By Gift Briton
As the world prepares for COP27 to be held in November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, World Animal Protection(WAP) has called for a moratorium on factory farming, which contributes up to 26% of the ongoing global climate change.
According to the organization, intensive animal production systems release greenhouse gases which is a key driver of climate change.
Dr. Victor Yamo, Farming Campaigns Manger, WAP, notes that there are no factory farms in Africa at the moment, however, the continent is in the brink of big producers moving into factory farming.
He says that factory farming has a lot of negative impacts to the people, environment and animals that has never been looked into before.
According to him, factory farming is a system in which many animals are raised using highly intensive methods, including confinement and overcrowding under very controlled conditions.
It is one of the key factors driving antibiotic resistance since a lot of antibiotics are used to speed up growth rate in animals and prevent them from getting sick, leading to superbugs that can end up in people’s food and the environment.
“The antimicrobial resistance generates superbugs, which are organisms that can cross from animals to humans causing zoonotic diseases leading to pandemics like influenza, and COVID-19 among others,” he noted.
Furthermore, with a lot of chemicals being used in these farms, there is likelihood that you could end up with residues which may cause food borne illnesses and environmental contamination.
Following the above problems, WAP notes that there is need to shift from factory farming system to a more sustainable production that takes into account the welfare of animals.
“We are asking people to ensure that the meat that they consume is of high quality. It should come from high welfare production system that avoids chemicals contamination and transfer of disease causing microbes,” Dr. Yamo added.
According to WAP there is need to recognize that planetary health and high animal welfare is integral to human health, well-being and happiness.
Also important, is a shift away from industrial livestock approaches towards livestock systems based on high welfare agro-ecology, regenerative and pastoral systems alongside sustainable and healthy diets.
According to WAP, many of the health impacts that result from factory farming could be significantly reduced by adopting high welfare farming systems such as FARMS(https://www.farms-initiative.com) guidelines.
In order to make these shifts, governments must recognize the inter-connected public health and planetary impacts of industrialized farming systems and commit to stopping the support for factory farms.
In addition, countries should establish national plans to support a just transition away from industrialized livestock production towards agro-ecological systems that produce sustainable plant-based foods and fewer farmed animals in high welfare environments.
Other than committing to a moratorium on factory farming within National Climate actions plans Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in recognition of factory farming’s climate impact, countries should also develop national One Health, One Welfare action plans and national AMR plans that recognize the health impacts of industrialized livestock and restrict its growth.