From Dutch newspaper Intermediair 14th December 2000 (Jan Werts)
     
With European money the spending morality is low. Whoever gets support from Brussels is inclined to think: "they can spare it, it comes from Europe". And it's true. The European Union is financing its own chaos because it's financially independent. Every day the Union spends 250 million Euro, which is over 90 billion per year. Over 40% of that is paid out in agricultural subsidies. One third goes to "undeveloped" areas in the EU (e.g. the Dutch province Flevopolder! - AF).   Who are the ones paying for this Europe? Mainly the consumers and taxpayers. They often don't even know that almost 10% of all VAT they are paying go to Brussels. VAT accounts for 40% of all EU income. Furthermore, the Dutch Finance Minister and his colleagues pay almost that same amount in contribution. A third source of income is the EU-levies on cheaper products from faraway (often poor) countries. Because of these levies the consumer pays extra for such products.
     
Thusfar Intermediair
     

In Holland, animals are exploited in a number of ways. Cattle farms keep as many animals as they deem economically profitable. The possibility of export makes that we are keeping three times as many animals in our country as we need for our own consumption. These animals are brought to their slaughter weight in as short a time as possible, and, in case of cows, they are ready for slaughter in an unreasonably short time (4 years in stead of 8 years).

The consequence is overproduction, animal suffering and damage to the environment and our health.

 

 
     

The taxpayer is the one who pays, instead of those who cause the suffering of pollution, even in case the sector suffers losses (swine fever and BSE).
Assuming that the actual cost price of pig meat is 30% higher, this means that taxpayers are paying almost 1 billion Euro extra for their pork. Per pigfarmer this comes down to about 50,000 Euro. Although these subsidies aren't paid out directly (just like with chicken farmers) on the free market, this is definitely a case of indirect subsidies.

  Keeping intensive cattle farming afloat artificially through subsidies is in the interest of only a few. Via this roundabout way prices for animal products are kept low.
We think that maintaining this sector should not be done at the expense of the taxpayer. By making export impossible, by demanding ecological management of these farms, and by checking regularly for animal welfare, the exploitation of animals can be stopped and prevented. In the end, consumers will pay almost the same.
     
Consumers should be paying for responsibly produced meat directly and what it really costs, and not a little through taxation first and the rest at the butcher's later. These separate payments hide the real cost of meat.
With the current state of technology, using animals is no longer necessary in any way, everything could just as easily be done without animals. Meat and dairy are not essential to your health, and the sector should have to be completely self-supporting.
  It must be made financially interesting to let animals live longer and under acceptable circumstances. Cows from many biological cattle farms are often only slaughtered when they reach the age of 8 years (twice as old as now) which is still only halfway through their productive lives.
A higher age of slaughter, together with the testing of all slaughter animals for diseases that can be harmful to man, such as BSE, can ensure that we are dealing responsibly and carefully with living creatures and nature.
Now cows are slaughtered far before they get old, and before any dormant cases of BSE have manifested. This seems favorable, but in reality it maintains uncertainty about the safety of meat.
     
Our message is not that we should ban animals from society, but that we have to live together with animals, and give them their freedom to move. Things to consider are: sufficient space in nature, where animals are safe from humans, meaning that they have plenty of living space, food, and opportunities to meet members of their own species. Animals have the right to their own natural way of life.  

If European governments stop paying subsidies to cattle farming, we will reach an honest situation whereby those who choose not to eat meat or who want to make even littler use of animals do not have to contribute to what they see as exploitation.
Healthier alternatives than even free-range farms will become more attractive.