A case for banning factory farming in the UK

Viva!, a UK-based vegan charity, has been campaigning for decades on the major issues surrounding veganism, including health, nutrition, animal welfare and environment. Siobhan Dolan, Marketing and PR Manager at Viva!, explains why and how the charity is now calling for a ban on UK factory farming.

Factory farming
Siobhan Dolan

Thankfully, because of campaigning groups like Viva!, we’ve seen a global shift in consumer attitudes and behaviour, and millions more people now follow a vegan lifestyle. Despite this significant change, animal agriculture is still wreaking devastating havoc on our planet, our health and animals. 

Viva!’s undercover investigations into UK factory farms repeatedly show the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions animals are kept in; including pigs, chicken, fish and cows. Environments such as these create a breeding ground for bacteria and disease, causing a serious risk to public health. Three in four of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. Responsible for nearly three million deaths a year, these diseases are largely transmitted through trading wildlife (legally and illegally) and factory farming. As a matter of course, Viva! submits its findings and concerns to DEFRA and the Animal Plant Health Agency, but rarely receives a response.  

Our investigations regularly achieve national media coverage and reach millions. However, if we’re to mitigate the climate crisis and significantly reduce the chances of another global pandemic, we urgently need governmental change. We feel now is the time to put pressure on the UK Government and our new campaign – End Factory Farming Before It Ends Us – does just that. By joining forces with MPs, academics and those who care about the future of our planet, Viva! is asking the Government to ban factory farming. 

So, how do we plan to do this? 

An open letter to Boris Johnson

We are encouraging the public to sign our open letter to Boris Johnson asking him and the UK Government to take action on our food production systems and defend public health by promoting veganism as a solution and Ending Factory Farming  Before It Ends Us.

Sign the letter to Boris Johnson on the Viva website.

Early Day Motion 

Dr Lisa Cameron MP has put forward an Early Day Motion (EDM) on behalf of Viva!, proposing a debate in the House of Commons on the terrible suffering inflicted on more than one billion animals per year in the UK. The EDM was signed by Caroline Lucas MP, among others.

EDMs are used to put on record the views of individual MPs, or to draw attention to specific events or campaigns. By attracting the signatures of other MPs, they can be used to demonstrate the level of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

In her EDM, Dr Lisa Cameron notes that a poll in January this year revealed some 90 per cent of UK residents want the Government to introduce an immediate ban on intensive farming methods, and support Viva!’s request for DEFRA and the Government to listen to the UK public on this issue.

Read the full motion on the Parliament website, and help get this EDM debated in parliament by writing to your local MP and asking them to sign it. 

Viva! expert virtual roundtable

On Thursday 15 April Viva! hosted a virtual roundtable event with experts and MPs to discuss the introduction of a UK-wide factory farming ban. The panel was attended by Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale and SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron MP, as well as Viva! founder and director Juliet Gellatley. 

Iain Tolhurst, owner of the first farm in the world to attain the ‘Stockfree Organic’ symbol for its ethical farming methods, Tolhurst Organic, also joined the panel.

More than 600 attendees from the worlds of politics, business, academia and campaigning registered to watch the discussion live. Watch the recording of the event on YouTube. 

Never before has there been a more important time to take a stand for what is right. Together we can make a difference. To find out more about the campaign or to get involved visit the Viva! Campaign page

Siobhan Dolan is Marketing and PR Manager at Viva!