On Friday 28th January 2022, a Judge in the High Court in London decided to stop the Judicial Review against the UK government on the issue of factory farming. This is the first time that a government has been legally challenged for allowing intensive farming to cause animal welfare, health, and environmental problems.
The animal protection organisation Humane Being, founded in 2018 by Jane Tredgett, started a new campaign called Scrap Factory Farming. It was aimed to challenge the UK Government to end factory farming to prevent disease in people, protect the planet, and end the suffering of animals. After two years of planning and researching, they got permission to initiate the legal process, but after the first Hight Court hearing of 25th January 2022 where the judge listened to their arguments, she decided that the process should not continue.
In a tweet to their supporters, the campaigners said: “The Judge has, at this stage, refused permission to progress to a judicial review. Our legal team strongly disagree with the grounds & will be making an appeal. Thank you for your continued & amazing support. We’ll update you again soon.”
The lawyers representing the activists, including the prestigious Michael Mansfield QC, argued that the government continued unsafe farming practices despite scientists’ claims of links between pandemic diseases and factory farming. Jane Tredgett said to the Mirror: “Factory Farms pose a significant risk for the outbreak of increasingly deadly zoonotic diseases like bird or swine flu, with the potential to kill millions of people around the world.”
The majority of the UK public is against factory farming. In 2021, the vegan organisation Viva! surveyed 2000 Britons about their views on the industrial farming of animals, and the results showed that a monumental 9 in 10 British citizens want the British government to end factory farming immediately.
The Scrap Factory Farming campaign has managed to crowdfund at least £41,000 for legal fees via Crowdjustice.com, which states on its main page: “1000s of animals crammed into tiny, unhygienic spaces causes suffering to animals and ultimately to people. Factory farming puts us at risk of pandemics by spreading diseases from animals to people and by driving antibiotic resistance. It is also a leading contributor to the climate and environmental crises.” They are likely to need more funds to continue the appeal process.