Sustainable Livestock

Livestock have a key role to play in regenerative, mixed farming systems. We campaign for more sustainable and higher welfare practices to ensure livestock are part of the solution, not the problem, for climate, nature and health.


Project overview

Livestock that primarily live on pasture are an essential part of sustainable farming systems. They provide nutrient dense meat and milk, as well as sustainable fibres such as wool, from the grass and legume plants that would be inedible to humans.

Livestock production has received a lot of criticism in recent years. People are rightly concerned about the devastating impact of industrial farming, with animals often housed in cramped conditions and fed largely on grain which contributes significantly to deforestation and climate change. 

These farming systems must be phased out, which would see significant changes in our diets. We would shift away from intensively produced ‘cheap’ meat, particularly chicken and pork, and instead eat meat, such as beef and lamb, from mainly pasture-based systems, with occasional chicken and pork from much higher welfare systems. 

In contrast to their industrial counterparts, these high welfare, pasture-based systems can:

  • help to restore or maintain ecosystems;
  • build natural soil fertility;
  • provide habitats for biodiversity;
  • maintain cherished landscapes;
  • produce nutritious food from marginal land.

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As consumers, we have an important role to play in using our buying power to encourage more ethical and sustainable livestock production. We therefore need to differentiate between livestock that are part of the problem (primarily intensively reared and grain-fed) and high welfare livestock systems that can be a vital part of the solution to many of the crises we face today, including climate change, biodiversity decline and poor public health.


Photos by Jason Taylor and Patrick Barbour

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