The sun has just risen. Crystal, the light plays with a giant draughts board, and living : thousands of Dutch cows herded on a mixture of dung and mud. Not the shadow of a blade of grass. On board a MICROLIGHT, George Steinmetz began photographing this mégaferme of Kansas, the first step of a story that will last four years. Suddenly, the ship radio crackles. It is his assistant : “The owner of the place demands that you stop ! “Steinmetz guffaws :” This is a joke ? It does not have the right to forbid me the overview. Tell him who I am ! “Scientific training, this reporter has specialized in aerial photography since three decades. His explorations have earned him prestigious global awards, including two prizes from World Press.
The food industry wants to hide what she is doing. It is really disturbing
But in Kansas, on this day, the farmer cares nothing about his pedigree, and calls the sheriff. It is necessary to land emergency. It was hardly posed, the photographer was handcuffed and placed in police custody several hours : “The police behaved as if I was a terrorist Daech ! They have been trying to find a charge, to no avail. Forced to release me. But since my name is in the security files. I can no longer pass us customs without questioning and searching my bags. This adventure served me as a warning signal : the agri-food industry wants to hide what she is doing. It is really disturbing. “
He will have to play it safe to continue this work that began in 2013. Originally, an alarming situation : the world population today of 7 billion people, expected to increase to 10 billion in 2050. To illustrate the appetite of Gargantua, George Steinmetz is going to point his lens on the titans of food in eleven countries : United States, Scandinavia, Brazil… Of square kilometres of terrestrial food, and a celestial perspective : “The ideal to show the order of magnitude of these facilities,” explains the American of 60 years. Depending on location, it uses a MICROLIGHT, a helicopter or a drone.
But during this story-long course, the main obstacle is not a technical overview, ” In Europe as in the United States, it is almost impossible to penetrate in larger facilities food, especially if they contain animals. You can send mail the most amiable in the world, come from the part of the log is renamed, nothing is. “When George wants to access a slaughter-house for pigs in Germany, the largest in Europe, it is “nein” ! “In Brazil, or in China, it was difficult, but we ended up hosting me. In a factory of cutting of meat, I even made flying a drone above the chinese workers. The colossal size of the rows referred to the army of terra cotta soldiers of Xi’an. “
I’ve seen men trampled sows to put it down more quickly
Little by little, George Steinmetz understands the reason why the industry is cultivating the secret : “The pigs, for example, are animals sensitive and intelligent. As soon as they put a hoof in the slaughterhouse, they guess the result and are desperately seeking to escape, the crazy look of terror. Also, I’ve seen men trampled sows to put it down more quickly. The industrial exploitation of animals reminds me of the concentration camps. “In Indonesia, Steinmetz will fly over to a shrimp farm of 180 square kilometres – more than one and a half times the area of Paris. Monoculture, the dreary plains. Deadly, also. Crustaceans to the lambs, we piled up beasts all the more vulnerable they all resemble each other genetically. A boon for the bacteria. Where the quantities of antibiotics which they gave. And that increases our resistance to these drugs.
Among the shows that have outraged Steinmetz : a pan from Amazon that goes up in smoke. There was a net spot in order to cultivate soya for the livestock. Humans have become addicted to meat. Today, the Chinese consume two times more than the Americans. If the intensive farming seems to be able to fill such a appetite, the prices of its products are affordable only in appearance. Because they do not incorporate the impact of the pharaohs on health and the environment. Droppings, pesticides, fertilizers, fuel… the industrial food became one of the first pollutants of the planet. Created by the world Bank, the Un and the research institute on agriculture, IAASTD recommends now to support small-scale agro-ecology and short circuits. “If consumers saw how their food is produced, they would ask more questions, says Steinmetz. Because, for the moment, we vampirisons the life of the planet at an alarming rate. “
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