Today (15 July) Compassion welcomed the release of a new National Food Strategy, following a two-year review led by restaurateur Henry Dimbleby.
The strategy outlines a range of recommendations with the aim of delivering healthy, affordable food and building a sustainable agriculture sector in an efficient and cost-effective way.
A step in the right direction
It sets out key recommendations from field to fork including:
- the need to reduce meat consumption by 30% by 2032
- changing government procurement policies and encouraging supermarkets to agree to meat reduction targets
- £1bn investment in research to improve plant-based food production and alternative proteins, to help reduce our reliance on and consumption of meat
- setting government standards for future trade deals to safeguard animal welfare and our farmers’ livelihoods
“We welcome many elements of the National Food Strategy - such as the need for clear standards on trade, investment in alternative proteins, support for disadvantaged members of society and the need to overhaul public procurement – it could be a real game-changer for the UK,” said Dr Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK.
“But what’s also needed is for the Government to tax factory farmed meat and invest the revenues in lowering the cost of healthy food and supporting regenerative agriculture, which is better for animals, safeguards soil health and works in harmony with nature.
“A 30% meat reduction will not be enough to create a truly sustainable food system. Current subsidies and taxes must change so that the right kinds of food, especially plant-based ones and alternative proteins, can be embraced by retailers and consumers.
“We are concerned that the Strategy gives insufficient attention to animal welfare. We must move away from the cruelties of factory farming where animals are kept in crowded, stressful conditions which make them highly vulnerable to diseases, some of which are zoonotic.
“We must have an integrated approach by government to transforming our food system so that it benefits people, farm animals, wildlife and the planet.”
Supporting meat reduction
Compassion supports a 50% reduction (from current levels) of meat and dairy consumption in the UK by 2035, and for the UK government to ensure that all animals reared for food are produced in higher welfare systems. We also call for a global target of 50% less meat production and consumption by 2050.
As part of our Rethinking Food programme, Compassion is working with leading food companies to help develop strategies for a more resilient and sustainable food system. Find out more here.