426 pages, 1 b/w illustration
Farm animals have been disappearing from our fields as the production of food has become a global industry. We no longer know for certain what is entering the food chain and what we are eating – as the UK horsemeat scandal demonstrated. We are reaching a tipping point as the farming revolution threatens our countryside, health and the quality of our food wherever we live in the world.
- Our health is under threat: half of all antibiotics used worldwide (rising to 80 per cent in US) are routinely given to industrially farmed animals, contributing to the emergence of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs
- Wildlife is being systematically destroyed: bees are now trucked across the States (and even airfreighted from Australia) to pollinate the fruit trees in the vast orchards of California, where a chemical assault has decimated the wild insect population
- Fresh fish are being hoovered from the oceans: fish that could feed local populations are being turned into fishmeal for farmed fish, chickens and pigs thousands of miles away
- Cereals that could feed billions of people are being given to animals: soya and grain that could nourish the world's poorest, are now grown increasingly as animal fodder
- Epidemic waste underpins the mega-farming model: while food prices rocket, surplus food is thrown away
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat is a fascinating and terrifying investigative journey behind the closed doors of a runaway industry across the world – from the UK, Europe and the USA, to China, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. It is both a wake-up call to change our current food production and eating practices and an attempt to find a way to a better farming future.
“Lymbery brings to this essential subject the perspective of a seasoned campaigner – he is informed enough to be appalled, and moderate enough to persuade us to take responsibility for the system that feeds us”
– Guardian Book of the Week
"This eye-opening book, urging a massive rethink of how we raise livestock and how we feed the world, deserves global recognition"
– Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
"A devastating indictment of cheap meat and factory farming. Don't turn away: it demands reading and deserves the widest possible audience"
– Joanna Lumley
"Offers the kind of realistic and compassionate solutions on which our prospects for a truly sustainable world depend"
– Jonathon Porritt
"This incredibly important book should be read by anyone who cares about people, the planet, and particularly, animals"
– Jilly Cooper
"This meaty account makes a distinctive and important contribution, eschewing the narrowly domestic focus of many of its predecessors in favour of a global investigation [...] An engaging read – and it also gives a full enough picture of the situation in the UK to preclude any smugness on the part of the British reader. Anyone after a realistic account of our global food chain, and the changes necessary for a sustainable future, will find much to get their teeth into here"
– Felicity Cloake, New Statesman
"There's no end to techno-idiocy in pursuit of profit. But far more concerning is Lymbery's contention that the wastefulness of feeding human-edible plants and fish to animals is not just absurd but catastrophic. The main reason for hacking down the remaining South American forest is to grow soy to feed the pigs and chickens of China"
– Evening Standard
"Farmageddon is an excellent book: a fine overview of what's gone wrong, with case histories and possible solutions that give cause for hope"
– Literary Review
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Philip Lymbery is the CEO of leading international farm animal welfare organization, Compassion in World Farming and a prominent commentator on the effects of industrial farming. Isabel Oakeshott is Political Editor at the Sunday Times and commentator on BBC One's Sunday Politics show.