News Blog Articles Safe calls on WHO for global leadership on factory farming
Safe calls on WHO for global leadership on factory farming

Safe calls on WHO for global leadership on factory farming

July 18th, 2017

New Zealand’s appetite for animal products coupled with intensive animal  agriculture (or factory farming) has become a hefty burden for the  country – and worldwide. SAFE, New Zealand’s leading animal advocacy  organisation, is calling for urgent solutions.

SAFE has written to the Director General of the World Health  Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Region asking for global leadership  on healthy nutrition, including actively supporting nations like New  Zealand in developing responsible, evidence-based policies to improve  public health.


“Unprecedented and rising levels of industrial animal farming in New  Zealand and across the region are undermining the WHO’s mandate.”

the letter states.  “As a catalyst and advocate for action at all  levels, we implore the WHO to put overconsumption of animal products and  the intensification of animal agriculture on the agenda as the key  health issue of public concern.”

In the past, the WHO has confronted tobacco companies for harming human  health. “We must now be bold and prioritise health and the environment  before it’s too late,” said Jasmijn de Boo, SAFE CEO. “Factory farming  and overconsumption of animal products must become things of the past.”

Factory farming has become big business in New Zealand with well over  one hundred million animals confined in factory farms each year. These  industries and those they influence, place profits above the health of  Kiwis. “Focus on low overheads and heavily industrialised production has  resulted in severely compromised animal welfare,” said de Boo. “Kiwis  ultimately pay the price for these low-cost goods – with their health.”

Unhealthy diets that are high in animal products and lacking in fruit  and vegetables contribute to disease, which can mean an early grave for  Kiwis. Due to a diet filled with saturated fat, sodium and not enough  dietary fibre, it’s no wonder that diet is the top risk factor  contributing to ‘health loss’.

Less than half (41%) of New Zealand adults eat the recommended amount of  fruit and vegetables, and current guidelines are not aligned with new  research which recommends eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables  to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and early death. New Zealand’s  Ministry of Health currently recommends only three servings of  vegetables and two servings of fruit.

Despite a wealth of research demonstrating the merits of following a  whole food plant-based diet, the Ministry of Health and other health  organisations fall short of adequately sharing this vital, lifesaving  information with the public – keeping Kiwis from making informed,  healthy, choices about what to eat.

Most of us in New Zealand are overweight (34%) or obese (30%), and as a  nation we are paying a heavy toll for all the extra weight we are  carrying. A high body mass index (BMI) has overtaken smoking as the  leading risk factor for health loss, including due to the increased risk  of developing type 2 diabetes.

“This wouldn’t be the case if a whole food plant-based diet was promoted  as the preferred diet,” said de Boo. “I encourage others to join us and  put public health and the environment before profit.”

To read the letter to the WHO, or learn more about how to transition to a  plant-based diet, visit SAFE’s website, Not only are  plant-based diets great for our health, they are kinder on the planet  and to animals.


Donate today

Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.