Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
What is your view of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’? Do you see a pattern of fields, divided by hedges and walls, where animals peacefully graze? Do you think all animals have a good and natural life when they produce meat and other products for us to eat and drink? It would be wonderful if this were so but, unfortunately, providing the human population with food and drink relies mostly on big business these days.
There is a lot of opposition to the latest plan to farm 8,000 dairy cows in what amounts to battery conditions in Lincolnshire. Animal rights groups call the proposal an environmental disaster which will condemn animals to dark sheds for most of their lives. Does this feel the right thing to do to other sentient beings whose natural habitat is a field with grass?
Of course, we protest at such treatment and are told that if we want cheap food, this is the way it has to be produced. But do we want or need cheap food? It is a fact that one third of all food bought in this country is thrown away as waste. Consider this. It is shameful to think that we in the rich West waste so much when people in the developing world are hardly surviving.
Don’t forget that we have condemned chickens, ducks and turkeys to lives in concrete sheds and ourselves to eating meat often contaminated with deadly organisms that thrive in such conditions. Can this really be the way forward? Of course not. We must not encourage the production of milk to go any further towards big business and sentence cows to the same lives as factory farmed poultry.
We must endeavour to buy locally produced and free range produce whenever we can. Look for the local label, try to find out where food comes from and if it’s very cheap, ask yourself why?