203,191 of 250,000 signatures

Members of the European Parliament

Petition

Most European farm subsidies go towards supporting industrial farming that harms our health. As a European who pays for these subsidies (114 € annual euros is my share), I urge you to vote so that this money is invested in farming that is good for our health
 and for nature instead.

Why is this important?

Industrial agriculture is destroying nature, depleting water resources and fertile soil, and contributing to climate change [1]. This model of production uses massive amounts of artificial fertilisers, chemical pesticides, and antibiotics, which threaten our health through pollution and the spread of resistant “superbugs”. The system does not even work for farmers; over the last decades, millions of farms have disappeared across the EU. [2]. Finally, it puts the future of our food at risk, as farmers are ageing and new generations struggle to enter the sector. Only 5% of farmers are aged under 35 years. [3]

We must act urgently to restore a healthy relationship between farming, nature, and people; to make our farms more sustainable and resilient to a rapidly changing climate; and to safeguard future generations’ ability to farm and make a living from the land.

Our subsidised and export-oriented industrial agricultural system does not contribute to a healthy environment nor a sustainable and healthy livelihood for farmers who are faced with the choice of either intensifying to compete or having to quit farming: between 2007 and 2013, three million farms disappeared in Europe. [6]

The EU subsidises farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It takes up around 1/3 of the EU budget, nearly 60 billion euros of our tax money each year, or 114 euros per EU citizen per year. Currently most of this money is subsidising industrial farming, which contributes heavily to the environmental crisis: farmers get money based on how many hectares and/or animals they have, so the biggest farms get most of the money.

How can this change?

A different farming system is possible, one which works in harmony with nature and protects our climate, health, and precious natural resources, while producing healthy food and achieving decent livelihoods for farmers and workers [4]. We strongly believe that agroecological farming is the way forward, and so do experts and farmers across the world [5]. A Europe-wide transition to agroecology could not only tackle the pressing environmental crises, but also reconnect us with where our food comes from, and make rural areas more vibrant and resilient [6].

But to get there, the EU must stop funding industrial farming and instead support farmers to transition to agroecology. Now is the time to do this.

A reform of the CAP is now entering the crucial final stage. In the week of 19th-23rd October, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), our representatives, will vote on how to subsidise and regulate the farming sector for the next decade. We cannot afford to waste this opportunity to act! It is absolutely crucial that they adopt a position that enables the urgently-needed transition to agroecology, for the sake of young generations, of our farmers, and of us all.

We ask MEPs to ensure a better future for our food and farming by:

  1. Funding the transition to agroecological farming to support farmers who provide healthy food for our communities while caring for our environment and for the wellbeing of farm animals. At least half of the CAP budget should be invested to protect nature, biodiversity and the climate.
  2. Ending harmful subsidies, this means both stopping directly harmful subsidies, for example support for factory farms or unsustainable irrigation, and ensuring all subsidies given are tied to basic environmental and social conditions, including on reducing soil erosion, making space for nature on farms, or guaranteeing workers rights.
  3. Setting clear targets in the CAP, for example for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing pesticide use, to ensure every EU country and every farmer contributes fairly to the changes that are needed to tackle the current global crises.

References:

  1. European Environmental Agency, State of the Environment Report 2020, https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/soer-2020
  2. Eurostat: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Farms_and_farmland_in_the_European_Union_-_statistics#Farms_in_2016
  3. Eurostat: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?oldid=431368#Farms_managers_are_typically_male_and_relatively_old
  4. van der Ploeg et al. (2019). The economic potential of agroecology: Empirical evidence from Europe. & Poux & Aubert (2018). An agroecological Europe in 2050: multifunctional agriculture for healthy eating. Findings from the Ten Years For Agroecology (TYFA) modelling exercise. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335054821_An_agroecological_Europe_in_2050_multifunctional_agriculture_for_healthy_eating_Findings_from_the_Ten_Years_For_Agroecology_TYFA_modelling_exercise
  5. Including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems
  6. de Schutter, Olivier, “Agroecology and the Right to Food”, Report presented at the 16th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council [A/HRC/16/49], http://www.srfood.org/images/stories/pdf/officialreports/20110308_a-hrc-16-49_agroecology_en.pdf

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Please can you chip in?

After our MEPs vote on the EU’s future path for agriculture, negotiations begin with the European Council - the heads of government of EU countries. That will open up more opportunities for us to call for a green transition to sustainable agriculture – but we need resources to continue battles like these all the way through the legislative process.

To continue mobilising and putting pressure when and where it’s most needed, we need the stability and flexibility that only small regular donations from WeMove community members like yourself can provide.

Can you chip in each month and help the fight for good food and good farming?

* To make a one off donation, please untick the box titled "Become a sustaining, monthly contributor"

 
In front of a building in Brussels WeMove activists protest for sustainable agriculture

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