Close the borders to meat and dairy

Animal Freedom makes an appeal to close the borders to imports and exports of meat and dairy. Why do we want this and what are the consequences? We appeal for this because the export of meat and dairy supports industrial farming, which we are trying to get banned. In this article we will not be answering the question whether a ban on export can be realized in a free market society. Where there's a will, there's a way. We will be listing a number of consequences and the pros and cons for the branches of pigs, cows and poultry. We conclude with a number of preconditions under which cattle farmers can rely on an acceptable (sometimes better) income in the proposed situation.
A second appeal, which we made to our Dutch Minister of Agriculture, is to limit agriculture to purely biological agriculture. This would improve animal well being, mainly by stopping international transports of live animals, guaranteeing more freedom not only for animals, but also for cattle farmers who are now being held by the short hairs by animal fodder and meat processing industries. If you want to know more about the details behind the numbers used in these calculations, please refer to the links at the top of each column

Pig farming

In Holland, the number of pigs being produced is three times the consumption; two thirds are exported. Meat pigs are made ready for slaughter in four months with the aid of antibiotics working as growth stimulants. Production for national consumption can be attainable by keeping fewer pigs per farm, and to let the pigs grow at a natural rate, as is the practice in biological cattle farming. The pigs have more room and they can go outside. This more extensive way of rearing pigs would employ the same number of pig farmers as there are now. It would, however, cost jobs in the meat processing industry. Biological pig farmers have an average of 270 pigs, with a maximum of 27 pigs per hectare outside in a pasture. The total manure production will decrease to one third of the current volume. The import of animal fodder from third world countries can be drastically reduced. Environmental pollution will decrease, but more space will be needed. We would need an area the size of the entire province of Utrecht as outdoor space for all the pigs.

Dairy farming

Cattle can reach a variety of ages in our country. Some newly born bull calves are killed quickly, others reach the age of 14 months. Dairy cows sometimes were killed after their last calf, when they had reached the age of 15. Our meat consumption makes up for a little less than a quarter of the number of adult cows, and roughly half of our pork consumption. Most adult cows are dairy cows, which stop producing after about four years and have had only 2 or 3 calves in their short lives. Changing intensive dairy farming to biological dairy farming, in which animals live longer in smaller stocks (e.g. 35 dairy cows and as many young), will not provide jobs for nearly as many dairy farmers as there are now. Since the dairy cow gives birth every year, the young will in principle cover the needs for beef consumption and replacement.

Income position

It's clear that a reduction of cattle stocks must be compensated with a higher price for the products of cattle farmers. This compensation should preferably be offered by a healthy market mechanism. Protective measures such as closing borders, which are normally undesirable, are now in the interest of animals, the environment and the consumer's health. This will entail that consumers have to pay more for their meat and dairy. Prices could be twice or triple what they are now.

Meat chick farms

Chick meat is consumed almost as much as beef. Just as for pigs, roughly three times the amount consumed in our own country is produced. Changing from intensive to biological would maintain the number of farms at 1230, if the average occupation would be reduced to a quarter or a third of the population. It is conceivable that analogous to dairy farming the meat of overgrown, but not squeezed out, laying hens is used for consumption, instead of the now specially reared "turbo" chicks. As you know, these poor creatures don't live longer than six weeks.
A possible solution is that we eat less meat and more fruit and vegetables. This is cheaper and healthy, and also good for our climate. A higher price for meat does not have to be a great problem for the consumer. On top of that, we are all also paying, through taxes, European subsidies to maintain the meat market and to cushion its negative consequences for environment and health. By closing the borders for meat and dairy we will prevent all these problems, and by abolishing the various subsidies the Dutch farmers and the consumer will benefit in the end.

logoThis page describes one aspect of the influence that man has on the quality of life of an animal. We wish to promote the (in other countries as well) growing of awareness, that freedom is also important for an animal. An animal is not a thing, but a being that has the right to quality of a natural way of life. If you want to do something to help animals, click here for our suggestions.

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