Why are country folk so angry about the arrival of factory farms capable of housing tens of thousands of pigs?
If you accept factory farming in principle – and the Dutch with their love of cheap pork have done just that – why should it matter how many animals you keep?
If it is okay to keep 100 pigs growing up in small pens without natural light, then it is okay to keep 20,000 in the same conditions.
Nor does it matter if you build a pig shed with more than one floor – it is a far more efficient use of land after all. And the more animals are kept under one roof, the more efficiently factory farmers can operate in terms of food, energy and transport as well as smell and nuisance reduction.
It is as if protesters want to preserve the illusion that there is something natural about the way modern pork is produced.
But factory farming is not about the countryside and preserving a rural way of life. It is about profit margins, economies of scale and getting maximum meat for minimum expenditure.
So of course, such enterprises have no place in the countryside. They should be on industrial estates with the rest of Holland’s manufacturing sector. Massive metal sheds in the countryside are a blot on the Dutch landscape. And the pigs themselves won’t notice the difference.
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