Animal welfare advocate
- Is the Farmageddon scenario – the death of our countryside, a scourge of disease and billions starving – inevitable?
- The harder farmers push animals beyond their natural limit, and the more closely animals are confined, often the greater the risk of disease and the heavier the reliance on vets to keep herds alive. Their weapon of choice is antibiotics. According to Dil Peeling, who qualified as a vet in the UK but spent much of his career working in developing countries: "A vet's worth is now measured by his or her ability to deliver on production and animal health – not welfare. It is difficult to persuade vets who have invested so much of their careers in propping up intensive farming to turn their back on such systems."
- Once a virus gets into an intensive poultry shed it can move quickly through the flock, constantly replicating itself. Any "errors" or changes to the genetic code during replication don't get repaired: this is how the virus mutates and new variant strains emerge. The tragedy is that while intensive farms provide ideal conditions for the emergence of new aggressive disease strains, wild birds can then become infected too. Experience from the 2005 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) H5N1 suggests that the disease is more likely spread along major road and rail routes than on the flight routes of migratory birds.
- The UN has warned that global food supply needs to increase by 70–100 per cent by 2050. Yet today as much as half the food produced worldwide is squandered – binned, left to rot or fed to farm animals.