Eat your daily meat

14-12-2006 | |
Dick Ziggers Former editor All About Feed

Let me elaborate a little on my grievance against the single issue party for the animals. What amazes me the most is that these idealistic vegetarians (“people that do not eat anything with a face” as it was explained in a kids movie) do not worry about the economic consequences of turning the world to organic in the beginning and to vegetarian in a later stage.

Firstly, what to think of all the jobs lost when intensive animal farming is expelled. Not only farmers (there aren’t many left) will disappear, but also the supplying and processing industries.

Secondly, people do not realise how many products considered offal in the food industry are fed to animals in their compound feed. In countries where grains are not abundant these by-products are used in large quantities in animal feed. Without intensive farming these products would be wasted.

Perhaps I should agree not to use primary food ingredients in animal feed and to use by-products as much as possible. This creates extra value through production of animal protein, especially now the competition between the use of grains for feed or food is gaining momentum. But that is another discussion.

And thirdly, most people cannot afford to pay the higher prices for organic food. I have seen the prices. On a short trip to the US I was able to walk into a store of Wild Oats, a supermarket chain fully dedicated to all natural (whatever that is) and organic food. The prices are staggering: four dollars for a pound of organic apples, or more than eight dollars for a pound of organic chicken breast – I wonder how much of this is going to the farmer. With those prices only a select group of consumers can afford to buy these products.

To be able to produce these foods for acceptable prices and in large enough quantities, producers will need to upscale and intensify their production, simply because there is not enough space to produce organic foods for everybody. This way we are back to the present situation of large scale, intensive farming.

In the mean time the whole agriculture sector has faced a shake-out, faced bankruptcy and lost billions of dollars, euros, etc. without any effect. I think this doom-scenario is quite close to reality when animal rights fundamentalist take over in agriculture and "liberate" our farm animals, while petting their dog or cat and feeding it to obesity.

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