Knowledge for better food systems

IEEP’s report: Towards an integrated approach to livestock farming, sustainable diets and the environment: challenges for the Common Agricultural Policy and the UK

This report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and commissioned by UK’s Eating Better Alliance looks at future policies towards livestock farming and trade in the UK and EU.

It concludes that livestock and farming policies should support a shift to healthy sustainable diets and develop more coherent approaches to environmental objectives such as climate change, protecting nature and high animal welfare. It finds that livestock production benefits from considerable financial support under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

When first commissioned, the report was intended to inform the forthcoming mid-term review of CAP, however, in light of Brexit in the UK, Eating Better argues in the foreword of the report that there is further opportunity to consider how the UK’s agricultural support mechanisms can evolve post CAP to ensure that public money delivers public goods for public health, environmental enhancement and mitigating climate change.

The report specifically recommends that future models of support must:

  • Factor in likely and desirable changes to diets (including potentially lower meat consumption in Europe);
  • Incentivise the contribution agriculture and livestock sectors in particular will need to make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs); and
  • Distinguish better between livestock farming types which bring environmental and animal welfare benefits and those which do not.

This applies at a European level, but also more imminently in the UK where a new agricultural policy and trade agreements will be needed following Brexit.

Read the full report here and see an associated blog-post by Eating Better here.

(NB. Eating Better is now developing a briefing paper that sets out Eating Better’s policy more specifically - in consultation with our alliance organisations and other stakeholders).

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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