With unprecedented violence, attempts were made in Italy to silence journalists who reported on the conditions in factory farming and their fatal consequences for humans, animals and the environment.
“Our support for the journalists attacked by the meat industry”: Sabrina Giannini, Sigfrido Ranucci and Mario Tozzi (picture by Animal Equality Italia)
In detail, there are four journalists who brought uncomfortable truths to light on programs of the Italian public service broadcaster Rai (Radiotelevisione Italiana) by reporting on the effects of factory farming on the climate, environment and health – also with regard to the current corona Crisis – reported and related to the current level of meat production and consumption:
— Mario Tozzi talked about how global meat production contributes to deforestation, pollution, damage to water and soil and the loss of entire natural habitats, which has always been fundamental, in the program “Sapiens – Un solo pianeta” on March 28 on Rai 3 are part of our ecosystem.
— On March 29, Sabrina Giannini reported on the show “Indovina chi viene a cena – Il virus è un boomerang”, also on Rai 3, about the consequences of meat production, which promotes the spread of viruses, and how the enormous use of antibiotics in intensive livestock farming leads to antibiotic resistance, a phenomenon that is already having a serious impact on public health and will become increasingly serious for all of humanity in the future.
— In a program in the “Report” series (Rai 3), Sigfrido Ranucci and Luca Chianca reported on April 13th about the slurry problem, in which large amounts of ammonia and nitrates are released, which among other things leads to high air pollution, especially in Lombardy, a factor that appears to favor the spread of viruses and the occurrence of respiratory diseases.
In their research, the journalists referred to scientific data, facts and sources from internationally recognized institutions such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and the WHO (World Health Organization) of the United Nations as well as the EU Commissioner for the Environment and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius, quoted by the New York Times as follows:
“Factory farming plays a role in the current pandemic, with strong evidence that meat production, not only in China, has contributed to COVID-19.”
In return, representatives of the Italian agricultural, livestock and meat industries and their numerous lobby associations, including Assica, Assalzoo, Assocarni, Una Italia, Unica, Carni Sostenibili, as well as the Ex-Minister of Agriculture and current Lega Nord politician Gian Marco Centinaio had received harsh criticism failing to finance and suppress such voices accused them of unfounded claims and accused them of boycotting domestic “Made in Italy” industry (!!!)
Eight environmental and animal protection organizations have now responded, including the Italian departments of Greenpeace, Animal Equality, Compassion in World Farming and the Humane Society International, and have written an open letter to the Rai Board of Directors, which we will publish in German below.
In it, they defend journalists, thank the Rai for the broadcasts, and emphasize that the call to silence journalists or prevent them from addressing specific issues contradicts the concept of freedom of information on which every true democracy rests , also and especially in times of a global crisis like this one.
My comment: The letter is very good but because it is quite long I will not translate the whole thing.
However, the following starting points must be mentioned:
– “With this letter, the signing associations would like to express their full solidarity and support for the Rai journalists, who have been attacked by the meat and livestock industry as a result of their investigations ….”
– “The requirement to silence journalists or prevent them from addressing specific issues also contradicts the concept of freedom of information on which every true democracy rests ….”
– “Journalistic investigations, such as those mentioned here, are valuable beacons that help illuminate the role that intensive animal husbandry also plays in all of this ….”
– “A study published in Nature magazine estimated that in fact 75% of the infectious diseases that have affected humans in recent decades come from animals.
Sars, Ebola, swine flu, bird flu and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (known as “mad cow disease”) are just a few examples that preceded this coronavirus …. ”
and finally they say …”We also thank the Rai and its journalists for repeatedly giving room to the investigations by nonprofits, with images that show the hidden side of intensive animal breeding.
To hide all this information from the public is very serious: It means neglecting public health and a global problem, a problem that the whole world is experiencing dramatically and with devastating social and economic impacts at the moment”.
We also thank the Italian journalists for these reports and for doing their job conscientiously and consistently.
We also thank the eight animal welfare organizations for their solidarity.
That strengthens the victims because they know they are not alone.
In today’s society we live separately from each other, which makes us vulnerable and weak, we don`t know a real WE and loyalty is mostly practiced with the powerful.
Loyalty in the animal rights movement is a political act.
We have to learn to act politically correctly.
My best regards to all, Venus