Previously we discussed the processes by which sustainable agriculture and different methods of waste management and recycling. These ideas where then further compared with the apparent myth of the efficiency that feedlots and factory farm claims… and it became quite clear through a few examples that mass production is really in the eye of the beholder. The idea of producing everything in a large scale does not equate to mass production if the end result is a lot of byproducts in which the original intent could have been produced without nor if the end product results in a lot of waste which otherwise would have not been produced or dealt with naturally through other means. The feedlot and factory farm system is dependent on a giant network of large, power hungry, high maintenance, low efficiency equipment. When that is factored into the efficiency equation of the lot, then the numbers start to tell a very different story.
During the previous section, specific methods and advantages of sustainable ways of farming was quoted at length and discussed. However the question still remains: if the routes to both animal and plant agriculture can be sustainable, as well as profitable… why do more farmers not adopt them? Why have they not become industry standards? Currently, over 90 percent of the meat and eggs that is consumed, comes from factory farming. Why is this number so high? Michael Pollan:
“It’s important to understand that this industrial meat system that we have that so brutalizes then animals and is not good for our diets and is very hard on the workers too survive because the government supports it. [It does this] on three legs. There are basically things that the government allows or encourages that makes it possible to grown all this cheap animal protein in this miserable system. Subsidized grain […]: so cheap that farmers can’t compete with it if they want to fatten pigs and cattle themselves. Because the grain is subsidized, the feedlot operator can buy it for less than the cost of production. […] The second thing is we in effect do not enforce the environmental laws we have on feedlots. […] Traditionally farms […] have not been forced to comply with a whole range of environmental laws. [… And the third point is that] we allow these feedlots to administer antibiotics in the feed. It is not clear that these animals would survive without these antibiotics, but they also promote rapid growth for reasons we don’t understand. So if you took away those three supports, you realize that it is not an industry that would survive the marketplace and it is not the product of the free market.”
[gn_dropcap style=”1″ size=”5″]1st[/gn_dropcap] I’d like to apologize to my
many, er… 3 readers for the delay since the last post. I realize the series is taking a little longer than expected and losing its fluidity. I have been busy hopping about the country and so found myself mostly sweating over (bloody) IKEA boxes and lacking an internet connection. Without further ado, part 13:
Joel Salatin bases his farming practices on the best instructor for the harmonizer of life itself: nature. His pastures have evolved into many unique and smart ideas on how to the waste products of one animal or plant becomes the building block of another use: whether it is compost, pesticides, or regeneration.
WHAT are the alternatives to factory farming? Ones that do not contribute to the detriment of our morals, and the increase in contribution of green house gases and other environmental problems. Frederick L. Kirschenmann:
“I do not have any problems with individuals having meat in their diet […] but the notion that somehow by taking animals out of the food system that we are going to solve our environmental problems, my response to that is tell me, give me an example of a single ecology without animals in it. Because animals perform a critical function in the production of a healthy ecosystem. They are part of the recycling of that system. […] All of our agriculture now, […] are enormously dependent on energy. And the energy source for virtually all of agriculture is fossil fuels. All of our fertilizers are [either] made or based on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are used to mine and process it. All of our pesticides are fossil fuels based. Our farm equipment is manufactured with fossil fuels. It is operated with fossil fuels. So it is fossil fuels at every level. […] Whether we are raising animals or whether we are producing crops, it is the same industrial system. So we need to find ways to not only raise our animals but [grow] our crops in ways which can contribute much less to the green house gas problem.”
Lierre Keith continues on her health… she suffered from various issues such as hyperglycemia, bloating, reproductive problems and joint inflammation. Her physician, who was practising traditional Chinese medicine, told her that her body was craving meat; as Jill Eisen explains:
“A lot of the studies that people do, they tend to be broad population studies; so it is really hard to separate one variable and [for a] study to really prove that there is some kind of causality going on, you need to isolate just one variable.”