Backed by Friends of the Earth and introduced by Stoke-on-Trent South Labour MP Robert Flello, the Sustainable Livestock Bill is intended to reduce Britain’s dependence on animal feed grown in South America.
Swathes of Amazonian rainforest are cut down to create fields to grow animal feed crops such as soya, the majority of it genetically modified, destroying wildlife habitats and land belonging to indigenous peoples.
The Labour MP’s name was the second to be selected in the Private Members’ Ballot on 10 June – the ballot takes place each year, with the first 20 MPs selected entitled to introduce a bill of their choice for debate, although generally only the first six stand a chance of being passed into law.
“I was shocked to find out just how much a Sunday roast can cost our planet under the factory farming system,” Flello said. “I am determined to put this right by working with Friends of the Earth and other MPs across the House to lead the drive for planet-friendly farming that doesn’t destroy wildlife, rainforests and our climate.”
The news is the latest success in Friends of the Earth’s Fix the Food Chain campaign, which aims to encourage the government to rethink the way meat and dairy are produced, supporting low-impact farming at home instead of spending taxpayers’ money effectively to fund factory farms abroad.
If the bill becomes law it will commit the government to take account of the environmental damage wrought by the feed it buys from overseas, as well as promoting UK farming that is small-scale and local.
The second reading of the Sustainable Livestock Bill will take place on Friday 12 November. 300,000 people have already contacted their parliamentarians about the campaign, and 160 MPs have apparently pledged their support.