Foreword: Spring 2020. The climate crisis is more urgent than ever and there is a pandemic, Covid-19 virus. Due to travel limitations and health-risks, Eyes on Animals had to work from home for 3 months. We used this time to create this new website page about our vision for a better future. On this page is also the new film we made about viruses, animal suffering and a different future.
Extensive scientific research shows that plant-based food is better for the planet, the health of people and animal-welfare. With an ever-increasing supply of tasty plant-based products available in most parts of the world, there is also no reason not to go plant-based. Slaughterhouses are already partly switching to plant-based products and restaurants are adjusting their menus. It is a sustainable business decision for them too, and will help ensure future jobs.
EonA will continue to strive towards improving farm animal-welfare and work well with the livestock industry. We recognize that there are well-meaning people in the livestock industry too. But we think it is time to inspire, motivate and support people and companies to move towards plant-based production, for the sake of all of our well-being.
Now, during the Covid-19 crisis, things have become clearer than ever before; life is precious, suffering is scary and the world and its’ animals are too fragile to continue treating them the way we have. Time for Eyes on Animals to be more assertive about our vision for the future and to expand its work by stimulating a switch to, and educating on, plant protein.
Eyes on Animals has always worked well with the livestock industry to improve animal welfare and will continue to do so in the future. We recognize that there are good people in the “livestock”-industry with good intentions, also trying to improve animal welfare and respect the environment and their workers. Because of this we promote them and try to help them succeed in taking pioneer steps to decrease suffering. That is why we have a section on our website reporting on “ Good News” about companies that made positive changes. We also have a section called “Industry Tips” showing better practices we have seen in the field and want to spread so that more members of the livestock industry can learn from them and copy them. We also publish a list of animal farms that we feel have very high standards of animal-welfare and are run by people with good hearts in the Netherlands, so people can buy products directly from them. It is called the “List of Better Farmers”. but is only available in Dutch. There is a growing number of farmers in the Netherlands who are committed to work in a more humane and sustainable way and have united in a great initiative named “Caring Farmers“.
However, even though there are pockets of pioneer farmers, transporters and slaughterhouse managers around the world that are doing things differently and better, the fact is far too many animals continue to suffer horrendously and the majority of the livestock industry has become too fast paced, enormous and global, beyond reason. Just see our short film below to learn about how our farm animals are treated around the world when there is a virus outbreak among them. In many parts of the world there is also a huge lack of knowledge about animal behavior and lack of proper equipment available to make transport and slaughter less painful, and in other parts of the world the knowledge is there but the priority is too much on speed and profit.
For these reasons, Eyes on Animals believes strongly that we should move towards a future that is largely plant-based. Over the years there has been an increasing awareness through science of just how sentient, intelligent and emotional animals are. How wonderful it would be if such animals no longer need to be slaughtered ! Imagine a world where there was plenty of delicious food, even chewy meat-alternatives made with plant-protein, and we didn’t even notice that the meat and dairy was missing on our plates ? Never before has the demand for plant-based foods increased as much as it has in the last few years. Never before has the choice been so varied and widely available as now.
Many people have become aware of the impact the livestock industry has on our planet thanks to more media attention being given to this subject and scientific reports coming out regularly now about the links. One animal virus after another is breaking out, billions of animals have been “culled”. The earth is rapidly being deforested for, among other things, the cultivation of soy for farm-animal feed. The world population is still growing and there is no Planet B.
Slaughterhouse managers and meat companies are also feeling the pressure for higher animal-welfare standards. Less red- meat is being consumed in the western world and more and more videos made public showing horrible suffering taking place inside many slaughterhouses have made them realize they need to keep their eyes open for new business ideas and opportunities. Some meat processing companies are switching entirely or partially to the production of meat substitutes, like plant-protein. This is a smart business choice too, as it means that they are changing with society and can thus better ensure jobs in the future, rather than relying just on the production of one product which may be phased out in the future and leave them with no choice but to close.
Thanks to the Covid-19 crisis it has also been made clear how much of a health risk it is to work closely with animals, especially ones that are kept stressed and in pain, with low immune systems and often diseased. The outbreak of corona most likely originated at a live animal market in China, where all kinds of live animals are crammed together and transmit their viruses to humans – who in turn, due to globalization, spread this virus again. The result is a global pandemic with many human deaths and an uncertain world. A world with a completely collapsed economy, where people continue to lose their businesses or jobs, lose hope and can fall into serious depression and abuse. A world where the poor quickly become victims and suffer greatly, a world where the rich can hold their own…but only for awhile.
And this is not the first, and certainly not the last time. Many zoonoses have preceded the Covid-19 virus such as SARS, MERS, Spanish flu, African swine fever, Q fever, MRSA bacteria, Mad Cow disease, etc. All of which originated due to our desire to eat meat.
The time has come for a more plant-based society. Time for a kinder future.
The benefits are immense. Because of the Corona crisis, with a full stop to massa tourism and all that that entails, we see that nature and the environment can recover. In Asian countries the air pollution has decreased considerably, in Venice the water has become cleaner and fish, seahorses and squids can be seen again. More info can be read under the category below “Planet”.
In a plant-based world farmers can remain farmers but grow plants instead of animalsChances of a pandemic due to animal diseases will be greatly reduced; plant-based food does not pose a risk of pandemics. Less land will be used due to the decreasing need for growing animal feed, so that wild animals will have more space and less encroachment on human settlements. Not relying on the slaughter of animals for protein also means that there is no risk of animals being mistreated, intentionally or unintentionally, on the farm, during transport and at slaughterhouses.
Jobs are preserved, only in a different way and for a different product. After all, we all still have to eat! For example, a livestock truck driver remains a driver but of plants and people working in meat processing plants can continue to work in those plants, but with plant-based proteins instead of animal proteins. New food ideas and companies will sprout up, new food technologies will develop, new opportunities always arrive with each major change. If, together, we choose a more plant-based lifestyle, we choose a better and more sustainable world.
Eyes on Animals will continue to work as it has done in the past, out in the field to help decrease the level of suffering among the animals that are still, today, being fattened and slaughtered. A plant-based future will not happen overnight and the animals of today still need people on the ground with them. But additionally, we will encourage and support companies who share this vision for a more plant-based future. We will assist and support companies that are developing alternatives to respond to changing times, slaughterhouses that are branching out also into plant-protein production. Companies that are developing brand new methods to reproduce meat without the animal, like Clean Meat.
On this website page you will find articles, interesting TED-talks and Pod casts, videos, and radio broadcasts related to our vision of the future as well as the measures Eyes on Animals is taking to stimulate companies to branch out into plant-based production. For a better, cleaner and more animal-friendly world.