Is BIO-food environmentally friendly?
The Germans trust in the “BIO” label in a similar way as the U.S. citizens are trusting in the label “organic food”. The “BIO” label is controlled by european authorities (EU authorities).
To say this first: The BIO label has neither been developed in order to protect the environment nor to protect animals.
It was only to protect the human consumer against eating to many insecticides, pesticides or other chemical agents with the food. In short words: The BIO label says that the referred food is consumer-friendly.
Volker Croy about: “What about the environmental friendliness of BIO food?”
Regarding the toxicity for nature and soil it depends on what the farmer or gardener is doing – and this is not depending on the question whether it is a conventional or a BIO enterprise.
Some of the vegetal pesticides which are used in BIO farming, like for example pyrethrins are highly toxic and a danger for nature, most of all for cold blood animals and for fishes. Being vegetal doesn’t mean that the agent is good or less toxic. The copper agents which are used against fungal diseases don’t only kill the diseases but also useful fungus like mycorrhizal in the soil and accumulates there.
Most of all young farmers and gardeners have new ideas and break with old-fashioned patterns. They know that “BIO” labelled food will be sold easier but in the end they look at the tangible impact on nature. So maybe they stay in the “conventional farm” – category because they cannot afford to comply with the “BIO” standards but they act indeed ecologically responsible.
For example the so-called solidary farms in Germany are in most cases “conventional” farms. But this doesn’t mean that they are poisoning the environment. It’s the farmer’s choice if he or she wants to do so.
“Bio” doesn’t mean that you go easy on the environment. It’s still the farmer’s choice if he or she wants to do so. The choice is some kind of limited, but not regarding the protection of nature.
I know for example the farm “DeinHof” (a solidary farm near Dresden, Saxony): They don’t have the “BIO” label but they work with nets and are much more insect-friendly than “Bio”-farms which use insecticides like neem and pyrethrines. It is a role model farm but despite of that has no chance to get the “BIO” label.
Maybe agriculture will not be able to get away from pesticides (except for fruits, vegetables and decorative plants), but you can use less harmful agents like soap solutions, vegetable oils or sulfur compounds, you can decide in favor of more distance between the plants and work with more sanitariness.
The decision is on the farmer himself oder herself. Ask your farmer if you want to know more …
Volker Croy about: “Bio-hens from Bio-factory farming?”
(Regrettably the sad BIO-hen is possible and is reality. And it seems to be real that we all should by eggs from the chicken farm we personally trust in in order to be sure that the hens are doing fine. This is a good reason to live vegan – or rather without consuming eggs – until the day when all kept animals are free and happy. You’re lucky if you know a chicken farm you can trust in and are able to shop there.)
Bio-labelling and factory farming regrettably are not a contradiction.
Many of us may think that BIO-hens live in small groups of 10 up to 15 hens and a rooster and all animals are doing fine, having enough space to walk around, to scratch in the ground and to breathe fresh air.
Only small marketers will have the chance to buy there, where those hens are living. The most of the big chicken farms don’t treat the animals like it should be.
There is mass livestock farming among the BIO enterprises:
For example laying hens in BIO farms have to be held this way:
Maximum 6 hens per square metre of moving space, 5 hens per nest, 20 centimetres of perch per hen, 3,000 animals per stable.
One third of the entire area needs to be scratching area, wire mesh counts as “moving area” and those can be installed vertically in the room.
The number of hens is limited only by the the entire area of the enterprise.
(“Bioland”-guidelines from january 2018)
Despite the fact that this means 50% less animals per square metre than regarding conventional mass livestock farming: You cannot call this “animal-friendly”.
It is still mass livestock farming and 0.167 square metres per hen is not much space (0.056 square metres of which are for scratching – less than a normal sheet of paper) and with 20 centimetres perch per hen they will sit very close together and will chop at each other or a part of them will not have a perch place.
Don’t believe the advertising on the products, in the supermarket or of the suppliers.
Demand to read the guidelines. Look at the concrete numbers and details there.
Start to think, start to ask.
Go to buy from farmers you personally know and you can trust in.
If they don’t want to answer your questions, leave them alone.
If they don’t want you to see the hens and how they live, leave them alone.
Many of the small egg traders on open air markets don’t have the hens by themselves, they buy eggs in other places. There is about on egg per hen per day. Who is selling 1,000 eggs per day, must have at least 1,000 hens or buy from chicken farms – many small ones ore a big one. The traders change the market places. Only because you see the trader only once a week he or she may sell eggs in other places, too. It is a question of faith and permitted control.