Re: “Is this planet ours to ruin”, Have Your Say, January 4.
Diane Cornelius sets out her views with eloquence and passion, but other folks see things differently. Of course there is cruelty in livestock farming, but “dyed in the wool” animal rights activists use a clever tactic: highlighting such instances and making them seem like normal practice. The splendid BBC TV series “Countryfile” depicts all aspects of farming in the UK. It is very instructive. The UK has one of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world. It’s not perfect, but the aim must be to keep improving these standards, not abolish livestock farming altogether.
Livestock farming and slaughterhouses do cause pollution, but the aim again must be to continually reduce the environmental impact through improved technology and more effective enforcement of existing laws. For example, scientists have recently discovered that adding seaweed to animal feed could reduce methane emissions by around 70 per cent.
The fact is, however, that even if cruelty was eventually totally removed from all livestock farming, and the environmental impact was reduced to nil, the animal rights hardliners would still not be satisfied, because on moral grounds they cannot accept the rearing and slaughter of animals to produce food for human consumption. In that sense their arguments regarding cruelty and pollution are really a smokescreen, and the debate is pointless because the two sides can never compromise their respective positions.