URGENT NEED FOR CHANGE
There is an urgent need for change in the direction of world agriculture
because of the rapid trends in the wrong direction that are currently
taking place. The so-called Green Revolution delivered a large increase
in agricultural production through the application of technology (scientific
plant breeding, chemical weedkillers, insecticides and fungicides etc.)
but it was achieved at a huge cost of pollution, damage to the environment
such as the destruction of natural forests, damage to human health,
and suffering to animals caused by intensive 'factory farming' methods.
In the western world the real financial cost has been disguised by governments'
willingness to load taxpayers instead of the farmer, the food industry
and the consumer. This is especially so with meat. The taxpayer foots
the bill for dealing with the consequent animal disease crises (BSE,
Foot & Mouth, TB etc.), food poisoning emergencies, pollution of
the natural environment and water supplies, the human health problems
caused or exacerbated by eating animal products (a burden on health
services), and direct subsidies on the production and processing of
meat and milk. It is high time that the consumers of meat and dairy
products paid at the till for the full cost of their production.
In spite of the acclaimed success of the 'Green Revolution' hunger is
as widespread in the world as it ever was, or worse. To deal with that
and the growing world population, experts propose, and are already embarked
upon, a 'Doubly Green Revolution', which will make full use of even
more 'advanced' technology such as the genetic engineering of crops
and animals. HIPPO believes that the hope they hold out is a false one
and that such methods will eventually lead to disaster. There is good
cause to doubt the credentials of those who are proclaiming it. They
are the servants and paid lackeys of huge multi-national businesses
whose primary interest is financial gain and not the welfare of the
world's poor and hungry as they often make out. World hunger for food
and land and the desire for better health can be met only by widespread
adoption of a vegetarian, preferably vegan, diet and vegan-organic food
production. This will of course be a gradual process but it must begin
WITH THE PLANET'S FUTURE
HIPPO insists that it is not necessary to gamble with the future of
our planet by increasing still further the pressures its environment
suffers from this sort of "progress". We need a different
concept of progress, one that puts before financial profits the health
of the global environment, the health of people, fairness in trade,
generosity in the distribution of the world's resources, and kindness
to animals. Instead of hastily applying potentially dangerous technology
we should look first at the way we make use of existing resources and
make changes that will reduce the demands we heap on this earth and
all its living organisms. There are a number of good organisations working
in the fields of nature conservation, environmental protection and fair
trade but HIPPO's particular concern is to change the way in which food
and the resources involved in the production of food (land, water and
energy) are utilised. This is a fundamental need that underlies those
other concerns. The reason why we consider this to be of vital importance
will become clear if you consider two basic facts:
- When food is
fed to livestock to produce meat and milk etc., 90% of it is wasted.
- More than 75%
of the agricultural land in Europe and the U.S.A. is used to grow
food for livestock. For example Soya is the biggest single agricultural
crop by far in the USA and 95% of it is fed to livestock. Unfortunately
the developing countries are rapidly moving in the same direction.
China for example has moved in a decade from being a net exporter
of cereals to being a massive importer, principally to feed its pigs,
and the Chinese now consume more meat per capita than do North Americans.
Africans produce and consume a fraction of the pulses that they did
thirty years ago. Their place is taken by the growing consumption
of animal foods resulting in the wholesale clearance of forests, soil
erosion and floods. What point is there in breeding threatened animal
species without tackling the very thing that threatens them - the
destruction of their natural habitats?
USING THE EARTH'S
Livestock production inevitably causes a huge waste of resources. If
a significant number of people in the world became vegetarian, or better
still vegan, there would be no need for the 'Doubly Green Revolution'.
There would be a surplus of food and there could be a return to more
natural, organic and extensive methods of producing it. Everyone could
be well fed. Forests could be restored, to be again the natural 'sinks'
for carbon dioxide. Methane production from animals and their manure
would be drastically cut, moderating the 'greenhouse effect' and eventually
halting the deterioration of the climate and the consequences of that.
Precious water resources would be conserved and kept clean. Wildlife
habitats could be protected and enhanced once the constant pressure
to extend the area of agricultural cultivation is ended. In relation
to the size of the problem and the scale of the genuine revolution needed
in world agricultural and dietary practices, HIPPO is a small organisation
but even the longest journey begins with the first step and we have
every confidence that we will grow. If you are not yet a vegetarian
we urge you become one, and if you are we call on you to give your maximum
personal support to HIPPO and/or other agencies of the international
vegetarian movement which is thankfully becoming stronger with each
day that passes.
HIPPO is involved in projects mostly in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi,
Nigeria, and Uganda), but also sends vegan food aid to Russia, Bosnia,
and Croatia. Requests for information about HIPPO's past and current
activities are welcome. Donations should be in the form of cheques made
payable to HIPPO, or details for direct payment to our bank account
will be provided on request.
Conact: HIPPO, Churchfield House, Weston under Penyard, ROSS-ON-WYE HR9 7PA ; firstname.lastname@example.org