Blog Posts: Food

October 2nd, 2018

A 20,000-cow Dairy Farm in Europe? No way!

by David Sánchez

Noviercas is a small village of 158 inhabitants in Northeast Spain. It is located in the province of Soria, inside a region known as the “Spanish Siberia” because of the low population density, less than 8 people per square kilometer.

This village became famous when the co-op Valle del Odieta announced last year their intentions to build a 20,000-cow factory farm in the village. It would be the biggest dairy farm in Europe and the project immediately became controversial for all the potential impacts it could bring to the area and to the farming sector.

Farmers are leading the opposition, as they estimate this factory farm would destroy 700 direct jobs, one third of the dairy farms in the region. It would produce around 368,000 tons of manure per year, the equivalent of the waste produced by a city of 4.4 million people. And the farm would consume between 4 and 6.35 million liters of water per day, more than the total consumption of the city of Soria (40,000 inhabitants). Impacts on the environment and local communities can be huge.

This farm has nothing to do with the European model of livestock farming. We have witnessed fierce resistance to previous dairy mega factory farms with 8,000 thousand cows in the UK or even actions of civil disobedience against a 1,000-cow farm in France.

We cannot allow this model, imported from the US, to come to Europe. Impacts of these huge factory farms are well documented and are reason enough to ask for a ban. Stopping this farm would be a really symbolic step against the invasion of factory farms in Europe to defend a sustainable and social model of farming.

You can read more about it here in English, Spanish and French.

We will campaign with our allies to stop this project. Stay tuned!

January 22nd, 2018

Ready, Steady, 2018: What Food & Water Europe Will Fight for in the Coming Year

By Frida Kieninger, David Sánchez and Andy Gheorghiu

In 2017 we worked hard to change things for the better – fighting for sustainable agriculture, public water, better trade agreements, and clean energy solutions. The past year was a tough one seeing U.S. President Trump’s destructive decisions on social, energy and environmental issues and another series of devastating disasters linked to climate change. Nevertheless, now more than ever we are motivated to make 2018 a successful year for our beautiful fragile planet. Can we count on you?

Read the full article…

March 21st, 2017

Spain, A Country Full of Manure

 

By David Sánchez

Over the last few decades, small- and medium-scale farms raising livestock have given way to factory farms that confine thousands of cows, pigs and chickens in tightly packed facilities. Uncontrolled agribusiness power and misguided public policies have pressed livestock producers to become significantly larger and to adopt more intensive practices, which come with a host of environmental and public health impacts that are borne by consumers and communities.

Spain and its pork meat industry is a clear example, as we expose in a new report released today. Spain is the third largest exporter of pork after China and the United States and has the largest pig population in the EU—over 28 million animals. Production and exports are growing as a result of high industry consolidation and low production costs. But that means that the industry is getting concentrated in just a few hands, with the number of farms diminishing rapidly and farmers getting squeezed in the process. Between 1999 and 2013, 180,000 pig farms disappeared in the country, with a massive impact in rural communities.

Read the full article…

May 16th, 2016

You Said It: Factory Farms Have Got To Go

By Eve Mitchell

ChristinafromOrkneyonFishFarmingFoodandWaterEuropeI asked for it, and I got it. Lucky me!

I asked people all over the UK what they think about factory farming. From Orkney to the Isle of Wight, you’ve got stories. Some of them are sad, and some of them are wise, but all of them show why we need to make sure the last factory farm to get planning permission really was the last factory farm.

Too cruel

We’re known the world over as a nation of animal lovers, and boy did you tell me that rules out meat factories. Christina from Orkney tells it like it is: “Factory farming is cruel; really cruel.”

Eva from Cambridge knows it’s also about respect for the animals. She says, “Their lives are very short compared with the lives of their wild counterparts. If we take their lives at an early age, the least we can do is give them a good life while it lasts.”

Read the full article…

May 13th, 2016

Quiet Win Keeps Factory Farms in Check

By Eve Mitchell

We're Stoppint Factory FarmsUK Government silliness just took a big hit. Thank goodness.

Those of you with long memories will know about ongoing UK plans to let business regulate itself. From the Business Focus on Enforcement, to the Red Tape Challenge, to the current Cutting Red Tape project, it’s pretty much the same story: The government asks Big Business if it would like less enforcement of fewer regulations, and, no surprise, Big Business says, “Yes, please!”

Read the full article…

January 20th, 2016

Nitrogen On The Table, Nitrates In The Tap

By David Sánchez

FoodandWaterEuropeDangerousNitrogenFactoryFarmsNitrogen is a basic component of our food and a vital nutrient for plants and crops to grow. But high concentrations are harmful to people and nature. Last week, the presentation of a scientific report in the European Parliament, “Nitrogen on the Table”, tried to call attention to this problem. In this report, the authors considered the major benefits of reduced meat and dairy consumption in Europe, since so far more focus has been put on the supply side, developing technological solutions. And I fully agree; we need to reduce European consumption of meat and dairy, and we need to look beyond those “miraculous” technological solutions.

But I always have some concerns when the political debate focuses too much on individual solutions, like reducing meat consumption. For me, that means we are missing one key question: Who is really causing the mess?

Read the full article…

January 4th, 2016

To a New Year Full of Victories for Our Food and Water!

By Geert Decock

FoodandWaterEuropeRomaniaFrackdownHere at Food & Water Europe, we’re not only celebrating the New Year, but also the 10th anniversary of our sister organisation, Food & Water Watch.

Together we have grown into a powerful advocate for healthy food and clean water for all, with nearly 1 million supporters in the US and thousands here in Europe demanding that our democracy work to improve people’s lives and protect the environment. Thanks to YOU, our allies, activists and grassroots partners, we’re proving that when we bring people together, we can overcome even the most powerful corporations.

You are a wonderful part of our celebrations, and I want to share just some of the important victories you made happen right here in Europe:

Read the full article…

December 10th, 2015

Science Fiction in a Fish – GM Salmon Is NOT Food

FoodandWaterEuropeObamaCANStopGMSalmonBy Eve Mitchell

You’d be forgiven for missing the news, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved AquaBounty’s genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption few days ago.

We’re fighting to get that decision revoked. You can help. In case natural revulsion isn’t enough of a prompt, a few reminders:

It’s a serious environmental hazard

Read the full article…

October 8th, 2015

GM Crops in Europe – Bans Leave Nowhere To Hide

By Eve Mitchell

Act to to Ban GM crops

What a result! Too bad about poor old England.

In a rush of requests to meet the 3 October deadline, 19 of the 28 EU Member States grabbed the chance to lodge formal requests to opt out of genetically modified (GM) crops using new powers brought into law earlier this year. This means that not only do a majority of countries want out of the GM crop experiment in all or part of their territories, but they represent over two-thirds of Europe’s population and two-thirds of our cropland.

The message is clear – we don’t want GM agriculture.

Read the full article…

September 22nd, 2015

How Far Will Cameron Push Fracking?

By Eve Mitchell

Ban FrackingPlanning just got sexy.

Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but planning just took centre stage in the fight against fracking in the UK, so we need to sit up and do something about it.

I normally talk about food (cloning and GM crops and such), but I live in the UK, and I’m worried about fracking. Just when the rest of Europe is figuring out that it doesn’t work economically, the UK charges full steam ahead. Why we are risking our countryside, our farming (with its billions in food exports) and who knows what else on such a bad deal I don’t know.

Read the full article…

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