Out of hours press enquiries, call 07918 195 238.
Animal Aid challenges aid agencies to abolish animal donor schemes
Posted 27 June 2005
As the G8 Summit (Gleneagles, July 6-8) prepares to tackle the issue of global poverty, national campaigning group, Animal Aid, has issued a stark challenge to three poverty relief agencies: stop providing living animals to farmers in poorer countries.
Many 'developing' countries rely on aid agencies to help feed their undernourished. Several, including Christian Aid, Oxfam and Send a Cow, now supply living animals to serve as breeding stock for meat and milk. But farming animals is an inefficient, unsustainable and problematic way of producing food. Apart from those who feed on pasture where it is difficult to grow crops, farmed animals use more food calories than they produce in the form of meat. They also compete directly with people for other precious resources, notably water.
Poorer countries do not need aid in the form of live animals - who require feeding, bedding, shelter and veterinary care - but sustainable, drought-resistant crops.
Despite the problems associated with animal farming, per capita consumption of meat has doubled over the last decade in poorer countries and it is predicted that 80% of the worldwide increase in meat consumption will take place in the developing world. Aid agencies, therefore, need to diminish the role of farmed animals in their food aid policies.
Animal Aid has written to the heads of the leading 'animal donor' agencies asking them to abandon their counter-productive initiatives.
Says Animal Aid Campaigner Kelly Slade:
"We acknowledge the important work carried out by international aid agencies, and the fact that, without their help, the plight of people in famine-stricken countries would be infinitely worse. We urge these organisations most strongly, however, to recognise that livestock farming is incredibly inefficient - in particular when grain and water are in short supply - and that rearing animals for meat is far from the best way of solving the food shortage problem. To compound the problem, some of the grain grown in developing countries is being sold to the west for animal feed instead of being used to feed their own people. At the time of the 1984 famine when Bob Geldof led the call to 'feed the world', Ethiopia was exporting crops to the UK to feed our livestock. It is not just drought that is killing people, the Western meat habit is costing people in developing countries their lives."
Notes to Editors
The argument against the donation of farmed animals to poorer countries is compelling.
- Presently, up to 50% of the world's harvest is fed to farmed animals. The UN World Food Council has estimated that transferring ten to fifteen per cent of cereals fed to livestock would be enough to feed the current world population.
- Up to ten times as many people can be fed per hectare of land by growing crops directly for human consumption rather than using the land to graze livestock.
- It takes 100,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef but only 900 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of wheat.
- In times of drought, animal farming carries more risk than crop production, and animals take much longer to restore to a productive capacity.
- Worldwide, animal manure is responsible for 10% of total greenhouse gases that cause global warming - the greatest global environmental threat and one that will affect the occurrence of droughts in the developing world. To produce one calorie of protein from soyabeans takes an estimated two calories of fossil fuel, compared with beef, which takes 54 calories of fuel to make only one calorie of protein.
- As stated in Compassion for World Farming's Report: The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat (2004), it is imperative that the human population decreases its dependence upon animal products, whether on the grounds of human health, animal welfare, sustainable use of resources or environmental protection.
- For more information contact Kelly Slade on 01732 364546 ext. 227 or Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546 ext.25.
- For background on the impact of meat production and the benefits of a vegetarian diet see our vegetarianism section, and our factfiles - eat less meat feed the world and wrecking the planet.
- We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality interviews.