Our vision for our common future

At the moment animal welfare is becoming a hot issue in the political world. A Party for the Animals has recently been created in France and a number of candidates for the presidential elections there include animal welfare in their programs and a manifesto for animals has been prepared and sent to them...

On the other hand, there are other matters that are no less important. One is the crisis in the agricultural sector which has lasted for many decades. Farmers in the livestock industry have been in difficulties for a long time and it will only get worse. Until now they have not had any particular vision for the future, been pampered by the government, and regularly given financial help to keep the farmers working and producing. Many small farmers barely scrape a living or have gone bankrupt. They can't find anyone to take over their business. Children very often want something else better than taking over the farm of their parents. Farms are being sold to the neighbouring farm. So farms are getting bigger and bigger, employing fewer and fewer staff and animal welfare is getting worse in the name of efficiency. Keeping large numbers of animals together creates not only welfare problems but problems of disease, excess manure production and water and air pollution etc.

In addition, the debate in our modern society today is starting to focus on ethics: can we continue to use animals to feed ourselves, for our clothes, for our entertainment, for research, etc. Every day new studies are published. Scientific research proves that animals are sensitive, sentient, intelligent, that they can feel all sorts of emotions and that we should abandon the widespread idea that we can exploit these animals as machines.

Another important issue that may be neglected when discussing the environmental, ethical and economic disaster that is the raising of live stock, is climate change. The issue of climate change and the impact animal farming has on the environment is widely ignored in discussions on national, international and global level. Animal farming, thanks to its associated emissions and the change in land use is probably the second biggest pollutor and cause of climate change. Although saving individual animals is useful and directly rewarding, we often ask ourselves what is the point, as our whole biosphere is in danger.

All these issues plus health issues (obesity and diseases, bacterial resistance to antibiotics), deforestation, freshwater shortages, extinction of wild animals and humane issues (famine in other parts of the world) have convinced us that large scale animal farming will disappear in the long term. This might seem shocking but there is no way around it. We should stop pretending to young people that they can have a life long career in raising livestock and that it's worth investing in new infrastructure. The crisis in the livestock industry won't go away! It is a waste of money subsidising the farmers so that they can carry on with business as usual. Our governments should invest in reconversion, retraining of farmers, helping them to get other jobs elsewhere. And looking for solutions to improve animal welfare should not be a specific goal per se, but should be done parallel to the process of phasing out animal farming. It should be clear that we are talking about the far future. We are very well aware that this is a situation that will not be solved in one or two years, even in 20 or 30 years. But we can't pretend and need to act fast. Climate change is already happening and it will only get worse, unless we do something about it now.

We are disappointed that these two issues, climate change and ethics are not or hardly dealt with in the manifeste Animal Politique, in the programs of the political parties for animals in France, by the deputes and senators, by the (french)government, by the EU.....

On the 7th of november, the starting date of COP 22 in Marrakech, we already sent a more detailed letter (see Annexe) about this problem to the ministers Le Foll and Royal, the deputes and senator. This letter is a reaction to the few replies we got on this letter.