Here we see agriculture and livestock farming in harmony with and respect for nature. The environmental impact is lower than in other European countries. We are in Interlaken (Switzerland) surrounded by mountains in the midst of scattered small farms. We arrive at the Hof Maiezyt, a farm with more than 400 years of history Here seven people share their life as a community and are in charge of the management of the farm. It is a non-profit institution and its main source of income is the bed and breakfast. They practice traditional agriculture. These mountains where only grass grows are an ideal place for extensive cattle ranching. They follow the biodynamic philosophy, with the mission of having a sustainable farm, free of chemicals. Most work is still done by hand. They use machinery minimally. This is a special place where you practice agriculture a little bit like in earlier times. It is our idea is not to practice agriculture to make a business or just for us. We want to do farming so that other people can take part in our work and have this experience. And also so that they can feel: “Oh, work is not only to earn money, it can also be fun.” What is your goal in livestock farming? We have a responsibility to animals and when we want to eat meat we must be sure that they have had the good life. These schoolchildren spend a few days at Hof Maiezyt to learn about their country’s agriculture. In the endless Swiss meadows, the same number of animals are grazing as there were 100 years ago. It is an exception in the industrialised world, because here most livestock feed on grass and emit little methane. Switzerland is a paradise for animals and a luxury for the planet. Do the Swiss like animals? I think the Swiss have the highest standards for animal welfare in the world. How much meat do Swiss people eat? The Swiss people eat less meat than most Europeans, but still they eat more meat than would be sustainable. So, Switzerland produces most of the meat that is consumed in the country, but much animal fodder, especially for pigs and chickens, must be imported. That is not sustainable. Tomas Rippel graduated as an organic farmer in Switzerland. He has lived in several countries including China. He is part of the community that works to turn this farm into an authentically sustainable farm. He believes in traditional agriculture to reverse global warming and reduce hunger in the world. The farmers share some moments of the day. They take the opportunity to exchange ideas about their philosophy of life and work based on biodynamic principles. This farm takes advantage of every resource, the way it was traditionally always practices. Animals play an important role in sustainable agriculture, in that, for example, cows eat the grass and then produce manure (shit) that we can use as fertiliser to grow potatoes and grain. And pigs, for example, eat our waste food. In factory farming this entire cycle is broken. And what are the environmental effects of industrial livestock farming? I think one of the biggest problems we have with factory farming is that it systematically destroys the soil. The manure we get from animals is not used as a fertiliser any more, instead it becomes a waste product that causes huge environmental damage. Instead, we use chemical fertilisers and we plant genetically modified crops that are dependent on the use of herbicides and pesticides. And in the end, we completely destroy the soil fertility. These cows spend half their lives on the meadows. They only remain in the stable when snow prevents them from grazing. Ripple imagines a planet in where the number of animals is determined by the amount of grass available and not by the human appetite for meat. What about cows? Do we have too many cows on the planet? In some places on the planet we have too many cows or animals. I think we should look at how much land do we have that we cannot use for other things (growing crops). This land is perfect for cows. Here we cannot grow potatoes or grain. In the world there are one billion hectares of land, where you cannot grow anything but grass and pastures. There it makes sense to keep cows. We should look at how much milk and meat we can produce out of this land. And that should be the ecological limit. What could we do personally to reduce the environmental cost of livestock? The great step everyone can take is to eat less meat. If you look at sustainable production, we have a certain capacity. We have so much grass and if a cow eats that, that is sustainable. But if you want more, then we need to feed the cows corn or soy or grains. And that is not sustainable. So we need to look at how much meat can we produce, and per person that is maybe 25kg per year. We need to consume less meat so that we can produce meat sustainably. The economy here is focused on the production of natural products, sold in the near vicinity. Their cuisine is based on vegetarian recipes, like this pesto of nettles and with little meat. This sustainable approach contrasts with the greed of intensive livestock farming. What could governments to do end this problem? Governments should impose a tax on industrialised, factory farming and that money should be used to support sustainable production. The consumer in the supermarket should not have to pay more for a sustainable product. So in this way, the consumer, when he goes to the store and found the organic meat at the same price as the conventional, industrial meat, then obviously he would choose the ecological option. If we just look at the numbers, we take one cow, that gives us 200kg of meat, when you go to the supermarket, that meat costs maybe €2.000. If we buy the same amount of meat from sustainable production, that costs €3.000. The consumer thinks it’s very expensive, because it costs 50% more. But if we look at the total cost, including the environmental cost, the cost to our health and the loss of biodiversity, then the price of industrial livestock is much, much higher. If we analyse the total cost of industrial livestock, a cow costs €10.000, including the cost to our health and the environment. However, the actual product in the supermarket is worth only € 2.000. On the other hand, the organic cow costs €3.000 in the supermarket , but there is no additional costs. So which one is cheaper? The vision of these Swiss idealists is reaching more and more people. German experts say that if we reduce the consumption of meat, we will avoid a quarter of the emissions that damage the climate. We have few options left. If we continue to eat meat as we have now, our health will suffer, animals will suffer and the planet will follow its path to disaster.