EU factory farm subsidies cause animal cruelty and climate catastrophe


Ireland exported a staggering 160,000 live male calves to Europe in 2018

The Guardian reports on the secret filming of unweaned male calves (cows) being treated with cruelty and disdain as they were transported from Ireland to the Netherlands for slaughter as veal. The mistreatment of animals in Europe’s factory farming model, and the horrendous practises of the dairy industry are truths that we prefer to ignore as we drink our cow’s lactation (designed for calves, not humans!) and chomp down on a burger that’s probably made from the flesh of a dozen animals, not all of them cows. The whole system is actually horrendous, when you think about.

EU factory farm subsidies – the horror!

41% of the EU’s €137 billion annual budget (2017) is given to farmers as handouts. So Europe funds the cruel live animal trade, while propping up the dairy sector that produces all those unwanted male calves, in a subsidy system that favours industrial-scale farming. Besides the justified ethical concern that we as Europeans are subsidising cruelty in factory farms across the EU, we are also helping industrial farming be a major contributor to climate change, greenhouse gases and plastic waste. Ireland’s agriculture sector contributes over a third of the country’s GHG emissions, and there is no hope of EU reduction targets being met in 2020. Or even 2030. Our track record is abysmal.

Top 3 ways the EU can fix agriculture, improve animal welfare and cut GHG emissions

  1. Short of banning live exports, which would be ideal, there should be a distance limit, say 200km. Livestock producers should be encouraged (maybe with those infamous subsidies?) to slaughter animals locally, adding value to the local economy, then exporting finished meat products. Or, better still, sell the meat locally also.
  2. Consider the impact that Europe’s huge herds of cows, pigs and sheep have on our greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture should be carbon-neutral and if that means shifting our tastes away from animal meat, so be it.
  3. Live animal exports to countries outside the EU should be banned completely and immediately. If EU-based companies treat animals with such cruelty as we have witnessed, what chance of welfare do animals have in places like Saudi Arabia, where even humans are treated with contempt? No chance.

Top 3 ways you can help end live export cruelty and agriculture’s impact on climate change

  1. When buying meat, always try to identify its source. If it came from another country – let alone another continent – refuse to buy it. Old-school butcher shops often rear and process their animals nearby, treating them better than any factory farm, and you can taste the difference.
  2. Lobby your MEP, especially with the upcoming elections front of mind. See if you can turn even one MEP against live exports (email a link to this article!). That could make a real difference.
  3. Meat-free alternatives are actually fab. There’s a lot of product development going into animal-free ‘meat’ that tastes as good as the real thing, with less saturated fat, growth hormones, antibiotics etc. Also, do you still drink cow’s milk? If so, you need to stop immediately. It’s just too weird. Hemp milk is awesome and there are some absolutely gorgeous oat and coconut/almond milks available widely. Take your breakfast cereal to the next level!

Learn more about EU agriculture, live export cruelty and GHG emissions from livestock…

Read the full report on the Guardian here.

Read more about the EU budget here.

Read more about Ireland’s GHG emissions from agriculture on the Irish Times here.

Cow photo, creative commons:

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Hemp absorbs 10 tons of CO2 per acre – let’s plant enough hemp to stop climate change


Don’t listen to climate change deniers

Whatever the deniers may claim, the devastating fires in California are a result of climate change. Carbon dioxide is the biggest problem in climate change. We produce it by burning coal, petrol and gas in electricity production and transportation. Agriculture is another big source of CO2, as are deforestation and cement production. The CO2 that’s released by human activities helps to warm up the atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect, and CO2 and other contributing gases, such as methane, are called greenhouse gases, GHGs. A warmer atmosphere has more energy, which unsettles weather patterns and causes more severe weather events. Hurricanes, droughts, forest fires, ice storms are all caused by our GHG emissions.

12 years to save the world

If we don’t curb the global rise in temperatures to 2 degrees C, we go past the tipping point and risk extinction as a species. At current rates, we’ll pass the 2C increase by 2030. We have 12 years to save the world.

We can stop climate change dead in its tracks

We emitted 53.5 gigatons of CO2 in 2017. Global emissions need to be 25% lower than this figure by 2030 in order to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Our planet actually steps up and absorbs about half of that, in oceans and forests (go you, Earth!). To absorb the rest, we’ll need to plant around 670 million acres of hemp. If that sounds like a lot, it actually isn’t. We need hemp growing on around 5% of agricultural land around the world. And because hemp thrives in poor soil (improving the soil in the process!), we can find new places to grow it. By planting enough hemp we can absorb all the CO2 that the human race produces, so we stop global warming dead. We can and will do this. will make this happen

Stay tuned to this blog for, a new planet-saving platform coming in 2019. Are you ready to help save planet Earth?



Malibu forest fire over LAX. Photo by Gary J Byrnes, 9 November, 2018.


Main sources of CO2 emissions:

Gigaton  = one billion metric tons

Agricultural land = 50 million square km

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