In November 2010 Cheltenham Friends of the Earth decided the support the Sustainable Livestock Bill. The bill was introduced because animals in British factory farms are fed soy grown by destroying forests and other natural habitats in South America. It required the Secretary of State to introduce a strategy – an action plan – to improve the sustainability of livestock farming and the consumption of livestock produce – how we produce meat and dairy and how much we eat. The Bill was proposed by Robert Flello MP, and was prioritised for Parliamentary time, which meant that there was a real chance of the aim of the Bill becoming law. Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham was already a co-sponsor of the Bill, but we decided that we should show our support to raise public awareness and maybe influence other MPs who were not so supportive.
Head office offered to send us some cardboard animal masks and lend us some cow costumes, but we thought that it would be more fun to borrow some real live dairy cattle from a local farmer.
The press were notified and at the arranged time some nervous group members, and Martin Horwood MP, were introduced to the dairy herd.
The event was great fun, and the pictures of Martin with the cows and the story made the front page of the Gloucestershire Echo.
Unfortunately the Bill was ‘talked out’ at its second reading, and did not become law. Despite this the profile of the issue has been raised, and we hope that the MOOvement will continue to put pressure on the Government to address the problem.
Cheltenham FoE are very grateful to Ben Pullen (and his cows) at Home Farm in Churchdown for his support with this campaign.
We plan to be involved with the "Fix the Food Chain" campaign during 2011. For more "Fix the Food Chain" information contact us or come along to our next meeting.