Quelle: Sandström et al. (2018): The role of trade in the greenhouse gas footprints of EU diets.
What is the problem?
The food we eat in Germany and how this food is produced, has a dramatic impact on people, animals and ecosystems around the world. Our current food system fuels climate catastrophe, causing species extinction and considerable levels injustice and suffering. The main beneficiaries are large corporations who aren’t afraid to use their financial strength and lobbying power to keep it that way.
Animal farming and the consumption of animal products play a central role in these problems. This is because the production of meat, milk and eggs causes greenhouse gas emissions much higher than plant-based alternatives. Animal farming also takes up enormous amounts of land – over 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used for animal feed and grazing, yet only 18 percent of the calories consumed globally are produced on this land. In Germany, around 60 percent of agricultural land is used for animal farming, and large areas in the Global South are also used to import feed to Germany.
The animals themselves, kept in fattening facilities, egg and dairy farms, typically have miserable, short lives. They cannot satisfy basic needs, are confined to small spaces, and often suffer additional illness and injury.
A transformation to a plant-based food system immediately addresses many of these problems and also offers immense opportunities. Reducing animal farming and changing diets will save large amounts of greenhouse gases. Species-rich ecosystems could then be re-established on land that is freed up and greenhouse gases can be sequestered. Food would thus require significantly less land, energy and resources. Conversely, climate justice cannot be achieved without a reduction in animal farming.
The dire situation of farmed animals can at best be minimally improved within a commercial system. Even in systems which claim improved animal welfare, the basic needs of animals are systematically violated and suffering is barely reduced. The unnecessary slaughter of animals is also unjust. This is why it is so important to go beyond transforming animal farming and to actually reduce the number of animals used and, as an ideal, to create a society in which animals are no longer considered commodities or suppliers of products, but are taken seriously as individuals with their own rights.
We think that the production and distribution of food should be aligned with the goal of meeting needs rather than the aim of generating profits, which is the case today. Our goal is a world where all people have access to good, delicious food produced in self-determined and sufficient labour without exploitation or environmental degradation.
The agricultural and food system, and animal farming in particular, is already the subject of controversial debate with many organisations campaigning for change. However, even progressive forces such as environmental and animal protection organisations often only call for a restructuring of animal husbandry combined with a moderate reduction in animal numbers and consumption. This will not solve any of the problems – on the contrary, it runs the risk of stabilising the existing system.
At the same time, this focus on minor reforms means that potential policy measures for a reduction in animal farming and a comprehensive food transition are rarely examined or discussed in detail. The same applies to measures for the de-commercialisation of the food system.
Currently, there is no political will for significant change, and the power of the corporations is unbroken. Strong social movements are needed to show that transformation is socially desirable, and to drive change from below.
Faba Konzepte intervenes in the debates described above, not only by making clear demands but by providing data, facts and arguments. Likewise, we want to spotlight opportunities for change and highlight transformation paths with our concept papers.
In order to strengthen social movements, we will offer educational formats, strengthen networks and support activists and initiatives that are committed to the reduction of animal farming and the food transition. Through intensive exchange and cooperation with existing groups we will seek to avoid duplication of work and help other organisations in order to develop synergies.