26 March 2010
Source: Sideways News
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall called on whoever wins the next general election to Fix the Food Chain yesterday.
His views were released in a video made public by Friends of the Earth (FoE) in support of their Election 2010 campaign. The video shows the chef explaining his reasons for supporting the campaign, before signing a pledge card.
Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “There is an extraordinary amount of food being grown purely to feed animals to create cheap meat, and it involves the destruction of a lot of habitat and the removal of a lot of rainforest.”
The biggest impact comes from soya plantations in South America, the vast majority of which is used to produce the high protein animal feeds needed for factory farming. These are then shipped across the world, further increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
A 2006 Greenpeace report, entitled Eating up The Amazon, states that in 2004/5 Brazil produced over 50 million tonnes of soya across an area the size of Great Britain, around 80% of which was turned into animal feed.
The same report also cites Brazil’s government as saying that 75% of the country’s emissions come from deforestation to make way for agricultural expansion, enough for the country to rank higher than the UK in global climate change tables.
When promoting the Fix the Food Chain campaign last year, Claire Oxborrow, a senior FoE campaigner, said: “What the campaign is about is putting pressure on politicians to change the system and change the deal behind all our meals.”
Fearnley-Whittingstall agreed and encouraged consumers to make purchasing choices based on locally reared livestock, nurtured in high welfare conditions on low environmental impact farms.
The Election 2010 campaign is aimed specifically at driving climate change up the general election agenda and encouraging the main parties to debate its finer policy points.
Arguably its greatest success to date came earlier this week when the Sustainability of Livestock Farming and Food Production (Strategy) Bill was introduced into Parliament by Peter Ainsworth MP.
Though the bill has no chance of becoming law, it indicates a growing political will to listen to the electorates’ views on climate change.