Down on the farm.

When devising feed additives for farms, there’s one thing you always have to keep in mind. No matter how wonderfully you boost the health of those animals, if the Stuff costs more than the extra profit to the farm, the farmer won’t buy it.

Farms are not there to make the countryside pretty. They are businesses, and as in any business, if it costs more to produce what you produce than you’ll get back by selling the product, the business will die. Farmers are concerned about the health of their animals, certainly, but a feed additive that means they’ll make a loss on their work is no use. Soon they’ll have no animals and no farm.

It’s simple economics and yes, it does mean that the animals only exist to support the farm. If the farm goes under, the animals are not set free. They are all shipped off to the abbatoir. I’m afraid the Veggie dream of saving all farm animals by not eating them is just a dream. Stop eating pork today, and there will not be a living pig in the UK by the end of the week. Breeding animals will be shipped overseas, as will the meat from the remaining slaughtered animals. If everyone stopped eating meat, every single farm animal will die. Every one.

It sounds callous but the reality isn’t. Well, not always, there are shitty farms but they do get inspected and they do get closed down. Farmers who take care of their animals find that they need less veterinary attention, grow faster and are less prone to disease. So on the whole, farmers look after their stock very well.

This does mean that the animals don’t get any say in what they eat or drink and have to submit to regular health checks to make sure they haven’t caught anything nasty. But you’re going to eat those animals. If you’re vegetarian, you might include eggs, cheese, milk etc in your diet. You aren’t going to object to vaccinating animals against Salmonella so it doesn’t come crawling out of your eggs, nor will you object to removing a diseased dairy cow from the herd. Neither would I. It’s common sense. One diseased cow can contaminate a tanker-load of milk, after all.

You wouldn’t want to be a farm animal though, would you? Go where you’re told, eat what you’re given, live your life under total control, never explore, never see any of the world beyond your field or your shed, never deviate from the herd, exist solely for the benefit of the farm. It’s better than being dead but it’s not a wonderful life.

It sounds a bit like this, doesn’t it –

President of the European Men’s Health Forum Dr Ian Banks says: ‘This is not just about health. Premature male death undermines the economy, undermines families, undermines women and their health and undermines our social security and health services.

‘Europe will have far fewer men of working age in the years to come so if we’re to succeed economically we need them to be in decent health.’

No, it’s not just about health. We all know by now that none of it ever really was. It’s all about productivity. They have to keep us all healthy so we’ll produce for them. We exist only for the benefit of the economy. Just like on the farm.

And when we are no longer productive, we are no longer of any interest to the farmer. If he has room he might leave us to die of old age or of cold in a field. If not, well…

Don’t see the connection? Okay, just settle down in your pen and don’t worry about it. It’ll soon be feeding time.

12 comments for “Down on the farm.

  1. Lord T
    June 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Well farmers sometimes get trampled by cows. It would be sad if that was the case.

    I think that they think we are sheep in a field. They have a few wolves in among them. Wolves watching and sharpening their teeth while waiting

    • June 23, 2011 at 3:54 am

      Lately, some cows have worked out how to open gates. That must scare our own farmers to death.

  2. patrick Harris
    June 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Having recently spent a week in the depths of the Cotswolds (Fordwells) I have never seen so many farm gates protected by such stout padlocks and windings of barbed wire, the prime purpose I presume is to keep the humans out because nowhere did I see cows, sheep or any other “farm” animal, just grass, rusting water troughs, even rustier farming equipment, the padlocks and barbed wire was all bright and shiny new.
    Is there a food shortage?

    • ivan
      June 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      No, but there just might be an outbreak of travelleritus.

    • June 23, 2011 at 3:55 am

      Ivan’s spotted it. Empty field plus caravans equals ‘right to stay as long as we like, innit?’.

      I bet the field with the bull in it isn’t locked.

  3. Voice of Reason
    June 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I certainly gives one pause, when you consider the attacks in the US and UK on private pensions. Is the next step Soylent Green?

    • June 23, 2011 at 3:56 am

      For cattle, that already happened. It caused mad cow disease.

  4. fake
    June 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    *I’m afraid the Veggie dream of saving all farm animals by not eating them is just a dream. Stop eating pork today, and there will not be a living pig in the UK by the end of the week.*

    I’m going to comment on this, because it’s a common anti veggie argument, and is rather ignorant.

    And it assumes veggies are complete morons.

    Ok, some are, but then all groups have their stupids.

    Most veggies know the animals will not be happily adopted as pet’s if everyone goes veggie. Yes, if we stop eating meat then the animals alive now, won’t be alive tomorrow, but then we also won’t see another generation of animals bred just for food in small metal sheds, and another, and another etc. And that the land would be turned back into either bush (which would support more life and biodiversity) or veg farming (remember all those newspapers telling us how meat farming takes significantly more land, water and other resources per KG of food produced).

    Now, there are holes in that argument (Like we sometimes use animal poop for fertilizer, or you can’t get milk without killing the calf)

    But their are holes in every argument, and you can probably find solutions to them.

    Me? I would eat meat if I knew the animal had been cared for to a certain standard, and killed in a “humane” way (quick). Practically speaking however that isnt going to happen unless I herd my own animals, so by being veggie I can atleast minimize harm by proxy.

    (Yea, I know this is all an analogy about the EU, but I have nothing new to say about that)

  5. June 23, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I’m not anti veggie. I don’t care what anyone eats as long as it’s not me.

    The argument on resources per kg ignores the nutrition per kg. I can survive on one rabbit a week if I get nothing else. Humans can’t digest cellulose so most of that plant material is just fibre. It goes right through. So if you’re living on plant material you have to eat a lot more of it to get one rabbit’s worth of nutrition.

    Not a problem for me, eat whatever suits you. However, the argument on resources per kg is designed to make us give up meat, not for any sensible reason but for a Green agenda.

    Milk, I don’t care about. Rarely use it and wouldn’t miss it. Fertiliser, there are ways around. Growing legumes is one way to boost the nitrogen content of soil and there are artificial fertlisers. So no, we don’t ‘need’ animals.

    However, if you want to feed this entire population on vegetable matter, all the animals have to go. All of them. The rabbits especially. The hedgerow dwellers, the badgers, the foxes, all of them. All that land will be needed to produce enough crops to feed an entirely vegetarian population. No crop-eaters can be tolerated and there won’t be room for any other animals.

    Sure, you’ll get more kg per unit resource but most of those kgs will be indigestible fibre. So you’ll need an awful lot of kg. It could be done but there is an awful price to pay.

    I am not anti-veggie. I have no problem at all with anyone not wanting to eat meat. They don’t ever have to justify themselves. There is no anti-veggie movement, hardly any non-veggies care at all.

    There is a concerted anti-meat movement, coming not from vegetarians as such but from the militant Greens. Good luck to them.

    Before they finally win, they might do well to consider what they are made of.

    Some of we meat-eaters aren’t fussy.

    • June 23, 2011 at 5:27 am

      ” It could be done but there is an awful price to pay.”

      Brussels sprouts? Better ramp up the sewer systems….

    • Lord T
      June 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Rabbit doesn’t have enough fat for us to survive. We cannot live by rabbit alone.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation

      Now rabbit a few times a week with pigeon, chicken, etc. as alternative protein with an occasional environmentalist thrown in works out fine.

  6. June 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    You wouldn’t want to be a farm animal though, would you? Go where you’re told, eat what you’re given, live your life under total control, never explore, never see any of the world beyond your field or your shed, never deviate from the herd, exist solely for the benefit of the farm. It’s better than being dead but it’s not a wonderful life.

    Bit different from humans though, I should have thought.

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