Burning Questions
Fellowships Award Winners

Silvina Pezzetta

Location: Argentina
Academic field: Law
Award category: PhD Holder

Topics to be Addressed during the Award Period

Enabling CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in Argentina: The case of the 2020-21 Argentina-China agreement to build mega intensive pig farms in Argentina with investments from Chinese corporations, and the role of Argentina's veterinarians in the intensification of animal agriculture in the country.

  1. How does Argentina’s government promote CAFOs through legislation, international agreements, and supporting scientific research? Special attention will be paid to: (i) The 2020-21 Argentina-China agreement (which, according to Argentina's government, is needed for economic stability and to balance international payments). (ii) The latest plans of the Argentina national government to help producers to intensify animal through tax reduction and access to loans. (iii) The financial support the government provides to research projects at INTA (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria) and CONICET (National Council of Scientific and Technical Research) intended to encourage intensification of animal farming. 
  2. Why and how does the weakness of regulations and legislation related to animal welfare in Argentina, and the poor knowledge and training in animal welfare of Argentinian veterinarians and agriculture extension agents cause problems when presenting objections to CAFOs to public officials, legislators, and in the mass media?
  3. What alternatives to intensification do legislators, livestock producers, veterinarians, and other stakeholders have? How can NGOs and advocates introduce these alternatives to the public?

Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • Globalization and international trade is a powerful driver of the industrialization of animal farming in emerging economies. Very often these developments are hidden from public view and rarely reach media outlets as these transactions are conducted by bureaucrats and parties behind closed doors, and involve arcane processes. The 2020-21 agreement between Argentina and China to install mega pig farms in various areas of Argentina with Chinese investments in order to export 900,000 tons of pork to China every year is an exception. It garnered media attention as well as public debates in Argentina. We think this case offers a concrete example to illustrate how globalization and international trade actually results in building large-scale farms in a developing country.
  • The collective voice of veterinarians on animal welfare issues plays an important role in public discourse about farm animals, including how they are housed and raised. Whether that voice is supportive of certain husbandry practices and systems has an influence over decision-makers and public opinion. It is therefore important to learn about veterinarians' knowledge and views regarding animal welfare.
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