The photos hereunder show what visitors to the Dutch countryside (partially concealed by greenery) get to see. Not everyone will realize that they are actually looking at long stables which contain (tens of) thousands of animals (cows, pigs or chickens). Behind the stables are slurry pits and manure digesters.

These photos were taken in the Dutch provinces Groningen and Drenthe at the beginning of March 2009, but could just as well be scenes from the provinces Friesland, Noord-Holland, Zeeland or Brabant. Mega stables are also to be seen in Gelderland and Limburg, but the countryside there is more rolling.

 

Cow jumping and dancing for joy, on the first day in the meadowThe animals in these stables never come out to the meadows. The land around the stables is used to grow (some of the) animal fodder and to spread out manure.This leads to deterioration of flora en fauna, dust particles come free and it stinks, but (just as the animals), this is not visible in a photograph.

The location of the pictures can be seen on Google maps.

     
     
Left, a stable with home   right, a slurry pit, in the foreground, 2 swans
     
Left, a stable, in the middle a digester   right, a slurry pit
     
On one side and at the back:   in the middle of the photo, behind the slurry pit, the church tower in the village of Onstwedde is to be seen.
At the front:   right, the home
     
Left two older stables   To the right two newer stables with air purifiers
     
Sometimes trees are planted around stables, to conceal them.   Out of sight, out of mind?
     
A double row of stables with 10,000 to 15,000 pigs:    
     
Slurry is stored in plastic basins along farmland:    
 
For those interested in learning more about the rise in factory farming in the countryside, this is well portrayed in the overview of planned livestock factories drawn up by the Department of Environmental Protection, or more creatively, from a historic and economic perspective in the animated film The Meatrix.