Leading lobby group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has called for a new United Nations (UN) Convention on food and farming to ensure global climate change targets are met.
Chief executive Philip Lymbery, who has authored two books – Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat and Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were – made the appeal as he launched a landmark conference on the future of worldwide food systems.
Previous UN interventions on agricultural policy have been controversial, with two high-ranking advisers claiming pesticides were not needed to feed the world in a bombshell report earlier this year.
Mr Lymbery said: “We need a total rethink of our food and farming systems, before it is too late.
“Intensive livestock systems are at the heart of so many problems affecting health, food security, biodiversity, the environment and animal welfare.
“Unless we have a UN Convention to specifically tackle the wide-ranging impacts of food and farming, the targets on climate change will not be achieved and our world will continue to be ravaged by our broken food systems.”
The Extinction and Wildlife Conference, which took place last week in London, was billed as ‘the first ever to examine how current livestock production is driving two-thirds of wildlife loss worldwide, using up the world’s precious natural resources, polluting our waterways, creating ocean ‘dead zones’ where nothing can live, creating the perfect breeding ground for superbugs and contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans.’
Scientists, experts and business leaders from across the world were invited to speak, and the event was the first in the UK to serve the Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat, which is currently only available in the United States.
Mr Lymbery added: “Without global agreements which have a holistic approach, our wildlife will be pushed to extinction, our landscapes will be bulldoze, our precious natural resources will be used up and our health will suffer.”