Friday, October 09, 2020

World’s top banks must stop funding factory farming to prevent future pandemics, say campaigners

Nearly 100 environmentalists, including the prime minister’s father, are calling on banks and the International Monetary Fund to stop investing in factory farming to cut the risk of future pandemics. In a letter to 22 leading financial institutions worldwide, the signatories, who include Jane Goodall, warn that industrial livestock production increases the potential for further disease outbreaks, and contributes to dangerous antibiotic resistance. Industrial farming also undermines food security, and contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss, including the loss of pollinators, deforestation and water pollution, the letter says. It was sent to banking giants including JP Morgan Chase, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Lloyds, Santander and NatWest, as well as the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. The 94 signatories also include television cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London, actor Joanna Lumley and environmentalist Stanley Johnson. Experts from both the UN and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have pinpointed animals or food of animal origin as a starting point for emerging diseases. Eco activists have long argued that global financiers should not bankroll livestock corporations that risk environmental damage. In the past five years, meat and dairy companies worldwide received at least $478bn (£370bn) in backing from more than 2,500 investment firms, banks, and pension funds, according to a report this year by Feedback, a UK group lobbying for changes to the food system...MORE

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