Factory farming: Greenpeace demands a moratorium on factory farms

To illustrate the phenomenon of the industrialization of livestock farming in France, Greenpeace France is today publishing a map of the farm-factories present in the territory. [1]. This map shows the hyper-specialization in animal husbandry in the Great West, where the concentration of animals and the density of factory farms are so strong that they exert unsustainable and excessive environmental pressure. Greenpeace denounces the threats posed by the industrialization of animal husbandry not only for our planet but also for farmers, and calls for the establishment of a national moratorium on the construction or extension of these mega-farms.

These figures alone sum up the extent of the disaster: about 60% of farm animals are concentrated in 3010 factory farms, which however only represent 3% of livestock farms [2] ! More than 200 million farm animals can thus be confined in factory farms: some of them can contain more than a million poultry. [3] ! Nearly 70% of these mega-farms, which only have a farm in name, are concentrated on only 9% of French territory, in the regions of Brittany and Pays de la Loire, where up to 134 million can be crammed in this way. of animals. This accumulation of farms and animals has disastrous environmental, social and health consequences.

It is crucial to initiate an exit from factory farming by establishing a moratorium on all new projects to create or extend factory farms in France, explains Sandy Olivar Calvo, Agriculture Campaigner at Greenpeace. This would reduce our volumes of production and consumption of products from factory farming [4]. At the same time, the government must plan a better distribution of livestock farming throughout the territory and support ecological farming models, in the service of the agro-ecological transition. [5]. »

Factory farming: a scourge with multiple negative consequences
Whether it is to produce meat, eggs or dairy products, factory farming does not meet the essential objective of sustainably feeding the world, but the requirements ofan economic model based on animal productivity and profit. In addition to penalizing the existence of human-sized farms, the survival of peasants and their autonomy, factory farms increase the pressure on natural resources.

Factory farms have massive and deleterious impacts on the climate, biodiversity and the health of local residents living near these mega-installations, details Sandy Olivar Calvo. They pollute the air because of ammonia emissions, a precursor of fine particles that are very harmful to our health, but also the water, since the excessive presence of nitrates promotes the appearance of green algae. They aggravate global warming with emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. To feed these millions of animals, these animal production factories rely on massive imports of soybeans from South America, which contribute to the destruction of tropical forests which thus massively release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the confinement of animals increases the risk of zoonoses and accentuates the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance. »

A busy agenda in terms of public agricultural policies
The publication of this map comes as consultations on a future agricultural orientation law are underway. [6]. Without fundamental questioning of our farming system, and more broadly our food and agricultural system, this law will be a failure. faced with the urgency of drastically changing the farming model, which is facing multiple social, economic, health and environmental crises.

“Today, we need to put agronomy back into our agricultural systems by promoting mixed crop-livestock systems, continues Sandy Olivar Calvo. Diversification is key for resilient systems, which is why the government must subsidize ecological breeding and further support the production of organic fresh fruits and vegetables, while developing the production of pulses for human consumption. This is the only way to guarantee our food sovereignty tomorrow. »

On a European scale, the industrialization of livestock farming is also a subject of debate because the directive on industrial emissions, which also concerns livestock facilities, will be voted on in the coming days. [7]. While the regulations for ICPEs in France include all sectors, the beef industry, which is by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is currently not affected by this European directive. Greenpeace is already following these negotiations closely since the harmful consequences of factory farming also exist in other European countries.

Notes to editors:
[1] To count the farm-factories present on the territory, Greenpeace relied on the database of “installations classified for the protection of the environment” (ICPE) subject to authorization, i.e. those which must obligatorily to obtain a prefectural authorization and to be the subject of a public inquiry because likely to present a danger for the environment. This database was provided by the Ministry of Ecological Transition in January 2023: Greenpeace warns that the file had to undergo numerous manual corrective treatments because we observed many errors and inconsistencies. Greenpeace deplores the fact that the MTES is not able to have precise, up-to-date and correct data on ICPEs, which are by definition potentially dangerous installations for the environment.
[2] Sources: database of livestock ICPEs transmitted by the Ministry for Ecological Transition in January 2023, GraphAgri 2022, note from the Ministry of Agriculture entitled ” The welfare and protection of broiler poultry“, technical data sheet on broiler chicken from Point Vétérinaire.
[3] There are more than 200 million places for breeding animals in the 3010 factory farms listed.
[4] As the IPCC recently recalled in its summary, it is imperative to adopt a healthy and sustainable diet, which requires a drastic reduction in meat products.
[5] Greenpeace supports and defends a local, independent and ecological farming model, i.e. a farming model that respects farmers, creates jobs, guarantees animal welfare and protects ecosystems, biodiversity, the climate and our health. See collective forum “No agriculture without livestock!”, West-France, 02/27/2023.
[6] See press release from Collectif Nourrir, 10/05/2023.
[7] Coming into force in 2010 and currently being revised, the Industrial Emissions Directive aims to reduce emissions associated with industrial installations, including livestock installations. It must be voted on on May 24 in the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

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