Southend MP gets a meaty message

For immediate release: Wednesday 3rd November 2010

At a public meeting in Southend last night local residents demanded that James Duddridge MP take urgent action to tackle the environmental, health and social impacts of our livestock industry by backing a new law to protect rainforests in South America and support planet-friendly farming in the UK.

Delegates at the meeting heard that the Sustainable Livestock Bill, which has its Second reading on 12thNovember, should see the Government taking action to support UK farmers to produce planet-friendly meat and dairy and help consumers choose healthier meat-based diets.

South East Essex Friends of the Earth arranged the public meeting to discuss the issue, featuring guest speakers and a lively debate on what needs to change.

Local MP James Duddridge was invited but declined to attend. He sent a statement instead, saying

“Government understands the need to protect the environment for future generations and to make our economy more environmentally sustainable. Much more is needed to be done in order to support our farming industry and create a sustainable food supply. The Government will be considering the proposals of this Bill once it has been published before making any decision.”

Following the presentations and the full debate which followed, Co-ordinator of South East Essex Friends of the Earth, Dennis Walker, said:

“Rochford and Southend East constituents want James Duddridge to stand up for wildlife, farmers and consumers by supporting this Bill. He and his Government must stop shirking responsibility and instead grab the opportunity for a new law that could bring about the action he agrees is needed.

“Mr Duddridge’s constituents are massively concerned that the food on their plates is harming tropical forests, communities and even their health. At our meeting it was clear that local people want him to support the Bill and rainforest-free farming instead of damaging factory farms.”

Tens of thousands of people around the country have joined Friends of the Earth’s MOOvement for rainforest-free food and asked the Government to vote for the new Sustainable Livestock Bill.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. Rochford and Southend East constituents will be writing to James Duddridge after the meeting asking him to support planet-friendly farming. They have already written to ask him to support the Bill.
  2. For more information on the environmental and social impacts of the intensive livestock sector, see Friends of the Earth’s What’s feeding our food? report: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/livestock_impacts.pdf
  3. Switching to diets that contain no more than three meat meals each week could prevent around 45,000 early deaths and save the NHS £1.2 billion each year – as well as helping to tackle climate change and curb deforestation, according to a Friends of the Earth report Healthy Planet Eating. The lower-meat diets analysed in Healthy Planet Eating cut diseases and deaths because they contain less fat from meat, less salt from processed meat and more healthy fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates.
  4. Robert Flello MP tabled the Sustainable Livestock Bill in June 2010: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefing_notes/livestock_bill.pdf
  5. For more information on Friends of the Earth’s MOOvement see http://www.jointheMOOvement.com
  6. Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. Over 90 per cent of our income comes from individuals so we rely on donations to continue our vital work. For further information visit http://www.foe.co.uk
  7. A photo of some of the attendees of the meeting is available for publication with this story only at http://www.seefoe.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/PlanetFriendlyFarming.jpg
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