Reading Time: 2 minutes The politician is under growing pressure to ban the 'cruel practice'. Credit: Number 10 / Flickr
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thousands of people are urging UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end factory farming. 

More than 15,000 Brits have backed a campaign from Viva! calling on the politician to address the ‘unequivocal links between the intensification of animal agriculture, global pandemics and the climate emergency’. 

End factory farming

The organization has written an open letter to Johnson, which requests he ‘encourage plant-based food initiatives to transition our food system’.

“Across the globe animals are kept in horrific conditions in factory farms and wildlife markets,” the letter states.

“These settings provide a fertile environment for the transmission of viruses between different species. And, are the leading contributor to global heating. 

“Meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. But, the products provide just 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of protein levels around the world.”

The letter then adds: “In the wake of coronavirus, there are calls for tighter controls at airports, banning the unregulated movement of wild animals and limiting human-animal contact. But the obvious solutions… are to end factory farming and transition to plant-based food systems!

“The time to end the exploitation of animals and protect ourselves against future pandemics and climate breakdown is now.”

Ricky Gervais

Last year, celebrity comedian, actor, and animal rights advocate Ricky Gervais spoke in support of the campaign.

Moreover, the star said: “Factory Farming condemns animals to a lifetime of suffering. It’s cruel, inhumane, and doesn’t belong in this century.”

Attitudes to factory farming

Earlier this year, the charity commissioned a 2,000-person poll on attitudes towards factory farming

It found nine in 10 Britons want the government to introduce an immediate ban on intensive farming methods amid concerns over killer viruses.

Moreover, 83 percent of Scots supported the ban. The poll also shows that a staggering one in three participants are aiming to slash their consumption of animal products.

Dr. Justine Butler is a Senior Health Researcher at Viva!. In an online statement, she said: “Across the UK we are seeing outbreaks of avian flu in factory farms as well as backyard chickens.  The scientific evidence could not be clearer.

Dr. Butler then concluded: “Farming animals intensively increases the chance of mutation, and spread, of dangerous viruses.”   

You can read the full letter to Boris Johnson and sign the campaign here

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Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.