– Intensive breeding: things have to change quickly!
Tessie Arpels – animal rights activist
Many scientific studies are sounding the alarm about the consequences of climate change, including HES of Applied Sciences in Zurich, Greenpeace, GIECC, OECD, WTO, WWF. Their recommendations: less intensive agriculture without a focus on yield, transition to plant proteins and development of new agricultural production concepts. Reports commissioned by the Confederation from Swiss institutions (AGROSCOPE, AGRIDEA) reach the same conclusions, but are not implemented.
The intensive agriculture initiative does not advocate the end of agriculture, but its rescheduling to protect animal welfare and our natural resources – water, air, land – and therefore our well-being. It wants to impose organic standards on Swiss and imported meat, eggs and milk production. This is compatible with our international agreements: the WTO provides exceptions based on the protection of public morals, the protection of the population, plants, animals and natural resources (art XX of the GATT). On the other hand, 7 billion francs in agricultural subsidies is a matter of great contention between Switzerland and the WTO.
According to several federal studies (FOEN, OFAS), less intensive livestock would recover land for crops capable of feeding the population and animals. Farms would no longer aim for profitability through ultra-rapid fattening and would no longer require imports of increasing amounts of concentrated fodder, cereals and soy) that make us dependent on supply chains. Food security is not synonymous with maximum production, but with the ability to adapt to new factors, such as a war in Europe, a devastating virus and climate change. Currently the price of cereals is rising; hence the reintroduction of animal meal banned since the “mad cow disease”. Is that reasonable?
“Like us, the animal experiences pain, anxiety, terror, attachment, loneliness, tranquility and stress. Speechless, he is at our mercy.”
The effects of intensive agriculture are devastating: the overcrowding of animals is a source of diseases (some of which are transmissible to humans) and requires the ingestion of antibiotics that end up in our rivers and on our plates. Livestock consumes huge amounts of water (1 liter of milk requires 1,000 liters of water) and generates more greenhouse gases than the transport industry. 75% of ammonia emissions come from livestock and generate acid rain that disrupts photosynthesis and soil nutrients. Prices would go up, but it would be for healthy, local and nature-friendly products. Medicine also advises to eat less meat. In general, the increase in consumer sales prices could be greatly reduced by greater equity and transparency in the distribution of profits in the agricultural sector (producer, processor, distributor).
Don’t forget the animal welfare that we have an obligation to protect according to the Constitution, the Agriculture Act, the Nature Conservation Ordinance and perhaps our conscience? Like us, the animal experiences pain, anxiety, terror, attachment, loneliness, tranquility and stress. Speechless, he is at our mercy. Everything can be read in their eyes and said in their screams.
From now on, the billions of taxpayers’ money must be allocated primarily to organic farming, research and development, to support all those who will have to retrain, and no longer to finance the misleading advertising of Proviande and Swissmilk pretext of wanting to encourage consumers to buy “Swiss”; it only supports the demand for animal products rather than encouraging a shift to more plant-based diets.