Climate and health crises driven by factory farms across Europe, says new report

Campaigners urge EU to phase out all factory farms by 2040

Read the report: The Urgent Case to Stop Factory Farms in Europe

Brussels, October 8 – Factory-farmed meat production in the EU is on the rise, and is putting the climate and human health at risk according to a new report released today from Food & Water Action Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe.

A rise in industrial meat production in the European Union has been accompanied by a rapid decline in the number of small farms. This has led to a dangerous rise of “factory farms”, characterised by large numbers of animals confined in crowded spaces.

The report reveals that:

  • Unsafe working conditions on factory farms and slaughterhouses put workers in danger and increase the spread of diseases including COVID-19;
  • Global production of soybeans for animal feed, and the resulting deforestation, are exacerbating the climate crisis, constituting around 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions originating from human activity;
  • The European meat sector is dominated by a few large corporations who are increasing in size through mergers and acquisitions. Vertical integration threatens the existence of small-scale farmers, drops the prices for producers and leaves all the profits with agribusiness;
  • The routine dosing of antibiotics to factory farmed animals is increasing the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria ending up in meat;
  • Manure from livestock farming severely contributes to air pollution (namely via ammonia emissions) and water pollution (via nitrate outputs) – a serious health risk for people living near factory farms.

Stanka Becheva, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Intensive animal farming is on the rise in Europe and it has already had devastating impacts on nature, peasant farming, our health and rural areas. The COVID-19 crisis has proved the fragility and inhumanity of the system which makes cheap meat possible, and how much it depends on unethical and unfair conditions for workers. We need urgent action from EU and national policy makers to change this.

David Sánchez Carpio, director of EU affairs at Food & Water Action Europe said: “The rise of factory farming in Europe is the result of misguided political choices. The European Commission should use the Farm to Fork strategy to shift this trend, ban factory farms in Europe and to support a just transition into a socially and environmentally friendly livestock sector.”

The European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy pledges to reduce the environmental and climate impact of animal production. However, no concrete actions are suggested to tackle the root causes of the problem.

Friends of the Earth Europe and Food & Water Action Europe are calling on the European Commission use its upcoming ‘legislative framework for sustainable food systems’ to:

  • Propose concrete action to stop the construction of new factory farms and phase out existing ones by 2040.
  • Develop a transition fund for workers in factory farms and the meat industry to shift into more sustainable jobs
  • Support sustainable small-scale livestock producers and decentralised meat processing facilities that contribute to rural development



NGOs call for less and better meat, dairy and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy

NGOs call for less and better meat, dairy and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy

Brussels — Ahead of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy, Food & Water Europe and 19 other NGOs wrote to key Commissioners and Commission Vice-President Timmermans to call on them to recognise and address the need to reduce and improve the production and consumption of meat, dairy and eggs in the strategy.

Read the letter.

Más de treinta eurodiputados piden la paralización de la macrogranja de las 20.000 vacas en Noviercas (Soria)

En Inglés

Madrid, Bruselas — Treinta y tres eurodiputadas y eurodiputados de seis grupos políticos y once países han remitido hoy una carta [1] al Gobierno español y castellanoleonés para pedir la paralización del proyecto para construir una macrogranja con más de 23.000 vacas en la provincia de Soria [2]. Si este proyecto se lleva a cabo, sería la mayor granja lechera de la Unión Europea y abriría las puertas a un modelo de ganadería industrial importado de EE.UU. que no tiene cabida en Europa.

Una coalición de asociaciones ecologistas, movimientos locales y sindicatos agrarios [3] se opone a este proyecto por sus potenciales impactos sobre la economía rural, el medio ambiente, la población, la calidad del aire y del agua de la zona y el impacto global de la ganadería industrial en el cambio climático.

David Sánchez, portavoz de Food & Water Europe afirmó: “Los gobiernos central y autonómico no pueden permitir que este modelo de ganadería industrial llegue a Europa. Sus impactos en EEUU están ya más que documentados, no ayuda a las zonas rurales y no tiene nada que ver con el modelo de agricultura y alimentación que demandan las personas consumidoras”.

Florent Marcellesi, eurodiputado y firmante de la carta afirmó: “La UE no puede seguir permitiendo la preocupante proliferación de macrogranjas como la de Noviercas que además de convertir a España en el estercolero de Europa, destruyen empleos, nuestra salud, el medio ambiente, el clima y las oportunidades en el mundo rural. Ya hemos llevado esta batalla a Bruselas y desde aquí seguimos trabajando para que la UE apueste cuanto antes por un modelo agroalimentario sostenible, saludable, respetuoso con los animales y que contribuya al desarrollo del mundo rural”


[1] La carta y el listado de firmantes está disponible aquí.

[2] Más información sobre el Proyecto está disponible en:




[3] La coalición incluye, entre otros, a Greenpeace, Amigos de la Tierra, Ecologistas en Acción, COAG y Food & Water Europe.


