Organisation - September 13, 2012

Dijkhuizen moves debate on intensive farming up a gear

Criticism from Wageningen researchers. Dijkhuizen bemoans emotional response.

Chairman Dijkhuizen made a plea for more intensive farming on Monday 3 September in Trouw. 'There will be two billion more people on the planet in 2050. On top of that, the emerging economies will be more prosperous and consumers there will be eating more meat and dairy products. That means we will need to double food production levels per hectare.' He repeated the message later that day on the two main TV news programmes.
Dijkhuizen's statements led to a debate about the issues on Twitter, Foodlog and trouw.nl. His argument met with both declarations of support within Wageningen UR and fierce opposition: nine scientists wrote a letter to Trouw, there was a small demo by students in Forum and resource.wur.nl was inundated with 40 comments. Many of these critics felt that, as the head of an academic institution, Dijkhuizen should have emphasized the diversity of views, given that the scientific jury is still out.
Dijkhuizen had not expected this response. He is pleased to see a debate, but preferably one that keeps sentiments out of it. 'I am surprised to see how difficult even scientists find it to stick to facts in debates rather than emotions. That is rather a cause for concern.'  

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