THE BLOG

The Fallacy of Old Macdonald

23/07/2015 14:36 BST | Updated 23/07/2016 10:59 BST

It's a myth peddled to children from an exceptionally young age; before they can walk or talk, with colourful picture books showing happy animals grazing by duck ponds in lush green fields. In these story books the farmer and his wife are a picture of health - their bonny children and a mischievous-looking dog at their sides.

They are wonderful places of laughter and fun, but sadly they are no more reflective of the average working farm than a Hollywood romantic comedy is of the average relationship.

Each year, 50 billion farm animals are processed in factory farms. But it's not a well-known fact. So here comes YOUR FARM - The Honest Farm Toy to show what life is really like down on the farm.

It's about time we stopped being 'creative' with the truth, put away the farm toys that represent little but a time of years gone by and see that animals raised on farms worthy of a Disney film are in the minority. Instead, two in every three farm animals across the world, live in misery - imprisoned in factories where they are routinely deprived of the freedoms that are so central to their welfare.

If we are to reconnect with our food, we need to know where it comes from and this is where YOUR FARM comes in.

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Not for Kids!

It's a boundary-pushing new toy that turns the iconic farm playset firmly on its head. Coupling quirky design with satire, this toy tells the story behind our food in a refreshingly honest and unique way.

Amongst the rows of tightly packed chickens, pigs and cows comes the paraphernalia of factory farming - from cages and antibiotics to soy-based feed. This lunch box-sized toy reveals the nightmarish reality that exists behind the closed barn doors. It may be a world away from the picturesque farm toys we all played with as kids, but sadly it's far closer to reality for most of the world's livestock.

Although for now YOUR FARM is just a prototype, the truth really is our greatest weapon in the fight against factory farming. Who knows, this could be the toy of the future.

If it's broke, fix it...

Despite the realism, there's a lighter side to the YOUR FARM experience.

You can choose to "fix the farm", freeing the cows, pigs and chickens from their tightly packed formations and unfolding the playset to reveal lush pasture and ample space for your animals to be, well, animals. This action is a powerful metaphor for the simple solution of fixing our broken food system and exposing the problems associated with industrial scale farming.

Thankfully, Britain still has a fair proportion of farms where animals are still allowed to do what nature intended; roam or graze on grass. But if the policy of intensification continues unchallenged, the only farms rearing animals on pasture will be tourist attractions.

Britain and Europe's farmers are still relative novices at the intensification game, but increasing amounts of agricultural policy is encouraging them to adopt dubious and controversial practices already common in the USA and China, amongst other countries.

Without a change of tack, mega-piggeries, mega-dairies, 'battery'-reared beef and genetically engineered crops - and animals - will soon be the norm.