Local MP supports Stockport Friends of Earth campaign

July 9, 2009 5:21 PM

Mark Hunter MP with Kate Eldridge from Stockport Friends of the Earth at Gatley Festival campaigning on the Food Chain

Mark Hunter, MP for Cheadle constituency, has recently backed a special Parliamentary motion supporting the Friends of the Earth campaign to reduce the environmental impact of factory farming.

Whilst at the Gatley Festival last weekend, Mr Hunter visited the Stockport Friends of the Earth stall to hear about their latest campaign, he also signed a Parliamentary motion (845) in support of the campaign. The Stockport Friends of the Earth's "Food Chain campaign" calls on Government to change how we produce meat and dairy. Currently, the meat and dairy industry actually produces more environmentally harmful emissions than transport does across the world.

A new report by Friends of the Earth, 'What's feeding our food' found that vast swathes of land, including many precious forests in South America, are being destroyed to grow high-protein soy crops for the agricultural sector. These crops are used by the farmers as food in the massive factory farms which provide much of the UK's meat and diary products. The destruction of the forests and introduction of soy plantations has not only increased greenhouse gas emissions but also destroyed valuable wildlife and their habitat. Friends of the Earth are therefore calling for the Government to reduce the impact of the meat and dairy industry by shifting subsidies to support 'planet friendly farming' and helping farmers to grow their own animal feed.

Speaking after meeting with representatives of Stockport Friends of the Earth, Mr Hunter said, "We need to change the way we farm animals, not only so that the animals do not live in squalid conditions but also so that we reduce the environmental impact of meat and diary farming. Globally, livestock and animal feed production contributes 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the foremost cause of deforestation, destruction of precious habitats and loss of biodiversity.

"We need to look carefully at our role in this, and see what impact the UK's need for animal feed is having on the environment. The Government shouldn't be subsidising big business led factory farms but supporting local farmers who use home-grown sustainable animal feed and farm in a low-impact, environmentally friendly way. This is the future, thriving eco-friendly farms, and the Government should focus on how they can best encourage them."

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