Science - October 26, 2010

'Critics of livestock farms overlook economic interest'

Text:
Joris Tielens

Livestock farming should not be guided only by concerns from society. Its importance for the Dutch export sector sometimes calls for other considerations.

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This was the message given by Christianne Bruschke to 250 company economists in the Forum building when the Business Economics Group celebrated its 50 th anniversary last Friday. Bruschke is the highest veterinary officer in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.
According to her, community organizations which disapprove of livestock farming do not always consider how important the agriculture sector is for the Dutch economy. 'The new coalition agreement emphasizes the importance of the Netherlands as an agricultural exporter. Although social acceptance is important, this should not be the only issue which requires attention.'
Marc Jansen of the supermarket branch organization CBL also spoke out against criticisms from community groups. 'NGOs are technophobes', he said, referring to criticisms at pesticides, gene technology and nanotechnology. 'And yet, technological production can raise sustainability.'
Famous alumni
The seminar was held on the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of the Business Economics Group. Set up in 1960 by Professor Riemsdijk, the group has grown in fifty years to 35 staff members strong. It has brought forth more than two thousand theses in this period. It has produced famous alumni such as ex-minister Braks and the current executive chairman of Wageningen UR Aalt Dijkhuizen.

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