A chicken is the tip of the iceberg

This morning, I heard a news item on the radio about Italian adventurer Alex Bellini, who announced that he will live on an iceberg for a full year in 2015. His objective is to highlight climate change.

"Let's hope it doesn't melt!", "Daily Mail online" wrote in their headline. And yes, I can understand that. Who doesn't? Of course, every world citizen is concerned about climate change. And those who don't, should open their ears and eyes to let this message come through. Yet we're all living together on just one planet. And we all try to live a pleasant life. Nice home, nice family and friends, nice work and ample and safe food to feed ourselves. Indeed the world needs food!

There's a fair chance however, that Bellini's plan will also be a critical manifest towards animal production. That's logical. After all, also animals are responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. And as a result for climate change.

This made me think about the opening ceremony of VIV Europe, last May in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Here, Dr Aalt Dijkhuizen (former CEO of Wageningen University) held a very clear presentation about the impact of various production systems. This was based on fundamental, scientifically proved research. From his presentation, it became crystal clear that in a world with an increasing demand for food and less resources, productivity and efficiency are key. Without any doubt. Production systems with higher productivity have a lower footprint. These require less land and raw materials per kg of product. Hence their GHG emission is lower.

In that respect, the professional poultry business is doing their utmost already, to as efficiently as possible, produce highly valuable and nutritious food. With considerable progress made all the time to further professionalize. And keep GHG emission within limits. No question about that.

Possibly it's a good idea to send a warm chicken meal every now and then to Alex Bellini during his stay at the iceberg. But let's not forget that he is asking attention for a major concern for planet earth and for the entire world population. Not a bad word about his initiative. That's the other and as important side of the coin!

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