Posts Tagged ‘factory farming’

Farmageddon on Film: Argentina’s growing deserts of green

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Argentina’s soya desert

Argentina’s soya desert

“Some of the poorest and most disempowered people in the world are being cast aside.”

One of the most touching experiences of the Farmageddon journey was hearing the plight of indigenous people thrown off their ancestral land after it was sold off for industrial farming.

They lived deep in the forests of northeastern Argentina, an area so remote and impenetrable that early Spanish settlers called it the Impenetrable Forest. Some still survive in the shrinking wilderness. Many, like those I met on the outskirts of Rosario, have been displaced into the suburbs.

My time with the once proud people of the Toba Qom tribe was deeply troubling. They were living in extremely basic housing in an area rife with crime. We met in the community centre where ten men sat round the table in a poorly-lit room. We drank maté together, a bitter herbal tea made from the yerba plant served in a communal cup with curved nickel straw.

Talking with people of the Qom

Talking with people of the Qom

It was a difficult few hours, complicated by the fact that the Qom have their own language. Through a translator, I learned how their people have been pushed into smaller and smaller territories.

The secretary of the group told me how a multinational company had bought the land they were living on; “The provincial government sold our land, with us included in the price, because we happened to be there. We had no value of course… they fenced off the land and installed armed guards.”

The land was ploughed up to grow GM soya for export as soya meal to feed industrially reared animals in Europe and China.

See my video blog from that experience here in the latest in the Farmageddon on Film series.

For your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.

Argentina: What price cheap feed for Europe’s factory farms?

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Filmed in the soya fields; Philip in Argentina

Filmed in the soya fields; Philip in Argentina

“Soya is a business for the few and an epidemic for the masses.”

We drove 200 kilometres through a monotonous countryside covered with the low olive hue of ripening soya. Apart from the mountains and stunning areas like Patagonia I was told this was fairly typical of Argentina today. It was very different from how I had pictured it in my mind’s eye. Like many, I suspect, Argentina evokes images of lush green pastures, grazing cattle and rich forests.

I was travelling with a camera crew and journalist, Isabel Oakeshott, then political editor at the Sunday Times. It was part of a global journey of research for Farmageddon and a mission to expose the true cost of cheap meat.

During our time in Argentina, we heard harrowing tales of children near-fatally affected by blanket spraying pesticides over crops and communities. We saw thousands of cattle confined to dusty feedlots, not a blade of grass in sight. We spoke to people who felt their lives had been broken by living beside an industry geared toward producing feed for factory farmed animals an ocean away.

Argentina is the soya meal export capital of the world, accounting for nearly half of global exports; much of it is destined for Europe and China. Used to feed factory farmed animals, its affect on distant communities and the countryside, represent yet more hidden costs of cheap meat.

This next in the Farmageddon on Film series takes us to the epicentre of this vast industry and asks, could there be a better way?

View the full film here.

For your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.

Together we will end factory farming

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Message from a Compassion supporter

Message from a Compassion supporter

“Everything only gets one life. Ever. Let’s give them a decent one.” CIWF supporter

Huge thanks again to our wonderful supporters who joined us in London last week to meet the team behind Farmageddon. It was such a pleasure to have the chance to meet so many of you and to feel your enthusiasm for bringing about a better day for farm animals.

I hope you will enjoy this short video summary of the day, again with grateful thanks.

Farmageddon was the result of a three year journey beyond the closed doors and chemical drums of a run-away industry. Sometimes, it was difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the problem. Every time I meet the people who power our movement – you – our wonderful supporters, I’m filled with renewed hope all over again. For you, I dedicate this passage:

At the same time, I set out to find seeds of hope. I wanted to find better ways than the industrial ascendancy. I discovered they are often all around us; here small acorns in need of nurturing; elsewhere thriving oaks. I felt privileged to see the pasture plains of free-ranging animals in Georgia; uplifted by fields in Argentina dancing defiantly with butterflies in contrast to their lifeless pesticide-soaked GM neighbours.

I learned a lot from watching chickens in China roaming woodlands and pigs living inquisitive, active lives on a model farm in Beijing. I’ve been inspired by extensive farms in Britain and Europe, taking care of their animals, looking after the environment, and producing great food to boot. I found so much more than the few scattered crumbs of comfort I was expecting – and on my own doorstep too.”

Through writing this book, I have become convinced that we can all make a big difference. It has been a privilege to listen to so many people and to tell their stories. I have been left in no doubt about the tremendous power we all have to bring about change – from Farmageddon to a better future for people, animals and the planet.

