Cheesemakers accused of killing trout

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Compté cheese

The story is unfolding in France. One of their popular cheeses is Compté. The dairy farmers who produce the milk to make the cheese have been accused of trying to grow too much grass. I presume that more grass means that the cows feed better and therefore produce more milk. In order to grow more grass they use fertilisers, pesticides and dung.

Compté cheese

Compté cheese. Photo in the public domain.

A study said that these additives to the pastures have been washed into the River Loue (in eastern France, a left tributary of the Doubs) causing algae. The algae growth was caused by more nitrates in the water supply. This has caused so much pollution that trout are dying out in the river.

This is particularly sad because the River Loue is known for the quality of its trout fishing. It has been described as the world’s best trout fishing site. Patrice Malavaux, a fisherman and environmentalist, told Le Monde newspaper:

This was the Mecca of flyfishing – our treasure, but there is little left.

Farmers have said that they were limiting milk production and ensuring that there is more pastureland per head of cattle. This seems to be a roundabout way of saying that they have taken stock of the situation and are finding alternative ways of increasing milk production to feed this profitable cheese business which has increased by 22% in a decade from 59,425 tons in 2018.

Comment: I have to criticise the fishermen as well. Fish are sentient beings. They can feel pain and have emotions. Fishermen cause pain to the fish that they catch. They damage the fish’s lip or mouth when caught individually by hook which can shorten the life of that animal because they find it harder to feed. The fish may in fact be in constant pain in the mouth because of being caught by fishermen. As trillions of fish are caught annually in the oceans, we have to conclude that each one feels pain, discomfort and distress (dying by suffocation). Multiply that by 1 trillion and you have a mountain of misery. And here’s the deal: the human doesn’t know a thing about it and doesn’t care.

It is time, sadly, to end the human pastime of fishing and later the big bussinesses. I’m not condoning the cheesemakers nor the cattle farmers. It’s all about the human-animal relationship which is often at least mildly abusive and in the worst cases repulsive.