EU reveals potential to cut dependency on soy imports

22 November 2018

The European Commission today presented its analysis on how farmers can increase the cultivation of plant proteins in the EU, in an attempt to cut reliance on destructive overseas soy imports for animal feed.

Reacting to the report, Adrian Bebb, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Europe has a problem with soy, and it's welcome news that the EU Commission is trying to tackle this. Our insatiable demand for meat and dairy is causing environmental and social collapse in parts of Latin America given over to industrially-produced soy to feed our factory farms."

The EU imports 18.5 million tonnes of soybean meal every year, of which 95% goes towards feeding animals for meat, eggs and dairy products. Producing this much soy has led to land grabs, rainforest clearances, and huge industrial monocultures in Latin America.

However, the study fails to address the root cause of the high demand for protein crops.

Adrian Bebb continued: "Supporting farmers in Europe to grow protein crops is a good start but doesn't solve the problem. Nine billion animals are reared every year in the EU - there is simply no sustainable way to feed this many mouths. Without cutting industrial animal production and slashing the number of animals we farm, we will simply move the problems of intensive soy production to the EU."

According to a released today by Friends of the Earth Europe, the only viable solution to fix the issue is to drastically reduce production and consumption of industrial meat and dairy products, diversify protein crops in the EU for human food, and support sustainable small-scale animal agriculture. Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for the current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to encourage farmers to grow protein crops as part of crop rotation. Monocultures of soy should not be supported.