Majority of European crops feeding animals and cars, not people
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Majority of European crops feeding animals and cars, not people

Brussels, 16 October 2020 – The vast majority of European crop production is used to feed animals and create biofuels, rather than feeding people, new analysis has found. At the same time, Europe is over-producing meat and dairy, with EU production of beef, pork and poultry 4%, 16% and 8% higher than consumption respectively, and production of dairy 14% higher than consumption.

The analysis found that in, 2018/2019, 62% of all cereal crops were used to feed animals and 12% used in industry and as biofuel, with only 23% going to feed people. A striking 88% of soy and 53% of protein-rich pulses were also used for animal feed.

This imbalance in production and consumption is driven by a focus on crops for profit, not food for people, said Greenpeace. Greenpeace is calling on the EU to refocus its food and farming policy to prioritise local production of the kind of food Europe needs, farmed in a way that guarantees a fair price for farmers, affordable and healthy food for people, and protects the environment.

Greenpeace EU agriculture and forest campaigner Sini Eräjää said: “EU leaders talk big about food security, but they back policies that overproduce meat, rely on massive soy imports and burn food as fuel. European farmers can produce enough healthy, affordable food for Europeans, but now they’re being squeezed to do bulk production to supply export markets. We need a food and farming policy that ensures farmers make a good living, people can afford healthy food, and that nature doesn’t suffer in the process – the current plans sacrifice all three in favour of corporate profits.”

The European Parliament will vote on the EU’s common agricultural policy in its plenary next week. The latest compromises struck by the major parties, EPP, S&D and Renew Europe, fail to address the disproportionate support given to industrial animal farming and feed production, and include no measures to limit public spending on factory farming. The EU is also currently debating new free trade agreements such as EU-Mercosur, that would only further encourage the industrialisation of animal farming and the focus on bulk production for exports.


Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU agriculture and forest campaigner: +32 (0)476 97 59 60,

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 19 11,

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