Every day, thousands of animals live and die in filthy, cramped conditions. This is the reality of factory farming.
To the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drawn the attention of the whole world to the dangers of keeping and slaughtering animals in cramped and unhygienic conditions.
COVID-19 is thought to have emerged at a wet market in China. But this isn’t the first deadly disease to come from animals kept in cramped, filthy conditions. At least two of the most dangerous new diseases in modern history have stemmed from modern farming: bird flu and swine flu. And there’s no reason a future pandemic couldn’t start the same way.
Here in the UK, big businesses continue to rely on huge, poorly-regulated factory farms for their meat and dairy products. These ‘farms’ are really not farms at all: they’re better described as giant warehouses, where animals are bred to grow too big, too fast – and live their short lives in their own filth.
Now the fight against COVID-19 has shown that, to slow the spread of new diseases, we need to change the way we look at animal farming. According to many experts, transitioning away from factory farms – by giving animals more space and better conditions – could reduce the risk of future pandemics.
Intensive farming is a danger to people and animals alike. That’s why, together with public health experts, we urge you to take protective action – by introducing a ban on factory farming in the UK.