dinsdag 10 januari 2012

Bio-industry in the Netherlands

At the end of the forties one of the aims of the Dutch government was to assure food was cheap and available for everyone.

In the fifties it became clear that the growth and intensification of business was inevitable, because of the increased prosperity, to meet the demand for meat. Intensive farming that is the bio-industry was born. The Dutch government argued that agriculture and livestock had to experience the same kind of growth as seen before in other industries. Mechanization of farming and agriculture were encouraged, small businesses were liquidated or combined in large industries.

At the end of the fifties, the European Economic Community was founded resulting in a larger market for agriculture and livestock products. Expansion, mechanization, rationalization and specialisation were the key issues at 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 as much as possible. Experimental farms were established where scientists did studies and tests, for example increasing the number of piglets a sow can give birth to annually. These experimental farms still exist today!

In the following years many major changes were made in livestock 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 from then on could also be kept in small cages on grids. Everything to generate more revenue per surface. 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 are considered as products in the bio-industry, as much animals as possible have to be produced in the shortest amount of time and taking up the least amount of space. 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 or 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 animals life expectancy 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 risks. Many animals don’t make it to the defined slaughter age, but that is perceived as economically acceptable.

Alarmingly is the use of large amounts of antibiotics in the bio-industry. These antibiotics come in handy for farmers, because it works both growth enhancing and inhibitory to virus
es. It is estimated that in the Dutch livestock sector 400.000 kg antibiotics are used annually. The antibiotics end up in the final product, and thus ultimately in the consumer. The feeding for 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.

In southern European countries it is possible to slaughter the animals a few cents cheaper then in Holland, so many animals are put on transport to foreign countries. For days the animals are trapped without any food or water. If at birth it shows that an animal may not be sufficient enough the animal is killed immediately. The current legislation doesn’t talk about animals, but about products or kilograms per square meter.

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


Tens of thousands of chickens 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 chickens and stuff them into crates. This happens so roughly that many chicks contract wing or bone fractures. When the crate is closed often a chick 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 they are unloaded on a conveyor belt. This conveyor takes them to a place where they are manually put on hooks (by their legs). Then they are run to a low voltage electrified bath by their heads. 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 through a rotating blade, where their throat is cut through. It often happens that the throat of the chick is not sufficiently cut through, so the “work” is manually finished.


Chest calves are placed in a box after birth in which they can move as little as possible, so the calf can’t grow any muscular tissue. The calf never gets to drink milk from his own mother, they get fed a bucket of milk twice a day. This milk contains little iron, a nutrient necessity for the protection of the calf’s health. Because of the little iron the calves take in they are sure to suffer from anaemia. This anaemia makes sure their flesh stay white in stead of turning red as it is supposed to. The white meat of the calves brings up more money in the market so farmers keep the calves deliberately sick.

Ducks and geese

Ducks are confined in individual cages and geese are kept in small communal areas. The ducks get two times a day and the geese three times a day a 30 inch 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 stomach of the animals. Beside that the ducks and geese only get salted water so thirst can 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!


Because of the many measures applied in the bio-industry Holland is the most cattle dense country in the entire world. Every year the bio-industry “produces” 450.000.000 animals.

The Netherlands daily exports 1.000.000 “pieces” of live poultry, 20.000 pigs and 60.000 piglets. Approximately 5.2 million living farm animals leave the Netherlands annually. In the first place because it’s a few cents cheaper to slaughter the animals abroad and in the second place because the countries which import the animals prefer to slaughter the animals in their own way or country.

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. The large amount of money is spend in this fashion is easy to justify when you see the millions of profits these companies make every year. Holland is one of the biggest meat exporting country of the world.

Source: Green Nationalists

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