Exploring Policy Options for More Sustainable Livestock and Feed Production

AUTHORS: Justin Bartley-Kaley Hart-Vicki Swales

This report has been commissioned by Friends of the Earth to provide evidence for a new campaign on the environmental and social impacts of the livestock sector, entitled ‘What’s feeding our food?’. An overarching objective of the study is to explore the relationship between livestock and their consumption of unsustainably produced feed, principally soya imports from South America where recent expansion of production has been implicated in significant deforestation.

The report seeks to establish the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on the intensity of livestock and feed production in the UK, with reference to the dairy, sheep, beef, pigs and poultry sectors. It explores the interaction of different types of livestock production, their consumption of feed, particularly where this involves imports of feed such as soya, and the environmental impacts of such production systems, both locally and globally. It then considers possible policy options for promoting more sustainable forms of livestock production in the UK, but also, in principle, elsewhere in order to reduce the overall environmental impact of the livestock sector globally.

Policy options for reducing the environmental impacts of UK livestock production are considered in relation to the following key areas:

  • Trade policy and the WTO
  • Options relating to the Current CAP
  • Longer term CAP reform options
  • Options to reduce consumption of livestock products and influence consumer behaviour
  • Research and development to promote sustainable livestock and feed production

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