"It's always the outlook of humans that decides the morality of actions. I always wonder who gave us that right."An extract from a thoughtful and challenging email received May 19th 2010 from our correspondent, Christine Bijl, in the Netherlands
"More and more governments see themselves confronted by the public opinions about animal welfare. And they try to adjust their measures and legislation to gain wide support from the public.
They do not seem to succeed very well.
If we look at the measures taken in Holland against Q-fever, the public protested about pregnant animals being killed. On the other hand, the public protested as well about the government being too late to take more drastic measures before with so many people sick as a result. As for the moral views regarding the Q-fever handling, the animals don't/didn't suffer from the culling. It was done very carefully and well. The brutality in this case is not the killing but keeping so many animals together.
The same thing was discussed about the little billies born every year on dairy farms. They get separated from the mother after birth and after a few days are sent off to fattening farms and then a few weeks later they are transported again to Spain and Portugal for slaughter. I believe that is immoral. I have had many 'angry' discussion about this, because I believe the poor things are better off being killed right after birth and then disposed of, than being dragged all over Europe. But the farmers say that it is immoral to kill them without use. As if our use of animals makes it alright to kill them. It was the Bluetongue outbreak in 2007 that changed the handling of billies, because they could not be exported anymore. Well, I rest my case re morals and ethics ...
Well, these are difficult discussions and it's always the outlook of humans that decides the morality of actions. I always wonder who gave us that right."