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Author Topic: Veggie or global destruction  (Read 3967 times)

Offline Make it Lady

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Veggie or global destruction
« on: 26/04/2008 14:09:45 »
Perhaps this is the wrong area for this question but anywhooo! Would you become a vegetatian in order to do your bit to stop global warming?


 

Offline Karen W.

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Veggie or global destruction
« Reply #1 on: 26/04/2008 16:22:50 »
thats a hard question... me loves meat!  Wouldn't not eating the critters serve to increase the global warming rather then decrease it... gas wise.... LOL?

I love critters but I love food too.. and also would be inclined to think there would be one less of us producing the gas..... and I would prefer that one left to be me... when it comes down to it! LOL..Selfish I know.... I also know that it really is a choice... but worry that I may choose the meat...
« Last Edit: 26/04/2008 16:26:01 by Karen W. »
 

another_someone

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« Reply #2 on: 26/04/2008 16:29:47 »
Perhaps this is the wrong area for this question but anywhooo! Would you become a vegetatian in order to do your bit to stop global warming?

Very unlikely.

OK, questions such as this are rarely black and white, since they depend on all sorts of questions of degree.  If one looks at the simplest extreme, if I knew my next mouthful of meat were to instantly destroy mankind, my reaction is very different to whether an unproven hypothesis that my eating meat might make a very very marginal difference to global warming, which itself has unproven consequences.

So, the question is firstly whether I even perceive global warming as a substantial threat (probably less of a threat than global cooling, and environmental stasis has never been an option).  The second question is whether I believe global warming can be averted.  And the third question is whether I believe that eating meat actually makes much difference to it.

I assume that the inference behind the statement that eating meat contributes to global warming is based on the fact that bacteria in the guts of ruminants (which does not include pigs or chicken) generate methane as they break down plant matter.  But most bacteria that break down plant matter create methane (and substantial amounts of methane are created over the Amazon, as the vegetable detritus falls to the forest floor and is eaten by termites (which have the same bacteria as ruminants) and beetles, and other animals).  So what exactly is it suggested would happen to the dead vegetable matter if we were to exterminate all ruminants?

Also the extermination of ruminants means not only the end of eating beef and mutton, but the end of dairy farming, the wool industry, the leather industry, the extermination of horses (for they too are ruminants), and oxen, and camels, and zebras, and buffaloes.

Ofcourse, the extermination of ruminants will also cause substantial changes to the English countryside, with the pastureland which was created to allow us to allow us to farm ruminants being returned to forest.  Some might regard this as a positive step, but it will nonetheless alter substantially our natural flora and fauna.
« Last Edit: 26/04/2008 16:39:24 by another_someone »
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Veggie or global destruction
« Reply #3 on: 26/04/2008 16:48:22 »
But think just how much space and extra food would be needed for the ruminants to be fed, also the Veggies too.
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #4 on: 26/04/2008 16:57:26 »
wouldn't it destroy the food chain....? Animal population would soar increasing methane production and seems would cause more problems then it would solve unless as George says it was a critical situation.. then my answer would change....
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #5 on: 26/04/2008 17:46:32 »
It is much more than just the methane produced by cows. It is the consumption of farmed veritable products fed to the animals including pigs and chicken. It is corn used for feed. This corn requires fossil fuels to plant, and at a minimum, harvest, the corn. There is a lot of energy expended just growing the feed for the animals. We need to start hunting again.

The premise George suggested is NOT the MAIN problem - it is the use of fossil fuels - although there IS a significant influence from the methane produced.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #6 on: 26/04/2008 18:27:05 »
We need to start hunting again.

I have nothing in principle against this - I think hunting is in many ways more humane than farming, as well as producing better quality product.  Ironically, probably more from a misplaced sense of class prejudice, we have a strong anti-hunting lobby in this country, far more so than an anti-farming lobby.

The problem is that while this may seem fine in a relatively sparsely populated country such as the USA, it really is not practical in a country such as the UK - there is just not enough land available for the wild animal population needed to feed the human population, so we need intensive farming techniques (whether applied to arable farming or to animal husbandry) or else we simply cannot feed the population we have.  Nor is importing all of our food really an answer, since that too costs in terms of fuel (but, as so often with Environmental issues, people don't care about what they can't see, so we export all of our pollution overseas, and then claim we have reduced our pollution of the planet).

A clear case where we are just in the process of moving from hunting to farming is in the case of fishing - where we are moving towards farmed fish because it is seem as the only means by which we can maintain sufficient fish production to meet out needs, even though the end product is clearly inferior.

It is the consumption of farmed veritable products fed to the animals including pigs and chicken. It is corn used for feed. This corn requires fossil fuels to plant, and at a minimum, harvest, the corn. There is a lot of energy expended just growing the feed for the animals.

The question is to what extent does this feedstock require to be so energy intensive?

Is it really more energy intensive to feed a chicken than a pet parrot, or even a pet dog?

