Colin Campbell PhD | VegSource Interactive, Inc.

New World Bank Position on Livestock
by Colin Campbell, PhD

May 29, 2002 - Here is a brief summary that I just received on a very exciting development at the World Bank. I had spent several years working on this project with a group at the Bank who were interested in changing the Bank's policy of funding big projects for developing livestock feedlots in developing countries (lectures, working paper--attached, and securing other speakers for them).

The progress was slow and, at times, reversed.

Now, there seems to be a firm new policy at the Bank and I am delighted. (The real credit for this should go to a couple of nameless guys at the Bank who took professional risks to invite me and others to become involved.) What made this project much more possible were the earlier publications of John Robbins, Les Brown at the World Watch Institute, and others.

So, occasionally, it seems that there is progress in this field and I don't mind publicizing it! The World Bank should be congratulated on their courage to establish this new policy.

I think that we can all take heart that we are heard from time to time. The paper that I and my colleagues prepared for the Bank in their deliberations (and similar groups at Harvard and Johns Hopkins) is linked below.

Summary of New World Bank Strategy

The latest livestock strategy published by the World Bank can be viewed at Livestock Stragegy.

It involves some rather significant new directions for the Bank.

While the publication came out in late 2001, last week there was an internal meeting in the Bank to "launch" the strategy, and the following points in the strategy were highlighted:

  • The Bank will not finance large-scale commercial, grain-fed feedlot systems, including milk, pork, and poultry.
  • The Bank used to see for itself a role in supporting increased meat production, but no longer.
  • The Bank is not happy with the impacts of the "livestock revolution" on environment and equity.
  • The 4 main challenges for the Bank in the livestock sector are poverty reduction, environmental management, food safety, and food security.
  • Critical environmental problems are nutrient loading from industrial systems, and deforestation.
  • A new offshoot in environmental management is animal welfare, about which the Bank will have to start a dialogue with concerned groups. (***Sounds like an invitation for some of you to get in touch with relevant Bank people!***)
  • An "increasingly important issue" is the phase-out of poultry batteries and sow crates.

The Bank should support subsidies to improve animal welfare.