Bio-industry in the Netherlands

At the end of the nineteen forties it became one of the aims of the Dutch government to assure that food was cheap and available for everyone. During the nineteen fifties it became clear that the cattle breeding and agriculture as they knew it, was insufficient to meet these demands and therefore growth and intensification of business was inevitable to meet the, because of the increased prosperity, demand for meat. Intensive farming also known as the bio-industry was born. The Dutch government argued that agriculture and cattle farming had to experience the same kind of growth as seen before in other industries. Mechanization on farms and in agriculture were encouraged, small businesses were liquidated or combined in large industries.

At the end of the nineteen fifties, the European Economic Community was founded, resulting in a larger market for agriculture and livestock products. Expansion, mechanization, rationalization and specialization were the key issues during that time. The Government sent out employees to convince farmers of the alleged need for expansion. The motto of that time, labour rationalization, meant that there had to be an as big as possible production in the least amount of time. The Dutch government hired scientists to investigate how agriculture and livestock production should be changed to increase the production as much as possible. Experimental farms were established where scientists did studies and tests, for example increasing the number of piglets a sow could give birth to annually. These experimental farms still exist today!

The following years many major changes were made in livestock farming and agriculture in the Netherlands. Government employees found inspiration in other countries where after the government decided that it would be economically efficient to introduce so-called “battery systems” to the Dutch farmers. Chickens from then on could be kept in small cages on grids. Then it was the pigs turn, they also were from then on being kept on grids in small cages and sows would be chained. Everything just to generate more revenue per surface with as least as possible human labour involved. Farmers were told that if they didn’t comply with the “inevitable growth” it wouldn’t take long for them to go bankrupt. If they wanted to survive, they had to cooperate. Everything was marked by economic progress, the welfare of the animal was never considered.

Animals in the bio-industry are considered as products, as much animals as possible have to be “produced” in the shortest amount of time whilst taking up the least amount of space and using the least amount of labour. Labour, land and energy has to be saved upon. Most actions in the process, from breeding to slaughter, are carried out by automated machines such as chicken sorters, milk robots, conveyor belts, chicken sweepers, meat machines etc. To prevent animals from hurting each other because of frustration, boredom ore mutual aggression they are “adapted” to their environment. Teeth, wattles, beaks, tails and horns are removed or even burned off without any form of anaesthesia.

The life expectancy of the animals is modified; animals are especially bred for fast growth. This makes it possible to slaughter more animals in a year’s time. Because of this unusual fast growth the animal experiences a lot of health issues and health risks. Many animals don’t even make it to the defined slaughter age, but that is perceived as economically acceptable.

The use of large amounts of antibiotics in the bio-industry can be considered as very alarming. These antibiotics come in handy for farmers, because it works both growth enhancing and inhibitory to viruses. It is estimated that in the Dutch livestock sector 400.000 kg of antibiotics are used annually. These antibiotics end up in the final “product”, and thus ultimately on the consumer’s plate.

The feeding of the animals is artificially made up to enhance the fastest possible growth. Cheap raw materials are imported from third world countries to construct the most economically efficient possible food. Third World countries lose a big part of their available agricultural space to produce the cheapest possible animal feed, and therefore loose a big part of their available agricultural space to feed their own population.

In southern European countries it is possible to slaughter the animals a few cents cheaper than it is in the Netherlands, so many animals are put on horrific transport to foreign countries for those few cents more profit. For days the animals are trapped in the heat or cold, cramped together without any form of food or water.

If at birth it shows that an animal may not be sufficient enough, the animal is killed immediately. Everything just revolves around maximizing profits. The current legislation doesn’t even talk about animals anymore, but about products or kilograms per square meter.

Some examples of the gross animal abuse that takes place within the bio-industry:

Chicks

Tens of thousands of chicks are thrown together in a hall. In the beginning they still have some room to walk around, but chicks grow rapidly. The limited space they had is fast gone. When the chicks reach the age of 6 weeks, they are considered “ripe” for slaughter. So called chicken catchers grab the chicks and stuff them into crates. This happens so roughly that many chicks contract wing or bone fractures. When the crate is closed there is often a chick that has its wing or leg clamped between the crate and the lid of the crate. The crates overfilled with chicks are loaded into trucks and put on transport to the slaughterhouse. On arrival at the slaughterhouse they are thrown from the crate onto a conveyor belt. This conveyor takes them to a place where they are manually put on hooks upside down (by their legs). Then they are run through a low voltage electrified bath with their heads to sedate them. However the strength of the electric shock they are submitted to is very low; so many animals are not sufficiently “anesthetized”. Then the chicks are passed by a rotating blade, where their throat is cut. It often happens that the throat of the chick is not sufficiently cut through, so the “work” is then finished manually.

