Huge tax breaks exist on the purchase of large machines and capital infrastructural. Fuel, fertilisers and agricultural chemicals all have huge subsidies and do not reflect their true cost to society or the environment.
One of the greatest shifts in modern agriculture is the use of foodstuffs such as soya and palm oil husks as artificial feed for animals like cattle and pigs, this has allowed them to be concentrated in smaller areas and the result of this is greater incidences of density dependant diseases such as bTB.
Britain's grazing pasture is being slowly, but surely, converted to arable land, creating an 'agri desert' devoid of wild animal life and causing the loss of many of our favourite wildlife species. Not only are our cows and pigs suffering in horrendous conditions, the huge arable conversion of our countryside destroying native wildlife, but the true cost of this policy is the colossal destruction of the planet's most valuable tropical rainforests. The commercial growing of palm oil plantations and soya fields is wiping out tropical rainforests at a truly frightening pace. The economic driver to grow these crops is not human growth in population but the drive to produce cheap meat for western consumption, as a lifestyle choice at the expense of our environment.
The landowner can benefit in many ways such as when they expand the buildings and gaining planning permission for huge new cattle sheds, the capital gains on their land value is tax free, while the costs of the building can be offset against income taxes.
If a rent was levied in all the counties of the world those seeking to destroy tropical rainforests for soya and palm oil production would have to pay for the privilege, as the farmland they create would attract a yearly rental charge. The cost of this destruction would flow through into animal feeds and natural pasture would once again become economically viable for the grazing of cattle. Pristine wildlife habitat would have no rental charge and as such would be valued as as soon as someone destroyed the forest they would have to pay a yearly rent for doing so.
This policy would mean meat would become more expensive, but it would reflect its true cost and such a policy would actually increase human health and allow more food to become available for human consumption , increasing our food security and helping save the poor from starvation.
- 1. bTB is passed from animal to animal by aerosol in the form of close, mouth to mouth, transmission
- 2. bTB is a ‘progressive’ disease not a black and white issue – the idea of ‘skin reactors’, the current method of detection is very flawed
- 3. Cattle infect badgers but probably not the other way round (not one shred of real evidence exists for badger to cattle transmission, only inference conjecture)
- 4. bTB is dormant for many years (if not decades in some animals) and this is the real ‘reservoir’ of infection –there is no real evidence of wild animal to cattle transmission. The best data available, from the studies done in Belgium, show that wild animal transmission has no statistical influence on the epidemiology
- 5. The most probable culprit of the rise in bTB is when strict quarantine laws where relaxed 40 years ago, the bTB we see today is just the epidemiological statistical results of that relaxation, magnified by larger herd sizes (increases the chance a ‘dormant carrier’ infecting a herd) and greater densities in cattle sheds.
- 6. Many cattle diseases, not just bTB, have increased over that time, pointing the finger to industry practices and animal husbandry issues
- 7. Stress and ‘unnatural’ diet may (and I stress may as no real evidence) play a role in increasing the progression and expression of bTB in cattle