A farmer cares more about animals than money
Any livestock farmer will tell you that animal welfare is a top priority, especially on larger farms. Without happy, well-looked-after animals, you cannot make a living from livestock farming. So, like with any business, making money is essential, but livestock intensification is not about skipping over the basics for animal welfare.
The main goal of any farmer is to generate an income while producing high-quality products that are market-conform. And livestock farming in Europe includes a wide diversity of practices and production methods. So why is it that one term, “intensive farming“, is so often used to portray a negative picture of farming?
The livestock sector has for some time tried to develop a more neutral terminology that could apply to modern, resource-efficient production models. But there will always be difficulties with trying to move beyond the buzz words, especially in media reporting terms.
But no matter the terminology or practices involved, every European livestock farm is subject to strict rules that include animal welfare under the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes. Farming practices considered intensive are an advanced way of farming where, among others, animal health and welfare-related issues, the responsible use of animal genetic resources, sustainable animal nutrition and feeding are closely monitored.
Keeping animals in good health based on improved genetic selection, balanced feed, and advanced monitoring tools will also maximize farmers’ incomes. In this context, what is good for animals is also good for farmers.
The many different types of farming practices in Europe provide populations with a regular supply of safe and affordable milk, meat, fish and eggs. And the modern farming models are quite simply a development in farming that mirrors the development of modern societies.