*Originally published 8 July 2020*
Animal Rebellion is standing in solidarity with UK Farmers against the new Agricultural Bill 2020.
You’re right, this is shocking. Why are we standing with the very farmers who keep the animal agricultural system going?
The Agricultural Bill 2020 is a HUGE step backward for our food system and food security.
What is the Agricultural Bill 2020?
- The Bill is replacing European Union (EU) Farming regulations and is setting new, lower standards for the future of British farming.
- The Bill allows cheaper, lower quality imports into the UK from countries like the US: including hormone-injected beef, chlorinated chicken and eggs. The meat allowed to be imported into the UK is currently illegal according to UK and EU legislation.
How does the Agricultural Bill 2020 impact a just and sustainable food system?
- The Bill threatens environmental sustainability. Intensive farming causes the destruction of soil, deforestation, annihilation of wildlife and poisons drinking water. Farmers can not manage the costs of pollution prevention, and serious pollution incidents are now reported weekly in the UK. Between 2010 and 2016, there were 5,300 instances of agricultural pollution cases, of which 536 were serious. The UK government announced a “climate emergency” in April 2019, yet the Bill is practically asking farmers to race towards the worst environmental practices.
- The Bill jeopardises animal welfare. It is unjust. Whilst animal welfare standards are low, with several undercover cameras having filmed poor standards and abuse; the Bill is forcing further negligence of the animals. Already, 70% of farm animals in the UK are kept in overcrowded, windowless factory farm buildings or cages. You can see how many animals are presently reared indoors here.
- The Bill compromises human health. Chlorinated chicken, eggs and hormone-injected cows will be the new standard. The chlorine is used to “clean off bacteria and other contaminants”. This is the equivalent of putting a plaster over an injury. It hides the problem. The conditions in which these animals are farmed are treacherous and infected with fecal matter and life-threatening germs, such as campylobacter and salmonella. The next virus threatening to cause a pandemic is already here.
- The Bill weakens economic sustainability for UK farmers. More and more small to medium-scale farmers have been forced into the dominant hands of large-scale intensive farmers. The Bill exacerbates this issue. Flooding the market with cheap, low quality food jeopardises British Farmers economically — a great position for large-scale factory farmers to increase their dominance in the industry. Inevitably, smaller farmers will get pushed out. Did you know in 2019 there were an estimated 800 American-style mega-farms in the UK? A 26% increase since 2011.
Farmers Vs Animal Justice
The Bill is driving farmers into economic strains, pushing them to commit environmental and cruelty crimes, and further create an unjust food system. The Government is not helping them to reverse environmental damage or shift agriculture towards fruit, vegetable, and protein crop production.
Whilst farmers and animal justice communities have long had a rocky relationship, this is an opportunity to build relationships. Farmers play a key role in our transition towards a just and sustainable plant-based food system. We need to work with them to address the animal and climate crisis.
Therefore, Animal Rebellion stands in solidarity with UK Farmers against the Agricultural Bill 2020 and to build relationships to move towards a just, sustainable plant-based food system.