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  #11  
Old Oct 23rd 2011, 06:41 AM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Originally Posted by Greendruid View Post
... and this is the hypocrisy that drives me wild about other meat eaters. My rule has become very simple - If I am not willing to kill it myself, I will not eat it. If it has led an unhappy, constrained life, such as the pictures above depict, I will not eat it. Pigs especially are a treasure that is wasted. Their ability to plough up a plot of land ahead of planting is unmatched. They also come with automatic fertiliser outlets and spreaders.

There is a small but growing movement afoot in North America and Europe following the footsteps of our ancestors and most recently articulated by "lunatic farmer" Joel Salatin. The real problem is actually less related to the treatment of animals and more related to the destruction of soil. Animal husbandry was meant to incorporate a vital part of the soil's ecosystem into farming a diversity of crops and rotating through these to renew the nutrients in the land long before chemical fertilisers were created. Pig factory farms are just a side effect of an inefficient, expensive and unhealthy shift away from proper soil management. Soil today is treated more like a growth substrate than a nutrient base for food production (plant and animal). Here Joel explains the process of what I consider to be proper land management and animal husbandry all rolled into one.
While in principle I fully agree with Mr. Salatin, it's not that simple. It's easy to say when talking about the US, Canada or Poland but e.g. where I live, in Flanders which is renowned for its multitude of pig factory farms, there literally isn't enough space and soil left for decentralized agriculture. I don't see a solution for highly industrialized densely populated regions.

I agree with your argument about hypocrisy but I reverse it : I eat it therefore I have no standing for opposing it.
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  #12  
Old Oct 23rd 2011, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Originally Posted by Greendruid View Post
... and this is the hypocrisy that drives me wild about other meat eaters. My rule has become very simple - If I am not willing to kill it myself, I will not eat it. If it has led an unhappy, constrained life, such as the pictures above depict, I will not eat it. Pigs especially are a treasure that is wasted. Their ability to plough up a plot of land ahead of planting is unmatched. They also come with automatic fertiliser outlets and spreaders.

There is a small but growing movement afoot in North America and Europe following the footsteps of our ancestors and most recently articulated by "lunatic farmer" Joel Salatin. The real problem is actually less related to the treatment of animals and more related to the destruction of soil. Animal husbandry was meant to incorporate a vital part of the soil's ecosystem into farming a diversity of crops and rotating through these to renew the nutrients in the land long before chemical fertilisers were created. Pig factory farms are just a side effect of an inefficient, expensive and unhealthy shift away from proper soil management. Soil today is treated more like a growth substrate than a nutrient base for food production (plant and animal). Here Joel explains the process of what I consider to be proper land management and animal husbandry all rolled into one.
While I certainly agree that is how agriculture ought to be done, I must point out that agriculture by those principles cannot possibly feed 7-8 billion people on this planet.

That's all well and fine for us North Americans to adopt such policies because we could (we're rich and we got lots of space). But that would mean starvation for much of the planet since US and Canada are massive agricultural exporters and if North America adopted a fully sustainable agricultural system, we wouldn't be exporting enough grain to feed India, China and Africa (which we presently do on a routine basis).

As for myself, I can afford expensive organic/free-range agricultural products so that's what I buy - because I can. I realize that most of the world's population doesn't have the same options I do.
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  #13  
Old Oct 23rd 2011, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
While in principle I fully agree with Mr. Salatin, it's not that simple. It's easy to say when talking about the US, Canada or Poland but e.g. where I live, in Flanders which is renowned for its multitude of pig factory farms, there literally isn't enough space and soil left for decentralized agriculture. I don't see a solution for highly industrialized densely populated regions.

I agree with your argument about hypocrisy but I reverse it : I eat it therefore I have no standing for opposing it.
Well the absolute bottom line is that our survival as a species will require us to eat significantly less meat. Whether grown on a nice rolling pasture or in a cell block, it is simply too inefficient to eat at the levels which we (at least in the US!) are accustomed.
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Old Oct 24th 2011, 06:17 PM
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Well the absolute bottom line is that our survival as a species will require us to eat significantly less meat. Whether grown on a nice rolling pasture or in a cell block, it is simply too inefficient to eat at the levels which we (at least in the US!) are accustomed.
I say remove the subsidies and let the market decide. Meat is a luxury and ought to be priced accordingly.

US spends close to $100 billion a year in farm subsidies - most of which goes to the massive agro-corporations that specialize in factory-livestock.
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Old Oct 24th 2011, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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I say remove the subsidies and let the market decide. Meat is a luxury and ought to be priced accordingly.

