SP calls for enquiry into future of factory farming

16 December 2009

SP calls for enquiry into future of factory farming

A parliamentary commission should be established to look into the future of factory farming, SP Member of Parliament Henk van Gerven proposed during today’s debate in the Dutch national parliament on approaches to the problem of Q-fever, the latest of a series of maladies to affect farm animals in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries. “After mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, swine fever and now Q-fever, it’s high time that we had a thorough rethink regarding the future of intensive livestock farming. We are constantly treating the symptoms, instead of looking into the causes. A commission is needed to look at how we can prevent this kind of outbreak in the future. Carrying on along the present course is not an option.”

Henk van GervenThe government’s lax approach to Q-fever means that it is probable that this year six people will have died and more than 2300 become sick. “34,500 pregnant goats will have to be slaughtered,” said Van Gerven. “This could have been avoided had the government intervened in time. So it’s both desirable and necessary to establish an enquiry which can come forward with recommendations to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.”
As long ago as 2001 the Wijffels Commission expressed the view that we should be asking ourselves whether we want intensive livestock farming to continue in the Netherlands at all. “The central question should be how we see the future shape of livestock farming here. In my view it should be done in such a manner that public health and animal health are not harmed,” said Van Gerven. “The central principle in this is that economic interests must never come before the health of people or of animals.”

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