A coalition of animal protection and environmental groups is calling on the World Bank to phase out its financial support for large-scale industrial animal farming operations, as they allege more than $1.6bn was provided for industrial farming projects between 2017 and 2023.

The coalition will be signing a letter to Ajay Banga, the World Bank’s president, for the bank’s spring meeting later in April 2024, saying the organisation must acknowledge that industrial farming is a “major contributor to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss” and phase out the funding.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, is owned by 186 member countries, and last June it approved a $47.3m loan to the Chinese company Guangxi Yangxiang providing capital for four multistorey industrial pig-rearing complexes and a feed mill. Other IFC-funded projects include intensive chicken production in Uganda and India, pig factory farming in Ecuador and intensive dairy production in Pakistan. 

Kelly McNamara, a senior research and policy analyst at Friends of the Earth US, one of the organisations of the coalition, said to the Guardian,Expanding industrial livestock production is a threat to climate, sustainable development and food security.”  Peter Stevenson, chief policy adviser at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), another coalition member, said: “I’m appalled by some of these developments, which have limited space and barren conditions. They are not just damaging for animal welfare, but also for food security and the environment.”

The banking sector is supporting animal agriculture on a big scale. A new report titled “STILL BUTCHERING THE PLANET. The big-name financiers bankrolling livestock corporations and climate change – 2024 update”, produced by Feedback, shows global meat production rose 9% between 2015 and 2021, while dairy production increased 13% in that time. Over almost the same period, 2015 to 2022, financiers provided the world’s top 55 industrial animal agriculture companies with average annual credit injections of $77bn.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.