Intensive, that is? Who instrumentalises words?

The words used to describe everything, poultry farms in our case, can make the same situations perceived very differently. You don’t need to be a technician to understand this.

The poultry world is constantly confronted with those who alter the perception of poultry farming by managing communication in an instrumental manner. We at M.A.C. often repeat this, but we believe it is also necessary to explain well the importance of words that everyone encounters especially when hearing about poultry farming.

The world of science, of research, both in agriculture and in the livestock sector, dialogues and conveys scientific concepts or technicalities that, among insiders, remain merely practical and synthetic definitions.

It is a bit like what happens when we deal with doctors, politicians or academics in general where, among themselves, they speak ‘difficult’ … Often to understand what they are saying, you need someone to ‘translate’ the ‘technical jargon’ into simple words.

What we have to consider is that reality is perceived through the definitions we give or receive.

He who directs discourse, he who writes, he who conveys information … is responsible for the language he uses and that will inevitably have a certain influence on those who will receive that information conveyed in that way.

There are people who use unclear words not for scientific purposes, but only to provoke feelings to adhere to their aims.

Some use language to distort reality, some to disguise, some to deceive…

But there is also honest language, that of one who takes care to inform in an understandable way without conveying a personal judgement.

There are, however, legions of opportunists, who avoid considering science as a source of information and yet use ‘scientifically’ and skilfully, words, concepts, adjectives to convince their listeners to agree with what they convey, trying to influence perceptions and emotions.


However, we have promised to explain the communication traps into which many activists try to make an uninformed public unaccustomed to doing in-depth research and verification fall.

Here then are some examples and reflections:


  • Chemical: it is now given a negative connotation that some environmental movements combine with other terms to increase its negative perception. In fact, you will find it combined with ‘toxic’, ‘industrial’, ‘synthetic’. Whereas organic food is described as ‘natural’, ‘traditional’ and ‘environmental’. In this way, the perception of reality is easily distorted because, for example, organic has its own side effects that are not sustainable if we look at human survival in relation to the nature it has to feed on. To ensure nourishment for 8 billion people, the idea of ‘respecting nature’ by letting it progress without stimulating certain accelerations or modifications genetically favourable to our needs is not sustainable.


  • Sustainable (generic): it has become a concept that, over time, has become loaded with values towards which everyone now claims to be oriented. It is now a term that contains a multitude of meanings, to which someone occasionally adds others, turning it into an ideal virtue, practically impossible to sustain in its entire meaning because of the innumerable implications it entails, beyond the shared ideals. Around the 1980s, sustainable development was understood as care not to consume resources today that would be useful tomorrow. A kind of limitation of consumption to respect the needs of future generations. At that time, we started to measure our progress through the so-called ‘ecological footprint’. Today, the same term is used to identify ‘the fight to stop climate change and restore biodiversity‘. All things that unfortunately, despite the efforts of many, we are not able to measure accurately, but only through respectable deductions and estimates that are laudable attempts to predict the future and prevent certain aspects of it … and it is precisely this lack of certainty that now allows anyone to use the term ‘sustainability’ for their own purposes. Hence every centre of interest, criticises other centres of interest, and now any activity risks being branded as unsustainable. The term ‘sustainable’ has occupied every political and social sphere, taking on dimensions that now frighten any intention to act. There is great confusion between sustainable and economically acceptable. Is doing business sustainable? Is living off poverty sustainable? Is producing healthy, nutritious, affordable, accessible food sustainable? Is producing food for the few sustainable?


  • Sustainable agriculture: this term covers crops and livestock farming. Here activists act by defining sustainable agriculture as anything that contrasts with conventional agriculture defined as ‘industrial’ and therefore, in their view, as having a negative connotation. The words ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ come into play together. But is organic farming really more sustainable if it produces about 40 per cent less than conventional farming?

    The technologies put in place by industry (we at M.A.C. must say that we always refer to healthy industry and certainly not to those who act in defiance of health) make it possible to increase food production in close relation to the increase in world population growth. Technology and genetic research make it possible to produce food in step with the growth of the global population and to allow the consequent effect (not at all considered by the anti-intensively protected livestock activists) of increasing the accessibility of food and thus the growth of people’s well-being.

