At the moment the future of intensive livestock farming is intensively debated in the Netherlands. The province of Noord-Brabant may be the first to actually limit the number of farm animals. The Dutch meat inspection (NVWA) is heavily criticized for more or less condoning illegal slaughter practices, and veterinarians are calling for reform.
It is a very difficult debate, because the economic and emotional interests at stake are extremely high. Perhaps in such a case an artistic impression may help put argument and emotion in perspective.
The animation below may illustrate the development of intensive livestock farming from past to future. It shows the evolutionary history of the pig, the (potential) ‘evolution’ of the intensive housing environment (improved environmental enrichment), and the end of the pig (R.I.P.). The pig, however, may also be regarded as the personification of the farmer or the livestock sector itself.
Less philosophical postscript
Rearing pigs in barren conditions reduces their welfare. Enrichment of pig pens is needed to allow the performance of species-specific natural behaviour like rooting. A metal chain provides rather limited enrichment, but when presented in an optimized way, may substantially improve the welfare of conventionally reared pigs in a most feasible way.
See also the related posts:
Pig animation – Improved, branched chain design as proper enrichment for pigs
Chains as enrichment for pigs (Book chapter with supplement)
and this post (partly in Dutch): Ketting als hokverrijking voor varkens (incl. link naar het supplement).