In the Netherlands and perhaps in other Western agricultural countries also there's a Babylonic confusion of tongues between farmers, consumers and the government. It's naive to believe they mind, because the victims (people from the Third World Countries, the environment, the animals) have little representatives that participate in the conversation. All parties get too much out of the current situation to really confront each other with the truth. Everybody pushes the arguments forward that are to their own advantage and it's seldom heard that one opposes someone else. How the conversation about the different aspects of intensive agriculture goes is being described below.

 

It's striking that during the discussion of the problems in the intensive agriculture, nobody mentions the export of animal products. 70% of this is being exported from the Netherlands, and those in favour and against seem not willing to see that this is the pillar of factory farming. France and the United States are countries with high figures of animal export too.

Stress, depression, the feeling of being misunderstood, these are the feelings of many farmers after the abolition caused by foot-and-mouth disease. The abolition would be superfluous if Holland wouldn't produce for foreign markets. In case of diseases the cattle can simply be vaccinated and sold on the internal national markets.

    Subjects
Below, we present for each subject (on the left) the way a lot of farmers, consumers and think about it, directly followed by the things they forget to mention.

In the headings with the subjects are links to background information on our site, for example the heading 'animal wellbeing' links to an enumeration of the 5 (minimal rights to) freedoms that an animal in factory farming officially has.

If you're looking for objections, check out the deceptive arguments.

 

Foot-and-mouth disease

Animal Wellbeing

Factory Farming

Meat and dairy prices

Environment

Nature

Manure balance

Livestock

Development and growth

Food

Land-bound Farming

   
Subject
Foot-and-mouth disease
How do many farmers think?   If my animals are vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease, my farm doesn't have to be cleaned out.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't like it when all of my cattle are killed, because I want to breed with the most productive animals.
How do many consumers think?   Killing animals with company abolition is a dismal for both farmers and animals.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't want to think about killing animals a while later to eat them.
How do many officials think?   Stamping out (killing all cattle around a foot-and-mouth-contamination spot) is cheaper than vaccination.
What do they forget to mention?   If we vaccinate against foot-and-mouth disease, we can't export the meat anymore.
   
Subject
Animal Wellbeing
How do many farmers think?   If I take care of (clean) food and water, I am doing enough for animal wellbeing.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't want to spend money to take care of the natural behaviour of animals. An animal has to cost as little as possible and should be slaughtered as soon as possible.
How do many consumers think?   Factory farming is pitiful for animals, they haven't got enough room and have no possibility to act to their nature.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't want to spend my money on animal wellbeing, I do want to spend it on my own health.
How do many officials think?   Anything goes as long as it doesn't lead to an overt assault on wellbeing.
What do they forget to mention?   We can not prove or check all that's an assault on wellbeing and what's not.
   
Subject
Factory Farming
How do many farmers think?   We are doing well: Holland isn't wasting very much farming ground, the manure is handled easier in a emission free stable and the sale is bigger.
What do they forget to mention?   Animal wellbeing, the environment and the people in the Third World have little benefits.
How do many consumers think?   Factory farming has to go.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't want to pay the prize.
How do many officials think?   Factory farming has no future.
What do they forget to mention?   We do not support alternatives.
   
Subject
Meat and Dairy Prices
How do many farmers think?   The higher the price, the higher the income.
What do they forget to mention?   The higher the price, the lower the sale abroad.
How do many consumers think?   The lower the price, the better.
What do they forget to mention?   If meat would be more expensive, I'd still buy it.
How do many officials think?   The lower the costs, the better we can compete with foreign countries.
What do they forget to mention?   In foreign countries people are forced to stop or to also get into factory farming.
   
Subject
Environment
How do many farmers think?   As long as the vegetation around me grows, there's nothing to worry about.
What do they forget to mention?   The biodiversity of vegetation in nature decreases.
How do many consumers think?   A clean environment means that land and water appear clean.
What do they forget to mention?   It's kind of boring: the bleak meadow and the straight canals and streets.
How do many officials think?   Environmental regulations shouldn not impede the producer too much.
What do they forget to mention?   The taxpayer is paying for the disadvantages of pollution while the polluter isn't paying anything.
   
Subject
Nature
How do many farmers think?   The trees and forests have never been this green before.
What do they forget to mention?   Rare species have disappeared, just that part of nature that is manure-insensitive stays existent.
How do many consumers think?   I cannot discriminate between nature today and in the past.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't know what's missing, I don't know anything about rare plants or birds, I never see them, I've never learn to enjoy that.
How do many officials think?   We protect areas with a high natural value.
What do they forget to mention?   Outside of the rare elements of nature, we don't care about nature.
   
Subject
Manure Balance
How do many farmers think?   As long as my animals don't put it directly on the land, the balance can be technically solved.
What do they forget to mention?   I have to keep my animals inside most of the time that way.
How do many consumers think?   Polution by manure shouldn't make our drinking water more expensive.
What do they forget to mention?   I believe lots of manure is good for farming.
How do many officials think?   Through demands on manure production, we work on a sound agriculture.
What do they forget to mention?   Reduction of manure production will not better animal wellbeing, reduction of livestock will.
   
Subject
Livestock
How do many farmers think?   If others give in, I get to keep more animals.
What do they forget to mention?   I just want to go on as a farmer, whatever it takes.
How do many consumers think?   The more animals, the better the export position.
What do they forget to mention?   I only care for rare animals, I don't want to think about at the situation of the individual animal in a crowded stable.
How do many officials think?   Livestock has to shrink.
What do they forget to mention?   We only shrink because the foreign countries tell us to stop producing so much manure (European Union agreement).
   
Subject
Development and Growth
How do many farmers think?   I want my farm to grow, and I call that development.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't care if it will hurt other farmers, the environment or animals.
How do many consumers think?   Farmers must have the opportunity to get rich.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't care how farmers try to get rich.
How do many officials think?   Bigger companies are regulated more easily.
What do they forget to mention?   While focusing on the growth in intensive agriculture, the government loses sight of other relevant objectives.
   
Subject
Food
How do many farmers think?   Meat and dairy are needed, because they are bought by consumers.
What do they forget to mention?   The production of meat that comes from factory farms decreases the global availability of food.
How do many consumers think?   I want healthy, cheap and easy meat and dairy, plus a clean conscience.
What do they forget to mention?   I know it isn't right, but I'm not willing to look for alternatives and change my behaviour.
How do many officials think?   The export of food gets the treasure chest slogans.
What do they forget to mention?   Foreign countries, animals and the environment pay the price.
   
Subject
Land-bound farming
How do many farmers think?   As long as I can get rid of my manure, my company is land-bound.
What do they forget to mention?   Being land-bound means growing food for cattle yourself, instead of importing.
How do many consumers think?   As long as farmers are not forced to emigrate.
What do they forget to mention?   I don't know what land-bound means, let alone that I know why it is so important.
How do many officials think?   Every farmer must produce land-bound.
What do they forget to mention?   The rules and checks are limited to the manure-demand.