During the holiday gift-giving season, a popular choice for gift-donations are programs that send live farm animals as “gifts” to help alleviate hunger and poverty in low-income countries. A Well Fed World examine the flaws in concept and practice with animal-gifting groups in general, and with Heifer International in particular (since they are the largest and most well-known).In short, we explain why animal gifting doesn’t necessarily help, and sometimes harms, the recipients, and how these programs may be misleading to donors.
The participants at recent COP conventions have had no difficulty calling for the elimination of coal and replacement of fossil fuels by alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. It’s time they consider calling for the same measures with animal products.” Indeed, the solution to the climate change caused by at least one of the three largest emitters of anthropogenic GHGs can be readily found by any of the high-level COP 19 attendees — they simply need to glance down at what’s on their dinner plates!
As attorney David Simon shows in his new book, Meatonomics, the U.S. government allows meat, egg and dairy producers to offload the majority of their production costs onto society, costing us roughly $414 billion dollars annually in external health, environmental, farm subsidy and animal welfare costs.
we conclude that the only pragmatic way to reverse climate change by 2017 as needed is to replace at least 25 percent of today’s livestock products with better alternatives. Such alternatives can range from whole grains and legumes to an array of fancy vegan meat and egg substitutes made from such items as peas, sorghum, and beans.
“There is another way… to mimic nature — by truly mimicking nature. Adding domesticated cattle to desertified landscape as a measure to compensate for our mistakes of decimating the normal flora and fauna over the decades creates many issues. Savory’s methods may indeed restore some desertified grasslands but so would plant-based food production systems or simply reintroducing the original natural blend of species (plants, animals, insects, microbes).”
In 2011, Congress removed wolves from the federal endangered species list in five states – Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah – primarily to satisfy the interests of cattle ranchers. This opened up a war on wolves. Ranchers were upset with the government for reintroducing wolves. Ranchers had expanded their use of land for grazing cows since wolves had been gone for 25 to 30 years after being hunted to near extinction.
We are now fighting for our survival and for the survival of our children and grandchildren. Gandhi inspired the people of India to take that voluntary step of changing their clothes. We need to inspire people in rich societies to take that voluntary step of changing what we eat, to go vegan. The reasons are very clear. As George Weurthner points out, in the continental US alone, more than half the land, around 1 billion acres, is used for livestock production, while half the vegetables and fruits eaten in the US are grown on just 3 million acres of land. The arithmetic is very clear! A mass transition to Veganism in the rich societies would make a huge, positive impact on the environment!
As Luiz Antonio’s video shows, it is not children who are the impediments to this mass transition to veganism. It’s the adults. And at the moment, it is not the adults who are avid meat eaters, the Sarah Palin types, who have vowed to give up their steaks over their cold dead bodies. It’s actually the adults who care deeply about the environmental legacy that we are leaving our children and have already taken some steps towards veganism, but are stuck at some moderate levels of meat, dairy and other animal food consumption and are finding it difficult to go any further. It is these “Meat Moderates” who are the key to make this mass transition truly happen.
When we think of Greek yogurt, we generally don’t think about environmental devastation. However, according to a recent report in ModernFarmer.com, that’s about to change. Confirming the inherent waste involved in the conversion of animal parts and secretions into animal products, analysts have revealed that it takes three or four ounces of milk to make an ounce of Greek yogurt. The rest of the milk gets converted into acidic whey. This product is so toxic that it’s classified as an industrial waste.
However, while Mr. Savory himself cautions that most livestock today are produced unsustainably, meat promoters can be seen spinning Mr. Savory’s claims as if they apply equally to factory-farmed meat. Yet it’s no new trick to promote factory farmed meat as grass-fed. A grassland producer has himself noted that most marketing of “grass-fed” beef is a hoax. Beef marketed this way commands a 200-300% price premium — so the incentive for producers to cheat is overwhelming, as evidenced in one videotape afteranother.
So contrary to popular belief, we propose that the key to reversing climate change in the next five years — as needed — is actually the food industry. It is more exposed to climate change’s risks than any other industry. Yet food companies develop better foods as a matter of course. They control lots of land on which livestock and feed production can (and should) be reduced, and they can sell carbon credits from reforesting land.
“Happy cows” are marketing tools for the animal agriculture industry whose only purpose is to grow, Grow and GROW! Make no mistake that anything the animal agriculture industry supports is oriented towards growth. They are never going to support anything that will make them shrink and in that, they are no different from any other industry or corporation. The technical argument against “Happy” cow style welfarism is the larger context of planetary destruction and animal suffering as we go beyond the seemingly happily harvested animals and consider the collateral damage that occurs when we destroy forests and habitats.
Brown began his work several years ago when he decided to focus the rest of his life upon solving the challenge of weaning the world off of animal farming. He described such animal farming as an “inefficient technology millennia old” that also represents “by far the biggest environmental catastrophe” during a press conference held at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver on Feb. 19.
“In just over 50 years, the broiler industry has been transformed from more than one million small farms spread across the country to a limited number of massive factory-style operations concentrated in 15 states,” said Karen Steuer, who directs Pew’s efforts to reform industrial animal agriculture. “This growth has harmed the environment, particularly water, because management programs for chicken waste have not kept pace with output.”
There are days when I feel hopeless about the future. Not my personal future, but the future of humanity, the planet and other species. But my work in humane education, which explores the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection, and provides people with the knowledge, tools and motivation to be solutionaries for a better world, is inherently hopeful. There would be no reason to devote my life to this work as a full-time volunteer at the Institute for Humane Education if there were no hope that it could make a difference.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – April 27, 2011 – “What to eat?” It is the question on everyone’s minds at least three times a day — more depending on your appetite — and now a new short film, “What to Eat,” narrated by Jason Schwartzman (star of “Rushmore,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and the HBO series “Bored to Death”) and supported by top environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, Worldwatch Institute, Food and Water Watch, Brighter Green, and Farm Sanctuary, aims to show how eating less meat can help lessen the environmental impact of factory farming. By showing how our food choices have a more serious impact on our environment than the cars we drive, the light bulbs we use or the ways we recycle, the film makes the point that we can all take small steps for positive change.
Simply put, raising beef, pigs, sheep, chicken, and eggs is very, very energy intensive. More than half of all the grains grown in America actually go to feed animals, not people, says the World Resources Institute. That means a huge fraction of the petroleum-based herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to grains, plus staggering percentages of all agricultural land and water use, are put in the service of livestock. Stop eating animals and you use dramatically less fossil fuels, as much as 250 gallons less oil per year for vegans, says Cornell University’s David Pimentel, and 160 gallons less for egg-and-cheese-eating vegetarians.
Our friends at Food and Water Watch have unveiled a new interactive web-based map tool of factory farms across America, and FFW representatives are touring the country to promote it. We caught their presentation earlier this week in Chicago. Based on data provided by the USDA, the mapping tool displays factory farm stats by state and by county, showing the level of concentration and location of all known factory farms by livestock type, including cattle, dairy, hogs, broilers and layers.
Seafood Watch’s pocket guides (and iPhone app) are designed to help you have a conversation at the fresh fish counter, or the restaurant. But how do you converse with a can? The newly minted July 2010 pocket guides (download one today), make suggestions for tuna lovers who care about ocean wildlife. These suggestions tell us what to look for on canned tuna labels for clues about ocean-friendly choices.