    Those who criticise ‘industry’ for its own sakes fail to reflect on the fact that the existence of industrial approaches generate opportunities for research and scientific approach that, in the near future, will make it possible to make areas that are today infertile productive and help make access to simple, nutritious food possible for more people. Those who talk about sustainability in food today do so without realising the consequences of following their lead. Their idea of social justice and sustainable agriculture would only produce more distance from the ideal of accessible food, which intensively protected livestock farms and conventional crops enable. How could one breed or cultivate different species without considering the different needs of each, then separate them into dedicated fields or farms, without also taking care of disease prevention (which exists and is also natural)? An example of the consequences of some forms of food extremism can be read at this link:




  • Natural: Is agriculture part of nature? Of course it is, but agriculture ‘by its very nature’ is already an activity that contrasts with the idea of nature as wild and undomesticated by man for his own food purposes. Nature is an essentially emotional concept, and each of those who do not engage in farming or breeding has essentially bucolic visions, full of ideals with which they would like to design a world free of the conflicts between the species that coexist on this Earth. It is easier to criticise those who are in the business of producing food than to set about producing it for themselves and others. Not to mention that in every region of the world ‘nature’ is considered in a rather subjective way and always relative to the culture that has been formed in that territory, which in turn is conditioned by various environmental factors (temperatures, seasons, conformation of the land, …). If you ask a Canadian what he means by nature, he is likely to tell you that for him nature manifests itself when he goes canoeing and sees a bear on the riverbank … his answer is unlikely to be about how it is cultivated or bred. In other countries, like Belgium for example, people consider greenery in urban areas to be nature, while farmland is considered to be borrowed from nature.


  • Pesticide: the term pesticide is another of those terms that in the West sounds like an a priori bad thing and is now considered taboo. In Uganda, pesticides are called ‘plant medicines’. The various lobbies, each protecting its own interests, often find themselves forced to use new terms or different adjectives to justify the fact that even in the organic sector something must be done. The organic food lobby, when it was discovered that even in organic farming one ‘must’ use particular pesticides, had to ‘invent’ the following phrase: ‘We do not use synthetic pesticides!’ The aim is to make people believe that organic crops are ‘pesticide-free’. In reality, the pesticide industry is beginning to focus on organic research.
    But then what is the question? Can innovation, technology and science talk to industry? Is it permissible for industry to do sustainable research in the biological field or, because it is called industry, is every one of its discoveries branded as ‘industrial’ in an attempt to make this term appear as a bearer of negativity?
    Is the idea that farming and breeding must go back to being like it was 70 years ago?
    If that were the case, we would have to prepare ourselves for starvation and all kinds of diseases.


Definitions change their meaning depending on who transmits them.

Scientists attach different meanings to ‘toxic’ or ‘sustainable’ than an ordinary person perceives. Activists know this and have constructed a well-defined list of terms capable of conveying ‘fear’ in order to manipulate perceptions.


When, for example, non-competent people are called upon to legislate in areas involving science, research and above all farmers and breeders, it happens that, for example, the European Commission introduces into the precautionary approach to food safety the so-called ‘inversion of the burden of proof’, i.e. that a substance, product or process can only have access to the market and remain there if it is proven with certainty that it is safe, something that is impossible in an absolute sense for any substance, product or process. Risk as understood in a generic sense becomes in fact more of a brake than a block.


Returning to the issues specifically concerning poultry farms, we point out another aspect of the instrumental use of terms by anti-farming activists: the term ‘intensive’, while considered positively in a medical context related to humans (intensive care), when used in agriculture and on farms its meaning is inverted, derogatory. This is also why in the poultry sector, the corrective ‘protected’ is added, precisely to make it clear that farms are ‘intensively protected‘ https://moreaboutchicken.com/call-them-intensively-protected-farms/


Modern husbandry practices adopt precision techniques, which allow the health of animals and crops to be monitored and maintained, applying treatments only when and where necessary. Which is an approach inherited from the precision care system adopted for humans.

Instead, the activists demonstrate their desire to intervene at a time when the evolution of the most efficient and healthy practices has taken on profiles of precision and safety that guarantee animal welfare and, consequently, also the welfare that comes from a safe and programmable diet in tune with the quantitative and qualitative needs of the world’s population.

Activists focus on giving negative meanings to words by attacking the word ‘intensive’, but there is no evidence that they have ever been able to produce anything following their ideological demands.


The number of people that need to be fed is growing and if we listen to the ‘ideological bans’ of various activists, we will soon have a global food security crisis, because many food problems are such because of a lack of awareness and adequate vocabulary.


The editorial staff of M.A.C.