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Read Soy No More: Breaking away from soy in UK pig and poultry farming, a new report researched and written by Feedback, Sustain, the Landworkers' Alliance, Pasture for Life and ourselves.

Models like the one presented in the report are incredibly useful tools when it comes to imagining what change might look like - it was a similar exercise that prompted us to found Hodmedod - but they shouldn't be read as predictions. Instead they're thought experiments based on the best available evidence and in our case, with boundaries set to help make best use of the time available. Be provoked, be moved to act - but don't imagine this is the last word! Read more on our blog...


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  • Industrial farming is a primary contributor to global warming, environmental damage and land-use change. While a lot of attention has been given to methane emissions from ruminants the environmental impacts of the global animal feed supply chain have been obscured, in particular, the role of soy overproduction to feed the industrial pig and poultry sector.

    In recent decades soy has become the primary protein source in livestock feed, and its overproduction has been the subject of scrutiny because of the role it plays in driving deforestation overseas in biodiverse regions such as the Amazon.

    This report shows how soy supply chain certification initiatives alone will never be effective in halting deforestation, and that there is an urgent need to reduce our soy demand if we are to take meaningful steps towards climate change mitigation and reversing biodiversity loss.

    For the UK, reducing soy demand necessitates an exploration of replacement protein sources for pig and poultry feed, as nearly 90% of the UK’s soy imports are used for animal feed – the majority of which is consumed by the industrial pig and poultry sector.

    Furthermore, because of the precarity and exposure to price volatility of relying on global commodity markets for animal feed, this report argues that transitioning to soy free alternatives could also support a more resilient and economically viable pig and poultry sector in the UK.

    In order to explore the feasibility of replacing soy with alternative feeds, this report models several different scenarios:

    • The first scenario models replacing soy in UK pig and poultry feed with home-grown legumes. If we were to keep production and consumption of pig and poultry feed the same as it currently is, our modelling demonstrates that UK total cropland for pig feed would need increasing by an estimated 60%, and for poultry feed by an estimated 78%. Within a context of increasing competition over land-use in the UK combined with the need to become more self-sufficient in food production this is not a realistic option.
    • The second scenario takes land-use into consideration, and demonstrates that if we were to replace soy with home-grown legumes without increasing total UK cropland area, then we would need to eat 44% less poultry and 41% less pork. However, with such a reduction of protein in our diets as a result of eating less meat, this would not leave enough room to increase production of plant-based proteins such as pulses which would be needed to supplement the loss of protein.
    • The third scenario not only takes land-use into consideration, but also food-feed competition. It explores what might be possible if current UK cropland area was prioritised for growing pulses for human consumption, and pig and poultry were fed on byproducts and food waste inedible for humans; such as heat treated food waste, insect feed, pasture, and co-products from pulse production.
    • 64 pages, paperback, full colour
    • Published by The Landworkers’ Alliance, Pasture for Life, Sustain and Hodmedod (2023)