|Can making use of animals and (at the same time) insisting that you love them go hand in hand? We don’t think so. But it can be done differently.||Whereas once nobody doubted the farmer followed his profession out of love for animals and nature, nowadays it is money that is more at stake.|
Before the Second World War, when expansion
and rationalization had not yet struck the livestock
industry, animals were born at the farm in spring. Now,
in most cases, pigs and chickens are born in specialized
multiplying farms, all year round. Calves are born in
the “classic” dairy farms to stimulate their
mother’s milk yield, a rather silly reason. In
most cases the calf will then be transported for slaughtering
directly, or after being fattened up.
|Is there still something in it for the farmer
in this unfavourable exchange? The farmer prices his freedom
of movement in his farmyard, the free enterprise and free
working hours, in short his freedom. Actually he is fooling
himself and his cattle. The modern farmer has made such
investments, that he is, essentially, the bank’s
slave. By working hard he hopes
to pay off his debts as soon as possible. Unfortunately,
the wages are low, so it takes longer than he thought
it would. In times when things go better he will be tempted
to invest some more money.
This will lead to the situation that farmers who have a heart for animals will stop farming or become amateur farmers. Only the farmers with the greatest desire for money will remain.
Meanwhile, the older public will visit children’s farms and organic farms with their children during open days. Because there are still cows in the fields, they think or hope that the reality still somewhat resembles the situation they remember from their childhood at their grandparents’ farm. Alas, the actual reality for the animal kept for consumption, is different. Dark stables, filled with thousands of animals having nothing else to do than feed themselves in order to become ready for slaughtering as soon as possible. And then there is the transport to the abattoir, which sometimes takes much too long. The modern farmer has become an industrialist who spends all his time optimizing the production process and so keeps the costs for food and animal welfare to a minimum. The veterinary is only called in when animals have symptoms that may reduce the production. Anybody who considers the costs will, in the long run, desist from anything that is not minimally required by the animal’s buyer. And this buyer (having no affiliation whatsoever with the animal) will try to make as little welfare demands as possible on the farmer, since this would only boost the shop price for the consumer. Only a few consumers are ready to pay the full price for a sound product. “Why is the farmer still doing his job?” one may wonder. “For the big money,” must be the only answer. If a farmer loved his animals, he would stop his business or rigorously change over to an ecological management.
The bio-industry cannot continue like this forever. There must be a moment that the public will also realise that bio-industry no longer has anything to do with healthy production of sound food or sound production of healthy food, whatever you your choice is.
Food from the bio-industry does not contribute to a healthy and fair meal. Those who really want to make the choice of having a clear conscience and a longer and healthier life should take the trouble to find out how this can be done in a comfortable and animal-friendly way, e.g. through a vegetarian lifestyle. This will save animals from a miserable life.
By treating themselves and other creatures (humans as well as animals) in this way, mankind can bring the love that has been lost back to society. This would prove very helpful to people as well as animals. At the same time, a bit more space would be created for animals and humans in an overcrowded world.
|Farmers showcase how they care for the pigs they raise and discuss how technology has "positively" changed the ways animals are born and raised on farms today:|