Living in a country where intensive livestock
production is pictured as conducting a 'crime against animals' is interesting
but not always a pleasant. Soon the Dutch parliament will discuss the
possibility of stopping the bio-industry by closing all large scale efficiently
managed livestock production units to be replaced by less efficient smaller
organic or biologic operations
Living in a country where intensive livestock production is pictured as
conducting a 'crime against animals' is interesting but not always a pleasant.
Soon the Dutch parliament will discuss the possibility of stopping the
bio-industry by closing all large scale efficiently managed livestock production
units and stimulating inefficient small scale organic or biologic operations by
giving subsidies to cover the difference between the cost of production and the
price consumers are prepared to pay. Over one hundred thousand people, 0.6% of
the Dutch population, signed a petition to put the issue on parliament's agenda.
A bio-industry ban?
Many people in the farming community shake their head in disbelief and do
little to oppose the popular slogans from animal welfare and environment
protection groups. They still believe that these minority activists won't get
the support to succeed, because their claims are not based on sound scientific
evidence. Besides the activists are ignoring the fact that we live in a free
world which supports the idea of free trade. Stopping the bio-industry in The
Netherlands or even the EU would prompt producers outside these prohibition
regions to produce more and export it at a price level that no extensive
producer could meet or meat trader could refuse.
There is still hope, however, for common sense, but the question is whether
politicians and the media follow the rules of common sense. They are more likely
to follow the popularity polls than support or even thinking objectively about
The heavily sponsored animal welfare and environment protection movements are
able to hire well paid communication experts who know just how to manipulate
politicians, the media and public opinion.
EU legislations to ban traditional layer cages and the recently accepted
maximum number of birds per square metre for broilers are clear indicators of
which direction the livestock industry is being forced.
Producers from outside the EU may think that this trend is to their
advantage. And in some respect that is true, but one lesson to be learnt from
this is that ignoring the issues or not responding timely to unfair allegations
against intensive livestock production will lead to situations like we see now
in the EU as well as in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
The industry has to stand up and make sure, more so than in the past, that
the consumers know how meat and eggs are produced and are convinced that we take
care of our birds.
If consumers really don't like it we have to come up with alternatives they
are prepared to pay for. Or maybe the time will come that we will have
to close the doors and accept that our business has changed and had its