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Animal Advocates Call on Banks to Stop Funding Industrial Farm Systems

Press Release Section Icon 4/21/2022

Compassion in World Farming, along with other NGOs, is calling on major world banks to stop funding intensive animal agriculture.

A joint letter has been sent to multinational development banks (MDBs) during this week’s Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG).

It urges MDBs to reconsider their classification of pigs and chickens as being universally aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Globally most pigs and chickens are industrially farmed and the huge amounts of manure built up on factory farms - together with the growing of cereals and soy to feed the animals - results in very high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The letter also calls on banks to stop funding industrial animal agriculture and to instead support sustainable forms of animal and plant-based production.

These public financial institutions are continuing to fund intensive animal agriculture despite a massive amount of scientific evidence showing that this, together with the high meat consumption that it supports, places the Paris goals out of reach.

Many studies stress that a reduction in global animal agriculture and meat consumption is essential to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published earlier this month states that “diets high in plant protein and low in meat and dairy are associated with lower GHGs.”

It adds: “Emerging food technologies such as cellular fermentation, cultured meat, [and] plant-based alternatives to animal-based food products can bring substantial reduction in direct GHG emissions from food production.”

Another report published this month by the US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that high methane emissions arise from large-scale confined pig farms that liquify their manure. It explains that methane emissions from pig manure increased by 44% between 1990 and 2010. This, too contradicts the MDBs’ assertion that pig production is aligned with the Paris targets.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2022 states that the: “global trend in large scale industrial production of pigs, chickens and farmed-wildlife species is coincident with pandemic emergence of highly pathogenic human or zoonotic influenzas and coronaviruses.”

Ben Williamson, U.S. Executive Director, Compassion in World Farming, says:

There are many reasons why MDBs should not finance industrial animal agriculture. With its overcrowded, stressful conditions where animals never see the light of day, industrial animal agriculture contributes to the emergence and spread of pathogens, some of which are zoonotic. The last pandemic before COVID-19 emerged from farm animals. This was the 2009 swine flu pandemic. We need to build back better post-COVID, and that should include changing our relationship with animals. We should rear farm animals to high welfare standards and include them as an integral part of regenerative agriculture systems that can restore biodiversity, rebuild soil quality, and halt deforestation.

Compassion in World Farming and the other NGOs will continue to urge MDBs to stop funding industrial animal agriculture and instead support sustainable practices like organic farming. It’s better for people, animals, and the planet.

The 2022 Spring Meetings of the IMF and the WBG will take place from April 18-24.

For more information, please email media.team@ciwf.org.

Notes to Editors

  1. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organization dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, the US, China, and South Africa.
  2. To find out more about Compassion in World Farming, visit: www.ciwf.org

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