05/02/2014 06:27 GMT | Updated 07/04/2014 06:59 BST

Where Have the Farm Animals Gone?

Last night was the official launch of my new book,Farmageddon. I was delighted that Compassion in World Farming's longest-standing patron, Joanna Lumley, spoke at the event, held at Daunt Books, in London.

Joanna said: "This is another 'inconvenient truth', it is something we wish we hadn't found out, but it is something we must all work to change. The subject matter is so important to the future of the planet, the future for people and animals."


With Farmageddon, I am questioning the current food and farming system. What it does, is beg the question: 'where have all the animals gone?'

Seemingly, without fuss or fanfare, farm animals have slowly disappeared from fields and moved into cramped barns or worse.

It's a sad reality that farming around the world has changed dramatically. Farmers were lured into buying into a system that wastes food, not makes it, by taking fish and grain that could be eaten by people and feeding it to animals who convert it inefficiently into meat and dairy products. The result? A lot of farmers went out of business. A vast amount of our countryside is being polluted. A lot of wildlife has suffered, without a natural habitat in which to live. And yes, a lot of farm animals have suffered and continue to do so.

I believe that the answer, at least in part, is consumer power. Every day, each of us can make the choice to create a kinder, saner food system through the culinary decisions that we take. Simple measures such as eating what we buy instead of wasting it, eating less but higher welfare meat. When consumers choose alternatives to industrial factory farming such as free-range, pasture-raised or organic produce then supermarkets and policymakers take note. We can all make a difference, and that's empowering.

I so hope thatFarmageddonproves to be a success - not because I wrote it or wish to be praised. But because it speaks of the reality of the true cost of 'cheap' meat. If you get a chance to read it, do let me know what you think.