LONDON, March 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A coalition of MPs has today urged the Government to outlaw UK factory farming in a bid to end the suffering of billions of animals every year.

An Early Day Motion, signed by 16 cross-party MPs from Labour, the SNP, the Green Party, and the Liberal Democrats, calls for an end to intensive factory farming methods.

The motion is inspired by vegan charity Viva!.

Factory farming is responsible for mass animal suffering, the rise of antimicrobial resistance, and the spread of potentially lethal diseases, the MPs warned.

In the UK, there are 1,674 operational factory farms, with almost 800 of those classed as megafarms.

As a result some one billion animals in the UK are exposed to factory farming methods each year.

Tabled by the SNP's Dr Lisa Cameron, the motion raises concerns about the extreme overcrowding of animals including poultry and pigs, and the confinement of pregnant sows in farrowing crates.

Routine mutilation of egg-laying hens and piglets, and the zero grazing of dairy cows are also methods associated with factory farming.

The MPs warned that three in four of the world's new or emerging diseases reportedly come from animals, with factory farms providing an ideal environment for these diseases to thrive.

They urged the Government to listen to the British public, with polling in January finding some 9 in 10 Britons want a ban due to concerns of the spread of lethal viruses.

In a typical year preceding Covid-19, over 200 zoonotic diseases caused 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths a year. 

Campaigners backed the motion, calling for the Government to listen to both MPs and the will of the people.

A roundtable discussion, hosted by animal welfare and vegan campaign group Viva!, is set to take place on April 15 2021, where MPs and experts will explore how the UK can introduce a ban.

Viva! Director Juliet Gellatley said: "No country can claim to be a world leader in animal welfare and continue to allow the practice of intensive factory farming.

"Aside from the issues of animal welfare, it holds a very real and inherent risk of the spread and mutation of potentially lethal viruses.

"We strongly urge the Government to listen to Parliament and the will of the people, and outlaw the abhorrent practice of factory farming in the UK for good."