Rainforest Free lunch

John Leech MP enjoying a rainforest free lunch!

On Friday, I joined Manchester Friends of the Earth outside Manchester Town Hall for a rainforest-free lunch, to show my support for their ‘Fix The Food Chain’ campaign.

Along with many other Liberal Democrat MPs, I am very concerned about the effect that the way in which we raise farm animals in this country is having on areas of natural beauty and global importance like the Amazon rainforest.

The livestock in many ‘factory farms’ in this country are being reared on animal feed grown on vast soy plantations, which are responsible for much of the large-scale deforestation that we see today in the Amazon. Communities are also being driven from their land to make way for these plantations.

On current trends, Friends of the Earth estimate that such practices will have destroyed 40% of the Amazon rainforest by 2050. They also have a significant impact on climate change, with the meat and dairy industry being responsible for one-fifth of the global climate-changing gases which are being released into the atmosphere.

Though it is difficult to have a rainforest-free lunch when we are eating meat and dairy, FOTE’s campaign shows that it is possible to farm animals without causing such significant damage to our planet. I fully support their calls for policies which will help British farmers to rear animals that are born, bred and fed British.

4 responses to “Rainforest Free lunch

  1. The greenhouse gases emitted from the “meat and dairy industry” are quite separate from where the animal feed is grown. If you believe that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then a tax should be imposed on such products, replaced by soya.
    In Brazil, and other areas like Indonesia, the biggest pressures on the rainforest from agiculture are not from food, but from bio-fuels. This has helped world food prices more than double in the past few years, making the poorest in the world even poorer.
    The way to increase food supply with the same or diminishing amounts of land is to increase the productivity per acre. There are three ways of doing this.
    1. Use GM crops.
    2. Use fertilisers.
    3. Encourage the most productive land for the most intensive food production. The areas with the comparative advantage should be used, not where rich-world subsidies determine (e.g. sugar beet in the EU, or rice in Japan).

    • To Manicbeancounter-
      Regarding the sentences: about increasing food supply. I would be careful as using GM crops and fertilisers depleates the nutrients and minerals in the soil, so yes for the first year you get a great harvest, the second year a good harvest, 3rd year an OK harvest but by the fourth year the soil doesn’t have enough nutrients to allow GM crops to grow effectively and fertilisers make the crops more reliant on one kind of fertiliser. Most 3rd world farmers can’t afford these fertilisers which are often sold to them by multi-national companies, however reliance on them affects their profits for selling the crops as well as the degradation of the soil. This often means you need a fallow year where you cannot grow crops on the land at all just to help balance the nutrients again- however farmers will not get paid for this fallow year and lose out on a whole years pay for their crops.
      Secondly fertilisers leach from the soil into groundwater stores and into the water system polluting rives where local communities get their water from- therefore can ingest fertilisers into their blood streams not to mention what effect it has on plant life and animal species in the rivers as well as causing eutrophication in the river system.
      Personally the best thing is sustainable farming, where in relation to crops we grow a variety of crops to allow the soils to recouperate but secondly we do not cut down rainforest for cheap crops which don’t necessarily benefit us like (as you say- biofuels) and soy production for factory farmed animals in Europe.
      It is fantastic that John is supporting this campaign which encourages us to think where our food comes from and what impact is has, not only on the Environment and on plant/ animal life, but on human life as well. Well done John 🙂

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