Liberating animals from ‘Mega’ stables: is it illegal or not?

Nowadays, it is common to find many large stables, that can house hundreds to thousands of livestock or cattle, also known as mega stables. The living conditions of livestock within these stables are usually destitute. These animals should be saved, but how? Is it allowed to illegally liberate these animals to accomplish this, or are there other solutions available? We asked our followers. Following is an overview of their different perspectives:

According to Marjoleine Kriele, Kaatje Adams and Annet Poelstra-Butter is it accepted to illegally liberate animals. ‘Especially, if that highlights the misery of these animals’, according to Annet. Helna Tamboer even mentions that she will personally free the animals. Even if Osvaldo Pasini understands that people would illegally remove or liberate animals, he says: ‘It is just as bad as Auschwitz. People were then captured like animals. Now the animals are captured like those people in Auschwitz. Only these animals are being fattened… but the sorrow is not less. I am originally from an Italian household. My dad was a chef and used to buy good meat to freeze, even if the freezer was full. We would only eat meat on Sunday and sometimes during the week. Meat was precious and eating too much meat was considered unhealthy, we already knew that then’.

Christa Oostenrijk-van Den Brink says: ‘Opening the doors to their freedom would be great! However, a shelter system should then be in place. In addition, we should make people aware of what they have on their plate. How the animals have lived and how they were treated etc…We should make them aware that animals are intelligent creatures with feelings. That you should not kill. You do NOT need meat!’

Despite these reactions, a lot of our followers do not deem illegal liberation very wise. According to Ton van de Blaak: ‘You will just be as bad as the farmers, when you illegally liberate animals. Moreover, those animals will not know where to go and many will die due to high levels of stress and fear.’ Gabrielle Bosch agrees with this: ‘Much too stressful and dangerous for the animals…’. Yildiz Lameijer-Brugman also says: ‘Don’t open the doors and let the animals go. They will be captured anyways and be placed back, or they will be hurt/cause accidents. I totally understand the desire to liberate, but that is not the right methodology as far as I am concerned. A better plan is to keep informing people and to make meat more expensive.’

Sasja Schonewille mentions another downfall of any illegal liberation action: ‘Don’t do it. Two wrongs don’t make it right. It only hampers the Right Cause (our collective cause!) and it will position the rest of the society against us, which would be expected and just. illegal=illegal. One should remain pure…! Instead we should illustrate the impurity of the sector and the meat market, demand change, eat vegetarian meals, get involved in politics, collaborate with likeminded, but always remain true in your actions and expressions… Ooh, and not to mention the dairy industry, we should all become Friend of the Family Bokfkont Foundation (the best shelter for animals from factory farms in the Netherlands, which really needs all the help it can get!), that will really make a change!’ Emma van Dorp-Staf absolutely concurs with this: ‘I understand that you would like to open the doors… but it will be more effective to change the law. Sit ins, blockades, etc. whenever and wherever it is possible to demand attention for the cause, without causing any direct harm to someone or someone’s possessions. I am sure there is a great legal term for ? success. My whole life, I have not consumed Pig or Calf. And, the supply of meat to our table should be limited.’ Moreover, she mentions: ‘Just releasing the animals is really not appropriate. And ‘giving sanctuary’ to all these animals is also no feasible. Just keep sending those horrific images!’

Sonja Bijsterveld has the following suggestion: ‘Just show the images of all the malpractices in the meat industry. Repetition has an effective impact on the human brain.’ Kaatje Adams also agrees that: ‘meat eaters should be confronted with all the sorrow behind their meat.’ Yelley Babois reacted to this as following: ‘Meat eaters are already aware. We are exposed to the atrocities of the meat industry on a weekly basis. However, people just avert their eyes from this sorrow. They bury their heads with the notion that when they do not witness the atrocity, it is not there. Only, because people love their meat. But when you eat meat…you should really consider the life that an animal had before it became your meat. And in that case, you should be willing to pay more for your piece of mind. After all, the animal has already paid the highest price, its life!’ She adds to this: ‘Meat should become a luxury item again, just like in the old times. On Sunday, one chicken for the whole family of about 5 people. Consider the following: nowadays, it is normal to eat drumsticks, about 4 per person. This means that 10 chickens have to die for a family of 5, given that 1 chicken only has 2 legs. Back in the day, we did not eat meat every day and when we did eat meat, we would consume a lot less than now. Since meat is too cheap these days, more of it is consumed. In much larger quantities than is needed, which is bad for humans, and obviously has the most negative consequences for the animals. People really have to realize how much pain is hidden behind their daily piece of meat. If people would introduce a meatless day more often, it would already make a difference, and even more if they would only consume organic or free range. This might be more expensive, but it can be compensated by not eating meat every day. We should pay the farmer enough for him to rear and feed his animals, and this price should be internalized in the price for the consumer. In addition, we should check the status of the stables more often and penalize the farmers in cases of neglect or abuse, making it unfeasible to run a ‘mega’ stable.’ According to Joke Jansen we should return to the 1960s: ‘No more meat factories, just outside rearing with options to find shelter. Just make meat more expensive and we will consume less of it, which is healthier as well.’