Farmageddon Strips Rosy Myths From 21st-Century Food: London Salon February 20

Sunday Times lead graphic for co-author review

Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat exposes a worldwide crisis in mega-farming. (Graphic from Sunday Times review by coauthor.) The authors, Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott, believe that the increasingly globalized food production industry threatens the quality of what we eat, our health, and the very land we live on. They say people now have no idea what is entering the food chain or what we are actually consuming.

“Goodbye birds. Goodbye butterflies. Hello… farmageddon. No wildlife can be seen at today’s mega-farms; just slime, smog, and sewage,” Oakeshott said in the January 19 Sunday Times.

From mid-January’s Amazon review:

• Our health is under threat: half of all antibiotics used worldwide (rising to 80% in the 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 [vacuumed] 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.

Front cover of the book "Farmageddon"

Farmageddon 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,” the Guardian said in naming Farmageddon Book of the Week, “informed enough to be appalled, and moderate enough to persuade us to take responsibility for the system that feeds us.”

On Thursday, February 20, from 6:00 to 7:30, the authors will appear at 50 Bedford Square in London at an open Bloomsbury Institute salon to discuss their work. The cost is £10, £6 for students. Follow the link for reservations.

A lifelong wildlife enthusiast and resident of rural Hampshire, Lymbery is a prominent spokesman on the effects of industrial farming and CEO of the leading international farm animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming. Oakeshott is Political Editor at the Sunday Times and commentator on BBC One’s Sunday Politics show.

Joanna Lumley, activist actress who stars in the Martin Scorsese crime drama The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, and a longtime supporter of Lymbery, has called the book “a devastating indictment of cheap meat and factory farming.” At last May’s official book launch, she added:

“This is another ‘inconvenient truth.’ It is something we wish we hadn’t found out, but it is something we must all work to change. The subject matter is so important to the future of the planet, the future for people and animals…. Don’t turn away: it demands reading and deserves the widest possible audience.”

After the book launch, co-author Lymbery wrote in the Huffington Post:

“I believe that the answer, at least in part, is consumer power. Every day, each of us can make the choice to create a kinder, saner food system through the culinary decisions that we take. Simple measures such as eating what we buy instead of wasting it, eating less but higher-welfare meat. When consumers choose alternatives to industrial factory farming such as free-range, pasture-raised, or organic produce, then supermarkets and policymakers take note. We can all make a difference, and that’s empowering.”

Lymbery will also speak at the Oxford Literary Festival in March. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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