The problems with (foreign) meat

The export of meat is not as favorable as people are inclined to think. Free trading is not always beneficial, especially not for (the well-being of) animals. Why ship meat from one country to another, while other meat is shipped back? This exchange is possible for farmers that can produce against low costs. It is the same farmer that uses factory farming methods. This way he forces farmers from abroad to use the same animal unfriendly farming methods.
Nowadays a few countries want to stop the import of meat from other countries, but the same countries force other countries to accept their products through WTO negotiations.
We encourage countries to impose limitations on animal products (dead or alive) from foreign countries. Even better, why not stop the export of meat at all, at least between continents? There is an economic advantage for only a small group of people, but there are lots of disadvantages for a great number of people and animals. We mention them below.
Animal Freedom supports policy to end the existence of factory farms in The Netherlands, #3 on the export charts of meat export, behind France and the USA (#1).
If Dutch meat products were not exported (i.e. 70% reduction), ecologically sound cattle farming could replace factory farming in the Netherlands. Animal-friendly farms could easily feed the Dutch population.
The objections of Animal Freedom against Dutch meat(production) are the following.
  1. The Netherlands is too small a country for intensive (and extensive) cattle farming on the present scale. On a yearly basis, more than 450 million animals are kept in confined spaces, resulting in so much overproduction that two thirds of the meat and poultry production is exported. A reduction in this level of production is absolutely necessary.
  2. Live animals are transported to and from The Netherlands. These transports take several days and cause much stress to the animals involved.
  3. The Netherlands disrupts the agricultural economy of Third World countries by importing cattle food cheaply, and is therefore an indirect cause of hunger. This also disturbs part of the global mineral balance.
  4. The Netherlands use so much antibiotics in cattle food that it is creating a worldwide time-bomb of resistant bacteria that are exported with the meat.
  5. The Netherlands has a reduced attractiveness for tourists, caused by the pollution created by excess manure and has huge, ugly, factory farm buildings in the countryside.
  6. Dutch factory farming forces other countries to compete in developing these low-cost systems supported by Dutch engineers and companies. Low-cost factory farming is a threat to animal well-being.

Factory farming

In The Netherlands is related to wrongs elsewhere in the world, and the excessive use of antibiotic in The Netherlands necessary to maintain such a huge population of livestock can become a danger to world health in the long run.
Virtually all Dutch meat that you can buy abroad is produced in factory farms. A boycott of Dutch meat by foreign countries could have a sound impact on the improvement of well-being of animals kept in factory farms, and on the improvement of the environment in general.
In Australia the shame of the enormous export of live animals is documented: The economics of the live animal export trade are questionable. Its impact on the Australian work force has been negative and over 17,000 jobs have been lost to overseas interests along with the profits.
Despite those economic considerations - this industry brings in around $900 million per annum, it comes at a far greater cost and Australians are saying this barbaric trade is not worth it.

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