'People think Wageningen has turned into a bio-industry club.'
The continuing debate about intensive livestock farming has prompted a large organic poultry farm to end its relationship with Wageningen UR. This was reported by professor of Entomology Marcel Dicke in an interview with Resource (see page 12). 'Last week one of our partners cancelled the collaboration because of Aalt Dijkhuizen's statements. The response was prompted by the article headed 'Organic farming damages environment', in the Telegraaf of 12 January, in which Dijkhuizen responded to the animal rights organization Wakker Dier's campaign against force-fed chickens.
According to Dicke, relations with this company were good. The entomologists sourced chicken blood there for breeding mosquitoes that can spread the West Nile virus. Dicke wants to enter into dialogue to mend the relationship. 'Of course we will try to explain that there are other perspectives in Wageningen than this one.'
In Dicke's view, Wageningen is currently alienating itself from people who feel a bond with it. 'People we have worked with for years on sustainability issues can no longer relate to the noises coming from Wageningen. People feel Wageningen has turned into a bio-industry club.'