Press release

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4th November 2009

Yesterday, 3rd November 2009, the director of NEIC (Nutrition Ecology International Center), Dr. Massimo Tettamanti, together with the center's spokeswoman Dr. Marina Berati, put the petition asking for the abolition of European Union funding for the livestock and fishing industries into the hands of the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament. With 23thousand signatures, the petition had been signed by people from all the EU member states.

Available in 5 languages and distributed throughout Europe, the text of the petition highlights the fact that the tax money from European citizens subsidizes ill-considered production choices, with great direct and indirect negative impact on human health, the environment and world economy. The European citizens who have signed the petition therefore "ask for an end to CAP funding for the livestock and fishing industries, in order to avoid the problems mentioned above and to promote instead the consumption of healthy plant-based foods with far less environmental impact, thus leading to a diminished fiscal drag at European level."

The President of the Petitions Committee received the petition with great interest, stating that the European Parliament will certainly examine this petition signed by so many people from all over Europe, and that, despite being an ambitious proposal and one which will be difficult to implement, the topic is of great social importance, so the petition will in any case provide the Parliament with a stimulus for discussing the issue.

A chemist with a doctorate in Environmental Chemistry, Dr. Tettamanti stated: "There is an ever-increasing amount of scientific evidence demonstrating the massive environmental impact of factory farming from every standpoint, especially in terms of the output of greenhouse gases, a greater impact than any other production sector. We cannot continue to use public money to incentivate such a polluting sector; the EU has a duty to protect the environment and the health of its citizens, rather than taxing them to finance that very sector."

Various personalities have lent their support to the petition:

Professor Margherita Hack, astrophysicist, Italy: "I consider the campaign 'Stop EU subsidies to livestock industry' an extremely important one. Factory farms are a major cause of pollution, both in terms of methane emission from such a great concentration of animals, and increasing destruction of forests to make room for livestock industry."

Jens Holm, former Member of the European Parliament, Sweden: "I fully support the NEIC petition. We should abolish meat subsidies; let meat bear its own environmental costs. Let us build the foundation of an environmentally friendly and sustainable food consumption".

Julia "Butterfly" Hill, renowned environmentalist, USA: "I am a huge advocate for humans lightening our ecological footprint on this planet, so that we might leave a better world than we have inherited. It is a profound waste of hard-earned tax dollars to subsidize animals for the food industry."

Dr. Mario Tozzi, geologist, First Researcher with the Italian National Council of Research, Italy: "Factory farming is one of the activities with the greatest impact on the environment of planet Earth. In the world today, there are more than one billion two hundred million cattle requiring industrial quantities of cereals and water, infrastructure and drugs, all of which has a high impact on the environment".

An increasing number of experts are now confirming that one of the most powerful ways to protect the environment is to change the way we eat, returning to more traditional eating patterns, and drastically reducing our consumption of meat and other animal derived foods (such as milk and eggs), whose production is extremely wasteful in terms of resources (land, energy, water) and in terms of the pollutants emitted (greenhouse gases, chemicals and highly contaminating animal waste).

In this situation, it is anachronistic and unacceptable that the EU and the Member States pay the livestock industry such a high level of subsidies, thus incentivating the consumption of foods with an extremely high environmental impact, which are already consumed in excess, against every guideline set by the national and international health institutions.

Dr. Marina Berati concludes: "With the petition we have just delivered, we propose to invert this self-destructive trend, putting an end to every kind of subsidy, whether it be for farming, fishing or the cultivation of feed for factory farmed animals. Together with the 23thousand signatures representing the wishes of the same number of citizens from all over Europe, we have also handed over a dossier and other information on the issue, materials which we will also send to the European Commission, hoping that the institutions will seriously consider this petition, supported by so many citizens".

Press release by:
NEIC - Nutrition Ecology International Center -