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English-Nederlands-Espaņol-Deutsch-Polski

Five objections to industrial farming

1. Ethics and animal welfare

Freedom is a basic right for humans and animals. If severely restricting the freedom of animals to behave naturally diminishes this basic right, then the welfare of the animal will be damaged.

2. Public Health

Because of excessive use of antibiotics in the fodder used in industrial farming, we risk the creation of resistant strains of bacteria in factory farm animals. When meat from these animals is consumed by humans the information about antibiotic resistance is passed on to similar bacteria in the human body which then also become resistant to the same antibiotics that were used in the animal fodder. This poses problems when treating human bacteriological illnesses such as pneumonia.
Other dangers are salmonella and BSE. See also: The European Commission on BSE

3. World food production

Agricultural areas in the Third World are being used to produce fodder for animals in our industrial farming system instead of producing food for local populations. This distorts the local economy.

 

 

4. Enjoying your neighborhood

The stench and noise of industrial farming (sometimes with open waste basins) makes living in the vicinity unpleasant and blights the properties in the area.

5. Landscape and bio-diversity

Large industrial farmers crowd out small farmers. Because of the creation of monocultures (grass and maize for fodder), the release (depositing) of heavy metals contained within the fertilizers into the soil and nutrient overkill generally, wildlife and landscape will deteriorate.

The following passage expands in detail on the shortcomings of industrial farming and industrial fishing.

     

Principal animal health and welfare arguments against the use of industrial animal husbandry systems presented to the world bank by the organization Compassion In World Farming.

See also: Facts and Data on Factory Farm

 

What is wrong in factory farming?

One of the most important objections to industrial farming is of an ethical nature. Even if all the environmental problems could be solved, and even if all the energy and mineral accounts of the farmers were balanced, then still the manner in which the industrial farming industry treats animals is unacceptable.
Because the meat has to arrive on the shelves of the supermarkets as cheap as possible, the animals are allowed just enough room to stand and stay alive. Male pigs are castrated without anesthetics as soon as possible after birth. If someone does that to his or her cat, he will get a substantial fine for animal abuse. But animals that are bred for slaughter fall under a different set of regulations. Chickens to be fattened before they are slaughtered live in 23-hour daylight conditions. That makes a chicken believe that he has to keep eating. The light only goes out for one hour each day, in which the chicken is allowed to rest.
With pigs the light is off as much as possible. Two times a day for a half an hour the light is turned on (so the farmer can check on his animals) and the rest of the time it is dark.

     

Keeping as many animals as possible in a small space, without freedom of movement or the ability to express natural behavior can not be done other than in an animal unfriendly way. Not withstanding the changes to the law and regulation in the area of animal welfare and, even when taking into account the intrinsic value of the animal, it is not possible to guarantee the basic right to freedom for animals while industrial farming methods continue to be used.

  Animals have no right in a legal sense, but they are legal objects: comparable to cars that can change owners and can be rented out. Contrary to humans, animals are not legal subjects: in our system of law, it cannot be a carrier of rights and obligations. When the animal in the industrial farming industry is denied the right to express natural or even chosen behavior, then this means animal abuse, despite the good care it receives.

What is wrong in the fishing industry?

On the face of it, there would seem to be no objection to the consumption of fish. Unless one is ethically against the killing of living creatures.  Nevertheless, the objections mentioned above concerning the consumption of meat are also valid where the consumption of fish is concerned.
Without starting a discussion on whether fish have a sense of pain or not, it can be said that the current fishing industry uses animal unfriendly catching techniques. For those that are not impressed with the short suffering of fish during the act of being caught, we point to the side catch of mammals such as dolphins in nets meant for tuna. Dolphins are trapped and ensnared in the kilometer-long nets and can do nothing more than wait for death by drowning.

 

Another objection is that when trawl nets are used, not only the targeted species of the correct size are caught but also 70% of the catch is thrown back overboard. This is because either the fish are too small, the landing of which is prohibited by law, or because the permitted quota had already been reached, or because the species of fish caught happens to be commercially uninteresting. The 70% of the catch that is dumped back into the sea is by then crushed to death, suffocated or otherwise dead.
Also for the environment this method of fishing is detrimental, if not to say disastrous. The trawl nets ruin the bottom of the sea, which cause the total disruption and destruction of the ecological system for a long time.
The seas and oceans are fished empty and left barren.
Fish are not only caught, but also farmed. Some salmon, for example, are kept in enormous floating tanks, comparable to industrial farming units. Finally, there are some health objections attached to the consumption of fish. In the seventies, the high level of mercury (quicksilver) present in fish was a hot item.
Because of oil pollution, and the dumping of all sorts of waste, including nuclear, in the ocean, the health of fish is poor, and the fish contains hazardous materials.

     
Books at Amazon UK:   USA:
Tim Lang (Foreword), Marc Lappe, Britt Bailey: Against The Grain: The Genetic Transformation of Global Agriculture  
     
Mark Lappe: Germs That Won't Die: The New Threat of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria  
     
Author: Bert Stoop
 
This page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal.
Other pages on this site describe other aspects that contribute to the growth of global awareness that freedom is important for an animal too. The quality of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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