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New report on pollution caused by meat production in the US highlights urgent need for action

Press Release   •   Aug 09, 2017 12:07 BST

Extinction and Livestock Conference: 5 and 6 October 2017 Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London #extinction17

Organisers of landmark food and farming conference welcome report

A new report into pollution caused by the livestock industry highlights the need to bring together diverse interests to work together to find solutions before it’s too late, say the organisers of a landmark food and farming conference being held to identify solutions to the problem.

The call follows the release of a new report this week by environmental campaigners Mighty Earth into widespread manure and fertilizer pollution of the Gulf of Mexico in the US by meat companies. The campaign group says that much of the pollution comes from fertilizer used on the vast quantities of corn and soy used to raise meat animals which has run off into waterways and caused one of the largest 'dead zones' on record in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming, who spent several years investigating the impact of livestock production on people, animals and the planet for his books ‘Farmageddon’ and ‘Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were’ (extract available to view at, says: “This excellent report from Mighty Earth clearly demonstrates why urgent action is needed to stop the devastating effects of livestock production on the environment, people and animals, before it’s too late.

“It mirrors the results of my own investigation into pollution in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the livestock industry where I saw for myself the impact these ‘dead zones’ have on marine life and the region's seafood industry.

“Our hunger for cheap meat from animals fed on mass-produced corn grown in chemical-laced fields is poisoning our world and driving out precious species, large and small.

“That’s why Compassion in World Farming has teamed up with WWF to organise the landmark Extinction Conference where people with diverse interests from all over the world will come together to discuss solutions to fix our broken and unsustainable food systems.

“We would urge anyone with an interest in food, farming, conservation, climate change and health to join us at the conference to have their say on how we can achieve more sustainable food systems that work for people, animals and the future of our planet.”

The Mighty Earth report (available to read at ) maps the supply chains of the top meat and feed companies, and overlays it with data showing elevated nitrate concentrations in waterways that are experiencing high levels of fertilizer pollution. It also maps where these supply chains are driving destruction of natural grasslands, putting new regions at risk for fertilizer pollution.

Organised by Compassion in World Farming, WWF, Bird Life International, the University of Winchester, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Extinction Conference will bring together diverse interests – such as conservation, biodiversity, agriculture, land and water use, environment, climate change, forests, ethics, food policy, production, security and business – and act as a catalyst for future collaboration and solution development.

Key confirmed speakers at the conference include: World Food Prize Winner, Hans Herren; Dr Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Senior Adviser for the Sustainable Development in the European Policy Strategy Center (EPSC) and former EC Director General for Environment (2009-2014), Karl Falkenberg; bee expert, Professor Dave Goulson, of the University of Sussex; award-winning author, Dr Carl Safina; Britain’s best-loved environmentalist Jonathan Porritt; and Professor Frank Hu of Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

For more information on the conference and to register visit

Media contact - for further information or to interview a spokesperson please contact the Compassion in World Farming media team on 01483 521618 -

Notes to editors:

  1. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe in the US, China and South Africa.
  2. Any media wishing to request a media pass to attend the Extinction conference should email
  3. You can view footage of Philip Lymbery’s ‘Dead Zone - The Downstream Disaster’ investigation into links between livestock production and pollution in the Gulf of Mexico at