CAP scheme, which pays more to farms that occupy more land, drives ‘perverse outcomes for a food transition’, says study

The EU has made polluting diets “artificially cheap” by pumping four times more money into farming animals than growing plants, research has found.

More than 80% of the public money given to farmers through the EU’s common agriculture policy (CAP) went to animal products in 2013 despite the damage they do to society, according to a study in Nature Food. Factoring in animal feed doubled the subsidies that were embodied in a kilogram of beef, the meat with the biggest environmental footprint, from €0.71 to €1.42 (61p to £1.22).

The EU, which plans to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, spends nearly one-third of its entire budget on CAP subsidies. “The vast majority of that is going towards products which are driving us to the brink,” said Paul Behrens, an environmental change researcher at Leiden University and co-author of the study.

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