It’s raining and has been for days! The river outside our cottage is running again having reduced to a trickle. At the same time, on television last night, there was much talk of drought in England. Fears of drought, hand-in-hand with persistent rain, has served to highlight in this part of the world just how precious water is; and how scarce it’s becoming.
Every time we turn on a tap, we take for granted access to fresh, clean water. For much of the time, many of us barely give it a moment’s thought. What is also less well known is how much water is used in the making of our food; and how our food choices can affect the amount of our water use.
At Compassion, we’ve been giving much thought to water recently and we’ve been working with our friends at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) on a new initiative looking at water use in food production. A startling fact is that a quarter of all the freshwater used globally relates to meat and dairy production. How animals are raised has a big effect on the amount of water needed. For example, grain feeds for animals use 43 times more irrigation water than pasture-based animal feeds. It’s just another factor that underlines the benefit of moving away from industrial farming, instead putting animals back on the farm and out in our pastures.