The government is facing calls to stop bailing out the animal agriculture industry after pledging millions in support of the dairy and fishing industries.
A dairy industry drive to promote its products – the ‘Drink Milk’ campaign – was given £500,000 of taxpayer cash. In addition, politicians have pledged a £10 million bailout for the fishing industry, and will give £10,000 to each dairy farmer during the coronavirus outbreak.
Now animal advocacy organization, Animal Justice Project (AJP), is leading efforts to call on the UK government, urging it to end animal agriculture bailouts and instead fund plant-based farming initiatives through its ‘Cost of a Pandemic‘ campaign.
AJP says the COVID-19 pandemic has ‘exposed yet again the vulnerabilities in our food system and supply chains’, as a number of experts have spoken out about the connection between animal agriculture and zoonotic diseases like Avian and Swine flu.
According to a study published recently in the Daily Mail, intensive animal farming provides perfect conditions for bacteria and viruses to spread between animals and humans, and thus increases the risk of epidemics.
Some Members of Parliament, led by Caroline Lucas MP, are already rallying around to ask the government to fund ‘better agriculture’, but AJP advocates a ‘complete end to animal agriculture due to the extensive animal suffering and death, major human health threats, and the climate crisis’.
‘The main driving force of most of the devastating pandemics’
Claire Palmer, spokesperson for AJP, said that many experts – including scientists, government bodies, and expert panels – have concluded that ‘animal agriculture is the main driving force of most of the devastating pandemics and zoonotic diseases in human history’.
Palmer said AJP’s ‘Exposed: The Cost of a Pandemic’ campaign, highlights the thousands of people who already have ‘grave concerns’ about the government bailing out animal industries, which she describes as ‘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,” Palmer added.
“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.”