The upcoming Extinction and Livestock Conference in the UK will bring together a wide range of interests to consider how changes to the global livestock industry can transition to more sustainable practices. Specifically, the London conference will explore how industry reforms can help the world meet climate targets, prevent animal extinctions, contain antibiotic resistance, and address animal welfare concerns.
The meeting will bring together farmers, multinational corporations, and environmental advocates, ranging from McDonalds to the World Wildlife Fund. 500 delegates will come from over 30 countries.
The conference will span two days, from October 5th to the 6th, organized by Compassion in World Farming (CiWF). The advocacy organization has cautioned that “there will be catastrophic impacts for life on Earth unless there is a global move away from intensive farming”.
If current trends continue, a two thirds decline in the world’s wildlife populations is expected by 2020. This massive die-off is in large part due to the destruction of habitats for human food production. Antibiotic resistant pathogens are on the rise, and have been linked to the use of antibiotics in livestock production. Intensive livestock production also produces methane that contributes substantially to climate change.
CiWF argues for global reforms of food and farming practices. Their CEO, Phillip Lymbery, said:
“Livestock production, the environment, wildlife conservation and human health are all interlinked, so it’s vital that experts from each of these fields work together to come up with practical solutions to stop this before it’s too late.”
The organization hopes to achieve a policy framework that addresses food security, climate change, animal welfare, and human health, without prioritizing one issue at the expense of others.
“Many people are aware that wild animals such as penguins, elephants and jaguars are threatened by extinction. However, few know that livestock production, fuelled by consumer demand for cheap meat, is one of the biggest drivers of species extinction and biodiversity loss on the planet,” according to Lymbery.
According to the writer Raj Patel, who is speaking at the conference:
“The footprint of global agriculture is vast. Industrial agriculture is absolutely responsible for driving deforestation, absolutely responsible for pushing industrial monoculture, and that means it is responsible for species loss.
“We’re losing species we have never heard of, those we’ve yet to put a name to and industrial agriculture is very much at the spear-tip of that. Conferences are for forging the alliances and building the movement that will change the world.”