Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Letter: Food safety body needs powers

Sir: David Gordon (letter, 31 January) replies to my letter of 27 January and points out that farming systems still exist which allow animals a reasonable life and appropriate food, and which also minimise environmental damage.

However there is insufficient land available for our present number of farm animals to be reared in the ways that Mr Gordon describes. Large intensive farms are therefore a major factor in soil erosion and desertification throughout the world. For example, in the United States, 85 per cent of topsoil loss is due to livestock ranching.

We can only feed the world's human population in an environmentally sustainable way if people in the West eat more vegetarian and vegan food. Instead we waste too many valuable crops by feeding them to animals. This wastes between 75 and 90 per cent of the protein and energy value.

In 1993 the "Worldwatch Report" said that "if we in the rich industrial nations do not eat less meat, the world will starve".