David Sánchez Carpio, Food & Water Europe, +32 (0) 2893 1045, +34 616206942, dsanchez(at)

Florent Marcellesi, +3222837743, [email protected]

More Than 30 MEPs Raise Their Voices Against a 23,000 Dairy-Cow Factory Farm in Spain

En Español

Madrid, Brussels, February 27th 2019 — Thirty-three MEPs from six different political groups and 11 countries endorsed a letter [1] sent today to Spanish national and regional governments urging them to stop a projected factory farm that would house more than 23,000 dairy cows [2]. It would be the biggest dairy farm in the European Union and opens the doors to a factory farm model imported from the US that has no place in Europe.

A coalition of environmental NGOs, local organisations and farmers [3] is opposing this project for its potential impacts on rural economies, the environment, local communities, water and air quality, as well as the global impact of factory farming on climate change.

David Sánchez, campaigner at Food & Water Europe, said: “The Spanish and regional governments shouldn’t allow this factory farm model to be imported from the United States into Europe. Its severe impacts in the US are well documented: it doesn’t help rural communities and it has nothing to do with the model of farming that citizens demand in Europe.”

Florent Marcellesi, Member of the European Parliament and co-signatory of the letter, said: “The EU must stop turning a blind eye on the worrying spread of mega factory farms like the one in Noviercas. This kind of factory farming is making Spain become Europe’s dump while it destroys employment, our health, the environment, the climate and the opportunities in the rural areas. We already brought this fight to Brussels and from here we’ll keep on working to ensure the EU turns as soon as possible to sustainable and healthy farming, which respects animal welfare and contributes to the development of rural areas.”


[1] The letter and the list of signatories can be found here in Spanish and English.

[2] More information about the project can be found here in:


[3] The coalition includes, among others, Greenpeace Spain, Friends of the Earth Spain, Ecologistas en Acción, Food & Water Europe and farmers’ union COAG.


David Sánchez, Food & Water Europe, +32 (0) 2893 1045, +34 616206942, dsanchez(at)

Florent Marcellesi. +3222837743 [email protected]


More than 30 Grassroots Movements and NGOs Form an Alliance Against Factory Farming in Spain

Madrid—Last weekend, the second national meeting of Spanish communities against factory farming took place in Minglanilla (Cuenca), involving more than 20 grassroots movements from affected areas all over the country and ten national and international organisations.

The organisation of a national coordination against factory farming started last year to face the dramatic and uncontrolled increase of factory farms in Spain. Its aim is to coordinate movements and organisations opposing this industry.

“The second national meeting ‘Stop Factory Farmin’’ has been a clear success. Many movements from affected regions were represented, with loads of energy to campaign against the hundreds of new factory farm projects that could turn our rural areas into real dung-hills,” said Inma Lozano, spokesperson of the National Alliance Stop Factory Farming. “Factory farming has severe impacts on the environment, public health, rural economies and animal welfare and we need to stop it as soon as possible,” she added.

The National Coordination supports the mobilizations against factory farming that will happen in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) on Thursday 31st of May, organised by the regional platforms.



The Spanish National Coordination against Factory Farming (Coordinadora Estatal Stop Ganadería Industrial) includes local movements from Andalusia (Stop Cerdos Intensivos en el Altiplano de Granada y Almería), Aragon (Plataforma Loporzano SIN Ganadería Intensiva), Castille-La Mancha (ADERA – Asociación para la Economía Responsable de Almendros, Asociación ecologista Serendipia, CLM Stop Macrogranjas, Coordinadora Acuífero 23 sin macrogranjas, El Horcajo Plataforma Cívica- Lucillos, Plataforma Cívica de Gamonal, Plataforma no a la macrogranja en Pozuelo y Argamasón, Plataforma Retamoso Sostenible – Stop Macrogranjas, Pueblos Vivos Cuenca, Pueblos Vivos/Stop Macrogranjas de Cañete, Pueblos Vivos/Stop Macrogranjas de Priego, Stop Macrogranjas Alpera y Ayora, Stop macrogranjas Comarca de Molina de Aragón), Castille and Leon (Plataforma Pueblos unidos de Tábara) and Murcia (Plataforma Ciudadana Salvemos el Arabí y Comarca); and national and international NGO (Friends of the Earth Spain, Compassion in World Farming, Ecologistas en Acción, Food & Water Europe, Greenpeace and Justicia Alimentaria).

The Trans-Atlantic Plastics Pipeline: How Pennsylvania’s Fracking Boom Crosses the Atlantic



America’s oil and gas rush is now coming to Europe, polluting both sides of the pond, contributing to climate change and threatening coastal wildlife.

Over the past decade, the U.S. fossil fuel industry has surged by employing new techniques and technologies that combine horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to extract oil and gas from shale and other underground rock formations.


Fracking causes many negative public health and environmental impacts and injects large quantities of water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to release oil or gas tightly held in rock layers.

European countries must protect the environment and public health and reject America’s headlong rush to fracking and cracking pollution and environmental damage.