Here's who decides that we will eat six-legged pigs

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Here's who decides that we will eat six-legged pigs

Projects of six-legged pigs, chickens killed with sticks, illegal workers who transport turkey carcasses at night, politicians in favor of the most shameless genetic engineering. It is not the plot of a dystopian film by Yorgos Lanthimos, but some of the scenes from the documentary film Food for profit, made by the journalist Giulia Innocenzi and the director Paolo D'Ambrosi on the theme of intensive farming, recently released in theaters on the Peninsula. I am not writing about this, I state, so that you avoid eating the Passover lamb or to induce you to become vegan. Omnivores like me are the ones who should be most worried. At stake are our money and our health, as well as ethics.

In intensive farming in Italy, in Polesine and near Rome, as well as in Germany, Spain and Poland, cameras show the real conditions of the animals that arrive on our tables. Floors dirty and never washed for a year, cows lying in their urine suffering from mastitis and without care, chickens killed by banging their heads against metal boards or crushed, just because they do not correspond to the “standard” measurements set by the meat industry .

Public funds for unhealthy structures

The documentary shows how intensive farming causes scorched earth even in the territories where they are installed. In the film many operators work illegally, without qualifications or under the threat of gangmastering. The inhabitants of rural areas are the first to lose their health, living in areas super-polluted by the ammonia and methane massively emitted by these plants. With homes losing value and people suffering from nauseating odors, these facilities, rather than generating shared income and community, create a desert around them. We would think of exceptions and “bad apples”, but that production and business model seems destined to generate more harm than good.

Knocking on the doors of farmers or meat processing industries, Innocenzi and the activists who help her with the investigation are faced with a wall of silence and threats, which border on nighttime chases. Why would those responsible be held accountable instead? The atrocity of intensive farming is often generously financed by the European Union with public funds through the Common Agricultural Policy. An intensive facility can receive up to 500 thousand euros a year. The prices of the slices remain low, but the final bill is very high. Is it all Brussels' fault? Let's stop the clichés and give first and last names to those responsible. The film features Pekka Pesonen, general secretary of Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella under which dozens of European agricultural unions gather, including the Italians Confagricoltura and Coldiretti. Pesonen even denies the existence of “intensive farming” in Europe, but the numbers say the exact opposite. In recent years, small farms have decreased, while livestock farms have become increasingly larger and concentrated in a few hands.

Six-legged pigs

Politics has its share of responsibility. In various cases the MEPs who deal with agriculture are themselves producers who obtain generous European funds thanks to the laws they approve, as admitted by the Spanish parliamentarian Clara Aguilera of the socialist group. Another is the passage that horrified me: when a fake lobbyist (collaborator of the film) proposes to some MEPs a project of new genomic techniques (new generation GMOs) to create six-legged pigs, in order to have more hams from a single animal. A provocation that should have generated indignation. And instead. A European Commission official suggests testing the idea in Africa, making citizens accept it with the excuse of having to fight world hunger. Chills.

Thanks to a hidden camera, we see the MEP of the Democratic Party Paolo De Castro, promoter of laws to protect Typical Geographical Indications, who does not reject this hypothesis of genetic engineering, suggesting that he is willing to promote it. De Castro, who sits on the benches of the Socialists and Democrats and has twice been Minister of Agriculture, is also president of Filiera Italia, a foundation that claims to defend Italian agri-food excellence. Who knows if Elly Schlein shares this strange idea of ​​excellence, full of Frankenstein pigs, or if for her four legs are enough and more.

Poor creatures

In its latest version, the offspring of the Green Deal, the CAP should have put a stop to the proliferation of intensive facilities, with thousands of animals crammed into very small and unhygienic spaces. In the fields she aimed to reduce pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Between the war in Ukraine and farmers' protests, the Green Architecture of the CAP has been largely dismantled. The large producers of livestock and intensive agriculture prevailed, that which produces corn, wheat and soya, often destined to feed animals rather than humans. There is no point in beating around the bush: preventing the proliferation of these structures should be a priority political proposal in any electoral program. In a society that pays particular attention to pets, having more respect for those we eat is fundamental, even for those who work in the sector. In the meat industry it is not the beasts but the men, with their cruelty and crazy experiments, who are “poor creatures”.