US spends close to $100 billion a year in farm subsidies - most of which goes to the massive agro-corporations that specialize in factory-livestock.
That would be begging for a new protest when US workers can't afford cheap, steroid hormone-laden meat in their diets. Might as well outlaw fructose for health reasons at the same time to help fat people keep their bone joints in service for more than 40-50 years.

The EU began banning hormone-laden meat, including imports, in 1988. In the US and Canada, hormone cost is $1-3 per head for beef and produces over 20% more market weight with a parallel reduction in feed cost. Swine and fowl production economics utilizing hormones are similar.
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Old Oct 24th 2011, 10:07 PM
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I say remove the subsidies and let the market decide. Meat is a luxury and ought to be priced accordingly.

US spends close to $100 billion a year in farm subsidies - most of which goes to the massive agro-corporations that specialize in factory-livestock.
Don't even get me started on agro-industry subsidies.
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Old Oct 24th 2011, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
While I certainly agree that is how agriculture ought to be done, I must point out that agriculture by those principles cannot possibly feed 7-8 billion people on this planet.

That's all well and fine for us North Americans to adopt such policies because we could (we're rich and we got lots of space). But that would mean starvation for much of the planet since US and Canada are massive agricultural exporters and if North America adopted a fully sustainable agricultural system, we wouldn't be exporting enough grain to feed India, China and Africa (which we presently do on a routine basis).

As for myself, I can afford expensive organic/free-range agricultural products so that's what I buy - because I can. I realize that most of the world's population doesn't have the same options I do.
I never said that everyone had to be eating meat either so don't mischaractise my projections about how many people can be fed in this manner. In fact, I agree that meat should be considered a luxury item and that it should bear the price tag that comes with raising it in this manner. One of the pieces that is missing from Joel's explanation is that he also practices rotational grazing which is when you take the land that the cow's have munched down to where they like it and then you bring in the sheep/goats who take it down further and then finish off with the chickens. The land is then left to regrow with all that great natural fertiliser of different types and you get the most beautiful, ecologically correct mixture of grazing pasture possible to star the cycle over again. Ideally, I'd have a few fruit trees around the edges too to round out the use of space.

Addressing the misuse of space is our biggest concern. The problem is that the CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are taking up huge swaths of space of land that becomes otherwise useless but for erecting more buildings and cramming more animals into every square inch and then a whole whack of corn is grown 1,000 miles away in Iowa taking up another whole whack of space probably triple or quadruple the size of the CAFOs to feed all the animals in the CAFOs with a foodstuff that the animal is not evolved to even digest properly. This compounds the waste of space and I would suggest that space can be used to raise animals for meat consumption much more frugally than if we continue to move towards this bizarre futuristic direction.

Meat should be eaten about twice a day to maintain the proteins and nutrients derived from it in the normal adult human diet, that is without other sources of protein in the diet. You add in dairy and eggs and alternatives and you can reduce that number to once and still have plenty of extra protein in the diet. North Americans eat an absurd amount of meat (195 lbs. per person in USA) and wastage of all food is at unprecedented levels as well. If you follow the above rule this number should be about 92 lbs. for two servings per day, 46 lbs. if you factor in meat alternatives half the time. This style of meat agriculture is not unsustainable but I agree that some places are more limited in their ability to raise meat animals for consumption. I will gladly trade Cubans dried goat meat and feta cheese for some dried fruit and sugar, as long as it gets here by sail
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  #18  
Old Oct 25th 2011, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Don't even get me started on agro-industry subsidies.
New thread? Then you could get started and run with it!

I don't know much about the topic, but I'm curious about plans that would eliminate agro subsidies without driving up food prices, which strikes me as rather regressive economically (and suicidal politically).
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  #19  
Old Oct 25th 2011, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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New thread? Then you could get started and run with it!

I don't know much about the topic, but I'm curious about plans that would eliminate agro subsidies without driving up food prices, which strikes me as rather regressive economically (and suicidal politically).
Political suicide of those politicians owned by big ag. The general public would whine a lot and then adapt to less meat in their diets. The current labor glut isn't going away anytime soon and will eventually force populations to rethink a lot of things.
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  #20  
Old Oct 25th 2011, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Pig factory farms

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
New thread? Then you could get started and run with it!

I don't know much about the topic, but I'm curious about plans that would eliminate agro subsidies without driving up food prices, which strikes me as rather regressive economically (and suicidal politically).
Food prices may go up, but there would also be a significant shift away from the corn-in-everything and soy-in-most American diet that is so incredibly unhealthy. Ultimately, the cost to Americans should be less (but that requires long-term thinking).
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