Only a few miles from where I am typing this the needlessly cruel practice of live animal exports has started again in Ramsgate Kent.
Understanding that a small loss of income, say from not being allowed to live export sheep, will make the sheep farmed on ‘marginal’ land not worth farming. Thus a number of livelihoods will be ruined, and so a body of people are highly motivated to campaign on an issue to protect their livelihood/privilege (the privilege being the landowners of tenanted farms in marginal areas). Thus the government is constantly pushed by people with the motivation and means to lobby for such a vile practice of causing such huge animal suffering.
My favourite saying at the moment is:
The real tragedy of private landownership is that those on the margin do all they can to farm areas; robbing them of their wildlife value when we should be letting marginal areas revert to nature. So uplands and wetlands and vast swathes of valuable ‘ecological services’ are destroyed for no real economic advantage and the detriment of the majority of the country. This is why all marginal land in the UK should be held in common so its use is best decided for us all and not the selfish needs of an individual. This is the exact opposite of what economists are taught in the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ which was merely propaganda for the enclosure acts. The truth is that the commons was a wonderful way making the best use of marginal land, giving balance to community that used it and protecting its sustainability.
Governments of any hue will not challenge privilege/landowners unless forced to. Direct action, organisation, education and excellent PR are the remedy to the animal cruelty of live exports. But a more systematic way of dealing with the problem would be creating a greater divide between the cost of meat and vegetables, whereby the externalities of meat production are contained in their cost.
These issues would be best achieved by following Caroline Lucas’s proposals for a ‘Land Value Tax’ as she is proposing in Parliament today in her private members bill. It would solve a lot of other problems as well by taking away the monopoly privilege of owning land. LVT would systematically stop so many distortions created by the Landowner lobby and not just marginal farmers seeking to cut corners on animal welfare. It would turn all of our land into ' the commons' yet retain ownership and control in the hands that can use the land most effectively for the benefit of all.
The people, Carlo Nero & Fred Harrison, who made this film, helped Caroline to forward the private members bill: