ESN agrees in general with the statement, however we feel that more than making as general statement ‘ to encourage lower levels of animal product consumption”, that could make the assumption that livestock production is necessarily bad for human health and the environment, we should distinguish the the role of extensive livestock systems. Mobile pastoralism, and the types of animal rearing which our members are involved with not only provide healthy nutrition for people but are also beneficial to the environment.
Read the statement here :
We, the undersigned organisations, believe that the European food and farming system is broken: that it is working for the interests of a few to the detriment of the majority of people, farmers, and the planet.
Europe’s food and farming system directly contributes to a wasteful use of finite global resources and damages the environment by contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss, depletion of fisheries, deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, as well as water and air pollution. Factory-style farming – largely dependent on imports and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance – has been promoted at the expense of viable incomes for farmers and jobs in rural areas in Europe, as well as human rights, decent work, and livelihoods in developing countries. Farmers are facing a flawed choice between bankruptcy and further intensification. Farmers practising credible alternatives like organic and agro-ecological agriculture remain on the fringes in favour of business as usual. At the same time, high levels of undernourishment, the rapid rise in obesity and unhealthy diets are among the main causes of death and disease both in Europe and worldwide.
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has contributed to this broken food and farming system through the promotion of agro-industrial farming methods and global commodity chains. In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU must carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies. A fairer, more sustainable and resilient system is urgently needed. The undersigned organisations call for a major transformation of Europe’s food and farming system on the basis of the following principles:
Fair and diverse food and farming economies: ensure a fair income and decent work conditions for farmers and farm workers; facilitate access to farmland for sustainable peasant farming; encourage short supply chains and sustainable public procurement policies; grant fair access to high quality products for all consumers; prevent negative impacts on people’s right to food and on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the global south.
Healthy environment and a food and farming system that respects animal welfare: ensure the end of harmful subsidies; reward and incentivise the delivery of positive environmental and social outcomes; restore and prevent further loss of biodiversity; encourage conservation and active use of genetic diversity; ensure agricultural production is free from synthetic chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers that harm the environment; prevent and minimise food waste throughout the food chain; halt food and feed imports linked to deforestation; ensure that animal health and welfare are effectively respected; replace the current industrial livestock system with extensive alternatives where animals are not treated as mere commodities and the balance between livestock and land capacity is ensured, while the overuse of antibiotics prevented; radically reduce emissions from farming and ensure a transition towards a resilient food and farming system.
Support for citizens’ health and well-being: ensure our food and farming system fosters healthy, nutritious, seasonal, local, culturally appropriate and affordable diets; encourage lower levels of animal product consumption; raise citizens’ awareness of the impacts of consumption on their own health, on farmers, animals and the environment; prevent negative impacts of agricultural methods on the health of farmers, farm workers and rural populations.
A publicly accountable food system with participatory governance, citizens’ empowerment and democracy: involve citizens in transparent decision making processes; prevent corporate capture of decision making; empower local communities to lead the transformation.
We are committed to achieving a real transition by working in partnership with farmers, citizens and policy-makers. Therefore, we urge the European institutions and national policymakers to rethink the role and direction of European agriculture policies and use the principles presented above as a basis for the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy reform process.