Calves

Although the Netherlands adopted legislation that prohibits farmers to keep calves in chests anymore, the living environment of the calves haven’t improved that much. Chest calves are placed in a box or a really small cage after birth in which they practically can’t move, so the calf can’t grow any or as least as possible muscular tissue. The calf never gets to drink milk from his own mother; they get fed a bucket of artificial milk twice a day. This milk contains little iron, a nutrient that is necessary for the protection of the calf’s health. Because the calves take in to little iron they are sure to suffer from anemia. This anemia makes sure their flesh stays white instead of turning red as it is supposed to. Because this white meat of the calves brings up more money on the market, the farmers deliberately keep the calves sick.

Ducks and geese

Ducks are confined in individual cages and geese are kept in small communal areas. The ducks two times a day and the geese three times a day get a 30 centimeter long funnel tube stuffed down their throats, by which they get 1 kg of corn porridge immediately inserted in their stomachs each time. Another way to force feed the ducks and geese is by stuffing a tube down their throat which shoots down (by air pressure) dough balls soaked in milk or oil, or grain and fat immediately into the stomachs of the animals. Besides that the ducks and geese only get salted water so more thirst will be generated. All these interventions are used so the liver will experience an abnormal growth.

These are just some of the harrowing stories about how animals are abused and mistreated by the bio-industry. Every animal has its own suffering! It should be clear that the way in which our current society treats animals is inhumane. The amount of pain, stress and atrocities an animal has to suffer can’t even be captured in words.

Overproduction

Because of the many measures applied in the bio-industry the Netherlands has become the most cattle dense country in the entire world. Every year the Dutch bio-industry “produces” 450.000.000 animals. On a daily basis the Netherlands exports 1.000.000 “pieces” of live poultry and in a week’ time 20.000 pigs and 60.000 piglets (the numbers of cows, steers, goats etc. is unknown to me). Approximately 5.2 million living farm animals leave the Netherlands annually to die elsewhere.

Dutch businesses spend approximately 250 million Euros a year for the promotion of Dutch agricultural export products, which is the biggest amount of money a country spends in the entire EU. This exorbitant amount of money easily can be explained if you see the vast amounts of profits these companies make a year. It’s not the farmers who make these profits but the companies who buy up the animals from the farmers.

The Netherlands is one of the biggest meat exporting countries of the world and therefore one of the biggest animal abusers in the world.

Slaughter

It should be adamant that the slaughter of animals causes an immense grief and enormous amounts of stress to the animals. The so-called sedations they receive are generally insufficient, which causes the animals to be fully conscious when they have to walk, be dragged or led towards their deaths, seeing other animals die in front of their eyes. Spaces covered in blood, smelling of death in which many of them won’t even die immediately. Lately more and more footage is surfacing in which it is clear that the last living moments of the animals are filled with coercion, torture, abuse and harassment by their killers.

Also stories about the lack of hygiene and therefore health threats to the people and the unsafe environment people have to work in are appearing about the slaughterhouses. Because of the ongoing pressure and speed in which work has to be done, things like hygiene and safety are the first things to leave the workspace.

Environment

Besides the undeniable vast amount of animal suffering the bio-industry also causes a heavy strain on the environment. Not just the massive manure surplus, also the emission of co2 has become an oversized problem. Nobody seems to know a solution for this. Whilst the only solution is so simple; get rid of the bio-industry!

The biggest cause of the destruction of the tropical rainforest all across the world is the mass production of soy and corn. 94% of this production is to become animal feed. Whilst the bio-industry is getting bigger every year, and has to contain evermore animals, the production of soy and corn have to follow this growth, which will only result in an even bigger destruction of our earthly treasures. All to fulfill the pleasures, desires and meat addictions of the masses and for maximizing profits for the companies.

The bio-industry thus causes massive amounts of co2 emissions and vastly contributes to the evermore destruction of the rainforests, the lungs of the earth. It seems inevitable that if we continue this way we are heading for an unstoppable global environmental disaster.

Conclusion

It wasn’t until the recent decennia that it has become the trend toe at as much meat as possible and as many times as possible. This was once seen as something that was conjoined with status, someone who is poor can’t after all afford meat. However because of the bio-industry the life of an animal has become so cheap and less expensive that for just a few cents you can buy some meat. The unlimited devouring of meat is an excess of capitalism. Animals as a number or a product, and humans just as stupid blinded consumers.

We shouldn´t contribute to this suffering of animals. When you do eat meat, fish or poultry, buy responsible! For that few cents more you at least make sure you´re not co-responsible and therefore just as guilty to this extensive animal cruelty and suffering! Or even better become a vegetarian or vegan.

If you don’t want to do it for the animals, do it for yourself! The amounts of antibiotics, stress hormones, and in the future with the implementation of the TTIP treaty growth hormones, GMO’s and whatnot it’s just NOT healthy to eat meat, fish or poultry on a daily basis. Don’t poison your body.

 

Keltische_knoop

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