Organisation - April 28, 2010

Megasheds

Some time ago, my twelve-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the minister Gerda Verburg in which she asked if pigs could have a good life in pig flats (which she learned about in school).

A few weeks later, she received a letter, signed personally by Verburg, who replied that the pigs would have a very good time in their flats. They would be very well taken care of there and even be given toys. My daughter asked me if this were true, to which I answered that if the minister wrote about it in that way, it should be so too. I could see from the expression in my daughter's eyes that she was not totally convinced.
I don't know how good a life pigs can have in flats, but it doesn't feel right. A pig should be allowed to wallow in mud, lie with its legs fully stretched out on a thick bed of fresh straw, its tail curling from pleasure, with a timeless glint in the little eyes, as if to say: 'I don't care if the world makes a fuss about everything else, I'm enjoying myself lying here'.
The provincial government of North Brabant has decided to put a stop to the growth of intensive livestock farming. For the nature, animal welfare and public health, a loud 'no' has sounded against the construction of mega-barns and the continued expansion of farming concerns in the vicinity of nature reserves and at the edge of built-up areas. Brabant: the province of conservative strongholds and a powerful agriculture lobby. Brabant: about which Victor Westhoff waxes lyrical concerning the stench of the Catholic farmers' cooperative, manure and musty sludge everywhere. Brabant, noble Brabant. I cut out the newspaper articles and hang them above my desk. When the going gets tough, I'd look at them, and know that miracles do happen.  

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