There are too many
(poultry) farms in the Netherlands, even when all
these businesses were to switch to more welfare-friendly
systems. Just how many businesses are superfluous in
Holland depends on the approach we take: environment
and/or welfare. If the number of battery cage farms
is reduced, while the chickens in the other farms gain
only a few square centimeters extra, then this will
hardly help the chickens in practice, because they will
still not be able to exhibit natural behavior. Chickens
can only do this when they are given enough space to
move around, to go outside to take dust baths or to
free-range and forage for food. It is important that
they are not surrounded by too many of their own kind,
because this causes stress to them.
In the force field of the market: producer, consumer
and government, none of these three parties is able
to commit the poultry farmers to these demands. The
government is slowly increasing environmental and welfare
pressure, to create a ceiling for the size of this sector.
With this, the government is serving the interests of
the sector and of the environment, and indirectly also
The largest part of the meat and egg production in
Holland disappears abroad. Instead of being proud of
that, we should be ashamed of ourselves. The over-production
is a consequence of the greed of farmers and consumers,
who both want to get their eggs cheap, and in the process
trampling the chickens. And the Dutch government is
just as guilty, because it derives a source of income
Unfortunately, the Dutch learn
at their mother's knee that farm life is heroic
and romantic, and they do not hesitate to make demands.
The reality is that this over-subsidized sector has
changed into a factory-like sector a long time ago,
which should bear economical and environmental responsibilities.
Some have trouble accepting this reality.