Thank you for being that change.

To get your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.


Farmageddon – Hope dawns in China

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

17 07 14 Blog - China - A happy moment Shanghai arrival-croppedThere’s a growing awareness of food safety in China. People in the cities are coming to realise that much of their food is produced in factory farms, with all the welfare and environmental drawbacks. It’s taken some pretty horrendous incidents for this cultural shift to start happening; year after year, there have been serious food safety scandals, such as the recent contamination of milk with melamine, which caused serious health effects in young children. Like elsewhere, parents in China are keen to ensure their child gets the very best and safest food.

The connection between how farm animals are kept and the quality and safety of the resulting food is starting to be recognised in China. It provides us with a real foot in the door to help promote less intensive farming in this, the most populous country on Earth.

In the shadow of Beijing, I arrived at a place called ‘Little Donkey’; a model farm project run by World Animal Protection (previously known as World Society for the Protection of Animals – WSPA) and the Food Animal Initiative (FAI).

About 1,000 chickens are free ranging in pine woodland on the farm. The chickens are a dual purpose breed, producing eggs as well as being sold for chicken meat. It was great to see birds dust-bathing, scratching, perching, nesting, running and flapping; doing all the things that makes life worthwhile for these busy, inquisitive creatures.

Pigs too are kept here; reared on deep-bedded compost that allows these intelligent animals to root around and enjoy comfortable bedding. It’s a system that could be used on a large scale. It provides an alternative animal-friendly model to intensive pig farming.

Having seen some of the biggest, most intensive pig farms in the world here in China, at least this visit proved that an alternative is possible. Take a look at our exclusive footage, sponsored by World Animal Protection (previously known as World Society for the Protection of Animals – WSPA), to see what I saw….

To get your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.

Farmageddon in London and Devon

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Sir David Madden opening the London event

Sir David Madden opening proceedings in London

Crowds of Compassion supporters gathered at London’s Royal Geographic Society over the weekend to be part of the Farmageddon campaign. An audience of hundreds heard former British High Commissioner and Compassion trustee, Sir David Madden open proceedings with an outline of why he and fellow Board members set me as their CEO on a global journey to uncover the realities of factory farming.

Isabel Oakeshott: how co-writing Farmageddon changed my life

Isabel Oakeshott: how co-writing Farmageddon changed my life

Political journalist and commentator, Isabel Oakeshott, spoke passionately about how writing Farmageddon with me changed the way she thinks about food. Throughout the course of writing the book, Isabel was political editor of the Sunday Times. Her latest project is writing the biography of Prime Minister David Cameron, who she said is amongst those who now have a copy of Farmageddon!

Our very own ambassador, Joyce D’Silva, talked about Compassion’s impact for animals, not least in getting Europe-wide bans some of the cruelest systems ever invented; veal crates, sow stalls for pregnant pigs and barren battery cages, all of which kept animals in extreme confinement and unimaginable suffering.

The afternoon was rounded off by veterinarian, former UN official and now our campaigns director, Dil Peeling, who gave a stirring call to arms in ending factory farming. “If you do only one thing today, please take action in our campaign to stop taxpayers’ money being used to fund factory farming.

Thank you to everyone who came out on Saturday to be with us. It was a real pleasure to meet so many of you personally. We are so grateful for all your wonderful support!

Ways with Words


Ways with Words festival at Dartington Hall, Devon

The previous day, I’d been at Dartington in Devon, a splendid medieval hall set in a 1,200 acre estate and home to the Trust of the same name specialising in the arts, social justice and sustainability. It is a grand venue that I’m familiar with from several years of taking part in the annual Rural Business School of Duchy College in Cornwall Challenge of Rural Leadership Course held there each January. This time, I was seeing the setting in the new light of summer as speaker at the Ways With Words literary festival.

I had the real pleasure of working with The Telegraph’s commissioning editor for books,

Sameer Rahim who chaired the conversation about Farmageddon with an engaged audience.

In conversation with Sameer Rahim (left), The Telegraph books editor

In conversation with Sameer Rahim (left), The Telegraph books editor

Farmageddon on tour

With 25 speaking dates now behind us, forthcoming tour dates include:

I look forward to perhaps seeing you along the way.

With thanks and all best wishes for your support.

DSCF2522For your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.

Farmageddon on film

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About Philip Lymbery

Philip Lymbery is Chief Executive Officer of Compassion in World Farming and co-author of Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat. He is an internationally respected authority on the impact of industrial agriculture on people, animals and the planet.