Worldlog Week 39 – 2009


٢٥ سبتمبر ٢٠٠٩

This week I attended the premiere for the climate change movie called The Age of Stupid (neat title!). The film comprises a number of story lines about people who are directly affected by the consequences of the climate crisis. Their stories were interesting, but the film failed to focus on the thing that produces methane, the most damaging greenhouse gas of all: cattle farming. Cattle farming produces 40% more greenhouse gasses than traffic and transportation combined. This is a glaring omission, as the film only covers the damage caused by aircraft. It makes me happy to know our film about the climate, called Meat the Truth, will premiere this month in Turin, and then again in Indonesia in November.

We will attend the climate summit in Copenhagen this December, and will screen Meat the Truth at the alternative climate conference to be held in Copenhagen at the same time. If you’re in the area, make sure to drop by!

We have also been hard at work to prepare a sequel to Meat the Truth. This one will cover the worrying state of our seas and oceans.

Stichting VROM, a local organisation from Vroomshoop, a bastion of Christian Democrat voters who have banded together to fight against mega stables, has filed a claim of five billion euro with the Province of Overijssel. The organisation so hopes to prevent mega stables of goats, chicken factories and high-rise pig farms from establishing themselves in their province. Mega stables pose a threat to not only the environment and animal welfare and health, but human health, too. Figures and analyses provided by various researchers have shown the disadvantages to setting up mega stables clearly outweigh the advantages. Ammonia and particulate emissions are scarcely dropping at 2 and 4 percent respectively, in fact increases in the general vicinity of the stable are expected.
General Practitioners in areas densely populated by animals are increasingly worried about pigs being infected with antibiotic resistant MRSA bacteria. Currently half of all pig keepers are infected. There is also a direct connection between the dangerous Q fever and factory farming.

Meanwhile the residents of places such as the Municipality of Grubbenvorst, who have been fighting hard these past few years against a pig factory of 30,000 pigs and 1.3 million chickens, are paying the societal costs. Over the coming years they will be confronted with particulate emissions as well as a terrible stench and noise pollution – just so a few entrepreneurs can realise their megalomaniacal dreams. It’s time for us as a civilisation to focus on our core values in the decision-making process instead of falling back on economic development and profit margins. We are standing at a crossroads where one road leads to an intensification of industrial cattle farming that reduces living beings to mere things. The other road leads to a society where animals are treated with respect. I cannot believe that parties in power, such as the CDA and ChristenUnie, who claim to place great importance on such concepts as stewardship, are choosing the first road. Pierre Troubetzkoy said on the matter: “How can people hope for mercy from what is above them if they themselves have no mercy for what is under them?”

The discussion about animal diseases, meat consumption, climate damage caused by intensive cattle farming and mega stables is heating up thanks to our influence. No one can evade these topics anymore, and it seems the tide is turning internationally also.

Especially after Nobel Prize winner Pachauri stated that we, without shadow of a doubt, will need to switch to at least to one meat-free day a week and introduce a tax on dairy, fish and meat.

The Meat Free Mondays campaign team reacted enthusiastically to the chef’s hat I wore on Prinsjesdag. We are going to continue unabated this coming week with a proposition for law to ban the breeding of fur bearing animals in the Netherlands!

See you next week!