms. “Now we are only 12 people, and when we meet, we talk about the stench and the slurry tanks.”

? European Commission Via Campesina (ECVC) denounces the European Commission’s plans to change GMO legislation after refusing to properly harmonise and apply it.

“ECVC opposes any modification of the current European regulation. We reject the appropriation of the food chain by a handful of multinationals as a result of the patents they register on these GMOs. For this reason, and by virtue of the precautionary principle, all GMOs must remain regulated by EU GMO law”

?? Czech farmers leave COPA (an EU association representing farmers) due to COPA’s refusal to discuss the need to redirect subsidies at European level and to cap the amount of subsidy large landowners receive.

“The [group] has repeatedly warned that unless a limitation of direct payments is introduced as a mandatory parameter throughout the EU, some countries whose governments do not want to apply this measure will continue to direct a substantial part of their subsidies to the largest agribusinesses without any limitation”

?? U.S. pork processor seeks to delay court decision limiting slaughter speeds

‘The second-biggest U.S. pig producer seeks to intervene in the line speed case after a federal judge ruled against a Trump administration policy allowing pork plants to run slaughter line speeds as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria.’

? Regenerative farming needs a reckoning. Article by The Counter.

‘The most fervent advocates say so-called “regenerative” practices have the power to restore the balance between human beings and nature, a solution finally big enough to save our beleaguered planet from all of us. ‘In this, something crucial is being negotiated. The debate over what regenerative agriculture means, and who gets to decide, spills over into the issues we care most about. It touches on our changing relationship to science and technology, on access and antitrust reform, on workers’ rights and racial injustice, on conceptions of the natural world and our place in it. It’s a conversation that forces you to draw a bigger circle, only to realize that circle isn’t big enough’.

Please donate

Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.

“Our message is simple, we want to help bring an end to this dangerous, inhumane system. Vote for real farming over factory farming.”
– Tracy Worcester, Director

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