Media release published at January 8, 2021

9 in 10 Britons want intensive farming methods BANNED

Release date: January 08 2021

  • Some 85 percent want urgent ban on factory farming
  • Large factory farms a ‘hotbed for spread and mutation of killer viruses’
  • H5N1 avian flu strain discovered in UK
  • 1 in 3 to slash their meat consumption or go vegan over Covid-19 fears

SOME 9 in 10 Britons want the Government to introduce an immediate ban on intensive farming methods amid concerns over killer viruses.

A new poll out today will reveal 85 percent want to see an end to so-called ‘factory farms’.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK adults was commissioned by the vegan charity Viva!

Factory farms see poultry, pigs, or cattle confined into tightly-packed indoor pens.

Around two-thirds of farmed animals are factory farmed worldwide every year – totalling some 50 billion animals.

Today 3 in 4 of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases such as coronavirus come from animals – mainly from factory farming and the trade in wildlife.

Taken together 57 zoonotic diseases were responsible for an estimated 2.6 billion cases of human illness and 4.4 million deaths in 2020.

Experts at the European Food Safety Agency agree that animals reared in high-stress environments such as factory farms are more likely to contract viral infections.

The Scientific task force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds states that outbreaks of highly pathogenic bird flu are typically associated with poultry farming.

Last month Defra confirmed a UK case of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu strain.

The poll also revealed some 31 percent of Britons are set to slash their meat consumption or go vegan in 2021 amid Covid-19 concerns.

Londoners are set to make the biggest change to their diets – with around 44 percent vowing to avoid animal products.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and COPD are the main underlying conditions making Covid-19 more likely to result in severe, life-threatening disease.

Experts agree a vegan diet can help people lose weight, reverse diabetes, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing their risk of severe Covid-19.

Viva! Director Juliet Gellatley said: “Experts agree that factory farming is one of the leading causes of the mutation and spread of killer viruses between animals and humans.

“Whitehall is playing Russian Roulette with the lives of millions of Britons by continuing to permit farmers to cram thousands of animals together in despicable conditions.

“Today the Great British Public has spoken. It’s time to end factory farming before it ends us.”

Senior Health Researcher Dr Justine Butler said: “Across the UK we are seeing outbreaks of avian flu in factory farms as well as backyard chickens. 

“The scientific evidence could not be clearer. When you farm animals intensively you risk increasing the chance of mutation and spread of dangerous viruses.” 


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Notes to editor:

  • Viva! is a registered charity 1037486
  • OnePoll surveyed 2,000 UK adults between 29/12/2020 and 04/01/2021. OnePoll is a member of the British Polling Council.
  • Of those that expressed a substantive positive or negative opinion, 85.24 percent agreed factory farming should be urgently banned in the UK. While 31.55 percent indicated they are set to eat less meat or go vegan in 2021.
  • Founded in 1994 and based in Bristol, Viva! campaigns for a vegan world because being vegan saves animals, protects the planet’s environment and our health.
  • Viva!’s supporters include Michael Mansfield QC, Lewis Hamilton, Martin Shaw, Dale Vince, Peter Egan, Heather Mills, Jenny Seagrove, Jerome Flynn, Hayley Mills, Wendy Turner-Webster, Benjamin Zephaniah, Gabrielle Aplin, Brian May and Rose Elliot.

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