How Factory Farming Hurts Endangered Species
“When you think of penguins, jaguars and elephants, it’s probably unlikely that you think of the cheap meat piled up on our supermarket shelves. But there is a connection, and it is deeply worrying.” – Philip Lymbery, author of Deadzone: Where the Wild Things Were  

Deadzone – the sequel to the wildly popular Farmageddon – takes readers on a global journey from the rainforests of the Amazon to the plains of the American Midwest to expose a little known factor in the demise of the world’s most endangered species: factory farming.   

That’s right: ANOTHER reason to hate factory farming, and certainly a compelling one for anyone who cares about the health of our global ecosystem. 

To spread the word, The Good Food Institute is giving away five advance copies of this whirlwind tour of a book – sign up here for a chance to win! Yep – you’ll also get a subscription to our e-newsletter, which I put together once every two weeks to share the latest on the future of food. Double win.   

And if you want to pre-order the book for your friends and family (please spread the knowledge!), you should absolutely take advantage of this GFI discount code for 30% off: Just visit this link and quote DEADZONE at checkout!

The jaguar’s home is being destroyed to farm cheap feed for farm animals

Philip Lymbery, author of Deadzone and CEO of Compassion in World Farming, shared his experience discovering these oft-ignored impact of our food system on the world around us, and how we can create a better future: 

The Power of Food 

Food is a wonderful thing. It connects us, helps us express ourselves, defines and differentiates our cultures. The choices that we make at mealtimes, however, can have an immense impact beyond that which affects our daily lives.

When you think of penguins, jaguars and elephants, it’s probably unlikely that you think of the cheap meat piled up on our supermarket shelves. But there is a connection, and it is deeply worrying. 

Intensive palm plantations are causing deforestation on a massive scale in Sumatra. They are destroying the last of the critically-endangered Sumatran elephant’s habitat. Large quantities of palm kernel, the edible nut from the trees, is being shipped out to feed intensively farmed cattle and other farm animals in the EU. There are now only 2,500 Sumatran elephants left in the wild. 

In Brazil, the ever-expanding soya monocultures are destroying the once rich and varied rainforests. For the jaguar, there is little left. They have been squeezed out of their homes, and the ranchers see them as pests, often shooting them on sight. There now remain only 15,000 jaguars in the wild, half of them in Brazil. 

Whether it’s the African Penguin in South Africa, the Humboldt Penguin in Peru, or the Galapagos Penguin in the Galapagos Islands, all face the same threat: commercial fisheries. Fish stocks are being plundered to be used as cheap feed for factory farmed animals, the very same fish which make up the penguin’s diet. The lack of food combined with climate change, habitat destruction, pollution and disease have severely impacted their numbers. 

Defenders of factory farming claim that less land is used to farm the animals. What they don’t consider is the amount of land used and destroyed, to provide feed for farm animals kept in confinement. Often, this feed is produced halfway across the world, destroying the habitat of endangered native wildlife. Out of sight, out of mind? 

Crucially, as I have discovered in writing my books, Farmageddon and Dead Zone: Where The Wild Things Were, factory farming fails to even achieve what it was it was conceived to do – feeding a burgeoning population. 

As I travelled to research the books, everywhere I went, I found signs of hope for the future. I met farmers turning their backs on agrochemicals, pasture pioneers allowing farm animals to graze and forage, breaking free from their dependence on grain, and conservation champions making farming work with nature, not against it. It became clear to me the future of food is bright, but we must act now to make it a reality. 

When animals are returned to the land in the right way – in well-managed, mixed and rotational systems – whole landscapes can come back to life, with a cascade of positive benefits for wildlife and farm animals alike. 

Everyone has the power to change the world - three times a day, in fact: at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It starts with eating less, but better meat, from systems which are kinder to animals and the environment. To help save our precious wildlife from the brink of extinction, avoid factory farmed meat and dairy, instead choosing pasture-fed, free range or organic. 


Or, of course, create an animal-free future for food by choosing plant-based alternatives and supporting groundbreaking technologies like clean meat, in which real meat is produced through cellular agriculture without breeding, raising, or slaughtering any animals! 

To learn how GFI is making this healthy, humane, and sustainable future possible for our food system, check out what we do.

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