GENTECH archive

[Index][Thread]

(no subject)




> Grazing, when done in a well-planned and managed way, 
> allows us to use unarable land to produce food. 

Addressing the environmental issue only, and ignoring the
obvious health, ethical, and economic downside, grazing 
is only part of the way cattle are fed.  Our current system
of factory farming requires ALL cattle, even carefully grazed
ones, to be sent to feedlots for fattening before slaughter.  
Feedlots are huge consumers of grain crops, being where 
the majority of cattle feed goes.

I might mention that this situation includes even the most 
well-meaning ranchers trying their best to minimize
destruction to the land.  (Read "Mad Cowboy" by former
cattle rancher Howard Lyman to understand how hard this 
is.)  It also does not address the physical destruction to
the ground caused by the large numbers of heavy hooves
trampling plants, watersheds, stream banks, and the
dirt itself.  Grazing cattle on non-arable land is not a
benign act.  It causes damage in many non-feed related
ways.

The 50% of the earth's land mass devoted to cattle production
is not that way because the land is non-arable. On the contrary,
the land becomes non-arable over the course of decades because
it is dedicated to cattle production. Or else, the forests are
chopped down to make room for the cattle -- including the 
rain forests on which planetary survival depends.
 
> 
> Our society, however, has chosen to be a meat-eating 
> society and until we, as a society, decide to change 
> that aspect of our lifestyles, that land used for growing 
> livestock feed will essentially remain out of reach for 
> production of human feed.

 
The sad part about your statement is that livestock feed is
already just indirect human feed.  Processing grain through 
livestock into a high fat, zero fiber, high cholesterol product
laden with herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics, is just 
plain dumb.  We can feed dozens of people on what it 
takes to feed one meat-eater.

Also, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound
of beef.  It's a pretty safe bet that non-arable land doesn't 
have this kind of water handy.

The logical conclusion to your statement is not that we 
should resign ourselves to society making harmful 
choices based on ignorance of the destruction they 
are causing, rather that we should be working very hard 
to change our society from eating meat to eating a 
plant-based diet.  
 
Please see the section on the EarthSave-Boston website 
which lists some of the facts:

http://www.bigfoot.com/~earthsaveboston/awareness/awareness.htm

> Nina,
>      Be careful with what you are calling arable land. Land that is being 
> grazed
>  for cattle may or may not be arable. One of the things that has been
> learned 
> the
>  hard way in the U.S. is that some land should not be cultivated; its
> ecology 
> is
>  too fragile. Our semi-arid and arid regions are good examples of this.
>  Furthermore, while some land may be arable, it may not receive enough 
> rainfall to
>  make it sustainably arable. Such land would require irrigation, which
> often
>  brings its own problems. Grazing, when done in a well-planned and managed
> 
> way,
>  allows us to use unarable land to produce food. While I agree that much
> of 
> the
>  arable land, in the U.S., is used for growing crops for livestock feed.
> Our
>  society, however, has chosen to be a meat-eating society and until we, as
> a
>  society, decide to change that aspect of our lifestyles, that land used
> for
>  growing livestock feed will essentially remain out of reach for
> production of
>  human feed.