Veterinary Tales about Livestock
told by Leo Rogier Verberne
From family farming to factory farming
The true stories in this book are a selection from the daily practice of a rural veterinary surgeon. In the period 1984-2015 livestock farming saw a metamorphosis under the influence of European dairy produce quota: 70% of the dairy farmers discontinued their farm and the number of cows decreased by 25%. So the dairy farms that continued to exist became larger: In 1984, Dutch farmers milked an average of 40 cows. By 2015, when the levy was lifted, the number of dairy cows per farm had increased to 95. It required far-reaching automation: investment in robotic milking, among other things.
1984: dual purpose cow for milk and meat
The transformation from family farming to factory farming also had far-reaching consequences for veterinary surgeons. They had been trained to heal sick animals. But on factory farms the individual animal does not count anymore and treating single sick animals has disappeared for the greater part: cows that do not produce enough are simply cleared away. The economy is unrelenting.
Sint-Michielsgestel, May 2018
© Leo Rogier Verberne