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Green Week: Animal-friendly food costs more

The Local · 19 Jan 2012, 16:07

Published: 19 Jan 2012 16:07 GMT+01:00

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“Consumers who today complain about so-called factory farming, have ultimately supported exactly this type of farming with their purchase of cheap food and extreme price consciousness,” Heinrich Graf von Bassewitz of the National Union of Farmers (DBV) told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Thursday.

The International Green Week runs from Friday to January 29, featuring food and exhibitions from around the world. But it has become a lightning rod for criticism of industrial farming, particularly after recent reports of excessive antibiotic use in German farms.

The German government is keen to demonstrate its support for the more human, environmentally-aware elements of the industry.

Agricultural Minister Ilse Aigner said on Thursday she was working with industry to promote “an ecologically sustainable, economically viable, socially responsible and resource-efficient economy.”

Aigner said she wanted farmers to make more efficient use of the most resource-rich and valuable land and also wanted to see animal rights strengthened. And under new plans being drawn up, a special label would be put on food products verified as having been produced in a humane way, she said.

In the long run, she told television network ARD, food prices would have to increase.

But Green Party co-leader Renate Künast said the government should go further by, for instance, only subsidising farmers whose businesses meet minimum environmental and animal welfare standards.

Germans demand for meat at low prices has made maintaining high standards difficult, she said, because mass production of meat on the cheap is only possible from factory farming.

DVB President Gerd Sonnleitner said his members would sign up to Aigner’s ideas, although they could mean “heavy costs for our farmers.”

Though Germans are known for demanding high standards in their food, they have also been criticised for being extremely frugal consumers.

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A study by the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries last year found that Germans pay less than shoppers in Italy, Spain or Great Britain.

The Local/DPA/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:49 January 19, 2012 by SteveK
Of course animal friendly food costs more, How else can animal friendly farmers pay for all the suits they dirty when feeding cattle as pictured above...
19:53 January 19, 2012 by raandy
You usually in the USA get what you pay for , but not true here in Germany,here it is let the buyer be ware.or a fool and his money soon parted.
22:11 January 19, 2012 by Jim Brown
Do not bad mouth farmers with your mouth full.

Insecticides herbicides, fungicides and medications that reduce premature death in livestock when used responsibly are why first world countries can worry about obesity rather then starvation.

Today's farmer who wants to be tomorrows farmer use the minimum amount of the above needed to bring his crop to your table. Why? Not because of politically decided government regulation but because doing so allows him to stay in business by controlling expenses. He may work in a nice setting but cost control means the profit used to feed his family.

It is a vital responsibility of government health services to carefully test any chemical used in all industry to understand its good and bad effects. In products used in food production the good bad trade off must be weighted to 99.9% good for human consumers.

Farm (and all domestic) animals must be treated in humane ways but can not be treated as if human. They would not exist if the farmer did not see a value in feeding his family from breeding and raising them.

Finally see my first sentence. Do you want to eat or stave?
00:05 January 20, 2012 by The-ex-pat
I can't get over the picture to go with this article. Office shoes, a suit and tie to feed cows..............
02:44 January 20, 2012 by Raydoggy
One worrd: Monsatano
12:53 January 20, 2012 by Gretl
Where I come from, cattle graze. Butcher shops actually butcher your cattle and wrap it up into nice, white packages.

Feed lots are unnecessary. Support grass-fed cattle and your local farmer. Wouldn't you like to know where your food comes from?
15:00 January 20, 2012 by carlm
With few exceptions, greens are idiots, intent on making rich countries into poor countries in the name of saving the environment. The funny thing is, only rich countries can afford a clean or cleaner environment. Life ain't perfect, you do the best you can with the time and money you have and try to do better in the future.
18:51 January 20, 2012 by Gretl
@carlm - how hard is it to let cattle eat grass? Why would this make rich countries poor?

Germans keep their cattle in barns and feed them silage - a corn product that causes infections, which causes farmers to use antibiotics. Returning animals back to their natural habitat to graze makes for healthier animals.
09:40 January 23, 2012 by heyheyhey

You should spend your life in a pen or a barn, eat silage, and essentially have a life that sucks. Then you can spout your crap about doing the best you can with what you have.

My father's side of our family were farmers. They raised their meat humanely, aka healthy. I guess that wasn't a cost effective way to do things??? You and those like you, the non greens, are idiots! You change how a natural life for living beings was designed to be lived and suddenly you think you are GOD ALMIGHTY with a better plan than that which has led to health for these animals for millennia.

Oh but pardon any of us who question your greedy ways while you kill the people who eat your toxic meat.

You, Carlm,sound quite the typical greedy careless animal exploiter aka meat farmer. You should be ashamed of yourself for how you treat animals or say they should be treated. Let us all run off to our local butcher and buy meat infested with salmonella and E. Coli aka sh!t, and all the other putrid crap we find in the meat supply.

Makes me want to chomp right into a pus burger........yummmmm!!!!!!!!
23:17 January 24, 2012 by cheeba
Gretl, you are so right. Why not have our cows and sheep graze on natural pastures? Then they would have a good life, and I suppose one bad day at the end. We are all Gods creatures.
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