We urge the government to spend tax-payers’ money instead on sustainable and ethical plant-based food production systems, which are needed now more than ever.
The current pandemic has exposed yet again the vulnerabilities in our food system and supply chains. Representatives of some animal agriculture sectors are starting to urge the government to step in with financial support for their struggling industries.
The UK Government giving £10 million to the fishing industry and £10,000 to each dairy farmer during the coronavirus outbreak. It has also contributed £500,000 toward a 'Drink Milk' campaign by the UK dairy industry.
4,000 people have already emailed the UK government, urging it to end animal agriculture bailouts and instead fund plant-based farming initiatives.
Animal Justice Project claims that these industries are contributing to climate breakdown and public health risks such as antibiotic resistance and the transfer of zoonotic diseases.
Intensive animal farming provides perfect conditions for bacteria and viruses to spread between animals and humans, and thus increases the risk of epidemics, a recent report published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA argued.
Researchers conducted a genetic analysis of the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni, which is commonly found in farmed cattle and is also the most common bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis. They revealed that strains of the bug specific to cattle first emerged in the twentieth century and coincided with large increases in the number of farmed cattle.
The campaign from Animal Justice Project is supported by Sivalingam Vasanthakumar, a sheep farmer of 47 years who hit the headlines in 2019 when he decided to give up sheep farming due to the emotional toll. He was in line to make up to £9,000 from selling the lambs’ flesh before deciding to drive the animals 200 miles so that they could live out their lives at a vegan sanctuary.
The twenty lambs are now cared for at a 91-acre vegan sanctuary in Worcestershire. Vasanthankumar said: “I support this campaign to urge the government to fund plant-based food schemes because the way we farm in this part of the world needs to change. Government support is vital and farmers need to understand the drawbacks from livestock farming. It can be done.”
Claire Palmer, spokesperson for Animal Justice Project, said: "As part of our ‘Exposed: The Cost of a Pandemic’ campaign, we are joining thousands of people concerned by the government’s bail out of destructive industries that are killing animals, ourselves and the planet.
"We urge the government to spend tax-payers’ money instead on sustainable and ethical plant-based food production systems, which are needed now more than ever.
"The risk of future pandemics emerging from animal agriculture is very real but we are at a pivotal time. This government must now provide opportunities for farmers to leave their flailing businesses behind.”
This article is based on a press release from the Animal Justice Project.