European Parliament agriculture experts call for more self-sufficiency in animal feeds

26 January 2011

Brussels, January 26 – The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee voted today on a report calling for European farmers to be given more support to grow their own feed crops and to reduce their dependency on imported animal feed.

Currently European livestock farming is dependent on imported soy as an animal feed, whose production is a major cause of deforestation and social conflict in South America.

Stanka Becheva, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "We welcome these efforts by the European Parliament to find a solution to our soy addiction. However some of the key elements of the original report have been watered down due to lobbying by agribusiness which doesn't want to change the current unsustainable system. We call on the European Parliament to opt for the strongest available Europe-wide measures to multiply protein production when they vote again in March."

Europe currently imports more than two thirds of its protein feed. New research launched by Friends of the Earth Europe yesterday [2] demonstrates that Europe's demand for soy will increase in the coming years, grabbing an additional five million hectares in Brazil alone by 2020.

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for the new Common Agriculture Policy to help European farmers swap imported soy animal feed for home-grown alternatives. [3]

Stanka Becheva continued: "Growing soy in South America to feed our farm animals causes massive environmental and social problems. We don't need to destroy the Amazon to feed our farm animals in Europe. Experience from different European countries show that alternative feeds, such as peas, beans, and clover, are viable and would have major environmental and economic advantages for farmers."



[1] European Parliament draft report 'The EU protein deficit: What solution for a longstanding problem?':

[2] 'From Forest to Fork – How cattle, soy and sugar are destroying Brazil's forests and damaging the climate' is available in English and Spanish here.

[3] ''Less soy, more legumes – how Europe can feed its animals without destroying the planet': see files.