Sustainable animal feed

Our new report, Feeding the animals that feed us, opens the urgently needed debate on how we can move away from feeding our farm animals grains and imported proteins, and promotes more sustainable alternatives such as increased grazing and use of home-grown feed.

Feeding the animals that feed us aims to kick-start a discussion about the necessary improvements needed in the way we feed our livestock in the UK. A trend towards intensive factory farming systems over the past 60 years has meant that cattle, chickens and pigs are now eating less grass and food waste and more grains and imported proteins like soya. This is a highly inefficient use of resources - the dependence on grain and soya imported from across the globe makes our food systems much less resilient and adds to the vulnerability and unsustainability of our food chain.

With the rising demand for meat and milk we are using ever more land and resources to feed farm animals - destroying rainforests and grasslands and contributing towards climate change in the process. Land-use change for the purposes of agriculture is one of the greatest threats facing the planet’s biodiversity and is a key driver of climate change.

With climate scientists, public health professionals and environmentalists all saying we need to eat less meat and dairy products on both health and climate-change grounds, we also need to examine how the meat we eat can be produced more sustainably. Not all meat production systems have an equal impact; therefore the sustainability of our future food systems will depend not just on how much meat we eat, but also what we feed our animals.

You can support this area of our work, and all our other important campaigns, by becoming a member of the Soil Association or by making a donation.