The Soil Association is calling for a wholesale review of current methods of feeding farm animals.

In a new report 'Feeding the animals that feed us' published this week, it claimed the increase in use of grains and imported soya for animal feed over the past 60 years had contributed to "the vulnerability and unsustainability of our food chain" because rainforests and grasslands were being destroyed to grow them.

The way in which farm animals were fed required urgent attention, said the report, which laid down recommendations on how to reduce reliance on grain and soya. It called for a review of the ban on swill feeding and more technical support for farmers growing alternative crops such as peas, beans and novel proteins. While organic farmers had a "head start" because they were less reliant on grain, they too should reconsider feeding practices, it said.