Today Slow Food has joined forces with a group of civil society organizations to call for policy action on animal farming. An open letter has been sent to EU Commission President Juncker, EU Council President Tusk and EU Parliament President Tajani denouncing the problems related to the increasing production and consumption of animal products.
Over nine billion land animals are raised for food each year in the European Union, supplying both internal and export markets. However, increasing scientific evidence has shown that we must urgently reduce the production and consumption of animal products if we are to achieve the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Intensive animal farming has a huge range of impacts on climate change, human health, food security, animal welfare and the livelihood of small-scale farmers.
Change can and must happen: more support should be given to farmers adopting more agro-ecological and higher welfare animal farming methods. However, it is impossible to shift to more humane and less industrial farming methods while at the same time maintaining the current levels of consumption and production of animal products. To meaningfully tackle some of the most serious societal and environmental crises of our time, we need to significantly reduce the production, consumption and export of meat, dairy and eggs.
The EU needs to step up to the plate and introduce policies that deal with these issues and help to accelerate a transition towards healthy and sustainable diets that are higher in plant-based foods and include considerably less and better produced animal products. We want the EU to start taking concrete steps to foster a culture where we place greater value on the food we eat, the animals who provide it, and the people who produce it.