Stop Poison Poultry

Stop Poison Poultry

Wildlife, rivers and farmers in Latin America are being poisoned by toxic pesticides used to grow industrial feed for intensive poultry. This poisoning must stop.

What's the issue?

Chicken is the UK's favourite meat. We farm a billion birds each year. Almost all of them are housed in industrial units and fed a diet of imported soya.

This soya is sourced from Latin America, primarily Brazil, where it is grown using toxic pesticides. In recent decades, Brazil has become the global epicentre of both soya production and pesticide use, and scientists are now sounding the alarm.

People expect the food on supermarket shelves to be free from environmental harm. Yet bees, fish, aquatic organisms, macaws, tapirs, birds of prey and bats are among the wild animals being put at risk.

Pesticide use in Brazil has increased by 900 %, since 1990

Who is responsible and what can be done?

Many of the pesticides applied to soya crops in Brazil would be illegal to use in the UK or EU, in recognition of their highly hazardous nature and potential for causing harm to the environment and human health.

Our investigation found that leading British supermarkets are failing to adequately monitor pesticide use in their soya supply chain - they simply don't have a clue which chemicals are being used. As a result, they are failing to take appropriate steps to prevent the potential harms that these pesticides cause to wildlife and farmers.

While retailers have been taking commendable steps to eliminate deforestation and land-conversion associated with animal feed, pesticide use remains a toxic blind spot.

What can retailers do?

The British public expect foods on supermarket shelves, especially own-brand products, to be free from significant environmental or social harms. But they are being let down. 

Action is needed along the UK supply chain – by traders, feed manufacturers, poultry processors and Government policymakers. But there is a key role for retailers, both in setting an ambitious aim and in building momentum towards delivery.

Our report sets out exactly what retailers can do to phase out highly hazardous pesticides from their soya supply chains.

What can policymakers do?

The UK Government has a critically important role to play in addressing the numerous harms that pesticides cause.

As a minimum, the UK Government should prohibit companies operating in the UK from selling highly hazardous pesticides abroad. This is unethical and dangerous.

For full details on what Government action is required right now, please read our report 'Stop Poison Poultry'.

Modelling an agroecological future

Recent modelling shows us that a transition to agroecology in the UK is possible and that it could provide a sufficient and healthy diet to a growing population using ecological farming - without the use of pesticides.  

The reports show how this method of farming can, not only feed the population without relying on pesticides, but also tackle the growing issues of climate impacts and wildlife decline.

Peak Poultry

The Soil Association is calling for Peak Poultry - We want the Government to act now to ensure UK consumption and production of poultry peaks within the next 12 months. Read more in our recent report.

Supporting farmers to source alternative feed for livestock

Programmes such as Innovative Farmers enables farmers to trial solutions to their most pressing problems, without the use of pesticides. For example, Soil Association set up a field lab in partnership with Horizon 2020 project OK-Net EcoFeed looking at the production and supply of feed for monogastric livestock.

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