I’ve already expressed my opposition to any proposed ag gag laws and related desire for more transparency, so today I’m going to be brief and blunt as I extend it.
Intensive livestock farming needs to stop. Here are a few reasons why:
- it concentrates effluence, leading to water, air and soil pollution as well as loss of social amenity for those who live nearby;
- it drives increased meat consumption (which in turn drives increased monoculture grain production to feed livestock instead of people, which in turn drives further deforestation, etc, ad nauseam) – the only reason chicken and pork are consumed in the vast quantities they are is due to growing numbers of these animals in sheds;
- it forces you ‘to get big or get out’, which has meant a concentration of farming to fewer, bigger farms and the loss of regional livelihoods across Australia (and the global north). There were about 50,000 pig farmers in Australia in the 1960s – now there are just 660, and yet production is higher now;
- it leads to a higher incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which makes human illnesses harder to treat (not to mention non-human illnesses);
- it’s wrong to confine an animal in a cage for the entirety of its life.
The first four points are virtually indisputable, so I’ll say a couple of things about the last one.
Some people obviously believe it is not wrong to raise animals for meat in cages. Their ethical code differs from mine, just as a vegan abolitionist’s code differs from mine.
I say it’s unethical to cage animals. Vegan abolitionists say it’s unethical to kill and eat animals.
I have pursued a life as a free-range pig farmer because I believe so strongly that people should have the choice of genuine pastured meat to help them stop eating animals raised in sheds and cages.
I call myself an ethical farmer because we raise our animals on the paddocks in a way we believe is ethical. I do not say this to suggest all other farmers are unethical, however, as I’ve said, I do believe it is unethical to raise animals in cages.
If you call your produce ‘farm fresh’ or ‘natural’, are you suggesting everyone else’s produce is rotten and fake? No? I didn’t think so.
Some animal rights activists spend their lives trying to take footage of what happens in intensive farms because they believe so strongly that it is wrong to confine, kill, and eat animals.
These activists are targeting intensive livestock farms, as well as live export. If you’re not confining animals on land or on a ship, they’re not likely to sneak in and film your operation. And if you share your own story, open your doors, and crucially, do what you say you’re doing, it’s very hard for someone else to catch you out.
They are the canary in the mine, people, and if you don’t let the animals out you might get shafted.
I would genuinely like to see a gentle transition that supports family farmers as they move away from intensive animal farming, not a shutdown of the industry that ruins lives while trying to protect animal welfare. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but it does need to change.
Politicians may make more laws, but whistleblowers will find a way to uncover what they believe is an injustice, so why not just stop the injustice?
Let them eat grass!
PS Russ Patterson wrote a response to my original transparency post on Ann Britton’s blog. I’ve responded to his arguments there.