Taxonomy Regulation: industrial livestock farming must be declared unsustainable
The Taxonomy Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 22 June 2020 and entered into force on 12 July 2020. It establishes the framework for the EU taxonomy by setting out four overarching conditions that an economic activity has to meet in order to qualify as environmentally sustainable. It will influence not just how financial institutions regard industrial livestock farming but how this industry is viewed in the overall sustainability and climate debates.
The draft delegated act does not in any way acknowledge that industrial livestock production harms the Regulation’s objectives on water, pollution and biodiversity. This is because the delegated act does not take into account the indirect environmental degradation caused by the production of cereals for animal feed destined to industrially reared livestock. This production is nearly always carried out intensively with monocultures relying on the massive use of agro-chemicals, leading to soil degradation, biodiversity loss, overuse and pollution of water, and air pollution. It is currently very difficult to ensure the “sustainable procurement of animal feed” because the existing certification schemes for soy have so far largely failed to halt the expansion of soy into pristine habitats and cereals are not generally covered by certification schemes.
Eurogroup for Animals takes the view that the delegated act’s section on livestock is out of step with the European Green Deal, including the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, and Council Conclusions on these, of July 2020.
Eurogroup for Animals is asking the Commission to amend the draft delegated act to make it clear that industrial livestock production causes significant harm to several of the Regulation’s environmental objectives and so cannot be regarded as a sustainable activity. Additionally, the delegated act’s livestock section should include the transition to a circular economy.