Some of this does ofcourse come down to legislation - what is allowed to be fed to animals.  In the past pigs, which are not fussy eaters, were given a lot of human waste food, which was cheap (in money and in energy), but now health and safety prohibit this (and it was a farmer illegally doing just this that was considered the possible cause of the recent Foot and Mouth outbreak a few years ago).  Similarly, the attempts to feed animal waste tp cattle was considered to be the basis for the outbreak of BSE.  So a lot can be done to reduce cost (in terms of energy as well as money) in feeding farm animals, but it is a question of finding the right balance between this and the health and safety matters.

Another, indirectly related, issue is that of abattoirs.  Changes in legislation for abattoirs has meant a great number of abattoirs have gone out of business, which means that animals have to be transported far greater distances to be slaughtered.  This is both costly (in terms of money and energy) and not particularly comfortable for the animals.
 

Offline that mad man

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Veggie or global destruction
« Reply #7 on: 26/04/2008 19:57:13 »
If it was proven that it would help then yes, although..

I would rather keep to a balanced calorie restricted diet as I do now, as think over consumption is a big problem. Some individuals consume far too much and obesity is becoming common in our modern way of living. So if you can, consume less food and energy on a personal level as I'm sure that would have a greater impact.

Increased intensive farming I think would only exaggerate the problem.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #8 on: 26/04/2008 20:38:28 »
I'm a farmers daughter and love meat with a passion but at the moment I'm looking at my eating habits and feeling....well....guilt. I think food is going to be the biggest global problem of the near future. We may all have to think about what we eat and how it is produced. I would find it very hard to be a veggie and yes I agree with JimBob that people that have the resources should hunt. I also think that farming is too intense and that animals don't need to be fed the way they are. I wasn't suggesting killing all ruminants, just phasing out all farmed ruminants. 
 

another_someone

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« Reply #9 on: 27/04/2008 02:35:25 »
I wasn't suggesting killing all ruminants, just phasing out all farmed ruminants. 

But the point is still, it is not the ruminants that create the methane, but the bacteria that break down the cellulose, and so long as cellulose is being broken down, whether in the gut of a ruminants or elsewhere, then you are likely to get the same level of methane.

As for making farming less intense - I agree, but how do you do it?  Land is a scarce resource, and at least in the South-East of the UK, the Government has ordered the building of another 2 million houses, so where do you put the land hungry low intensity farms?

Low intensity farming is also labour intensive.  Should be good in a country which still has too many unemployed; but people want cheap food, and high wages, so how do you get people to work cheap on the farm?  Just look at the screams caused by the recent rises in food prices, at least in part caused by increased pressure on arable land from the biofuels industry - so what happens if we add to that by making farming less intense, and so more expensive?

In some ways, ofcourse reduces political micromanagement of farming, and reduced bureaucracy might help, but not likely to happen (in any case, it is dubious if simply removing the bureaucracy after it has done its work of pushing out many small farmers can really turn back the clock to where it was).

Ofcourse, a long term answer may yet be the creation of synthetic meat grown in vitro (why grow a whole cow when all you want is a rump?).  In the broader sense, I really doubt that this will be seen as environmentally friendly (i.e. farms provide much of the base for a large part of the local ecosystem that support modern flora and fauna, and simply shutting down the farms will also shut down this ecosystem); but it will at least be more fuel efficient (and many will see it as morally superior to eating meat off the hoof).
 

Offline JimBob

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« Reply #10 on: 27/04/2008 17:13:29 »
whether it is the cow or the bacteria doesn't amount to a cup of beans

The microbes are in the ruminates so there can be no separation of the two. Growing meat in vivo is hypothetical right now.

The BEST thing that can happen for the world is the Malthusian Principle to start operating - and we are seeing signs of that occurring.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #11 on: 27/04/2008 20:55:59 »
Perhaps we should pay more attention to GM foods and other scientific breakthroughs that have been burried by over concerned under educated people.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #12 on: 27/04/2008 21:18:18 »
whether it is the cow or the bacteria doesn't amount to a cup of beans

The microbes are in the ruminates so there can be no separation of the two.


It might not amount to a cup of beans (rather a choice term given the effect of the beans on human digestion) if the bacteria were only in the ruminates, but the point I was trying to make is that they are not only in the ruminates, so the issue there is not solely anount ruminates with bacteria, but all the places the bacteria are.

The BEST thing that can happen for the world is the Malthusian Principle to start operating - and we are seeing signs of that occurring.

I suspect the world is a little more complex that Thomas Malthus had proposed.  As to whether that would be good or bad for the world, I am not sure how we would judge the good or bad for the world - does the world have notions of what is good or bad for it?
 

Offline that mad man

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« Reply #13 on: 27/04/2008 21:21:05 »
Perhaps we should pay more attention to GM foods and other scientific breakthroughs that have been burried by over concerned under educated people.

Maybe that's what the scaremongering is all about, to frighten the people so they will accept anything including GM crops.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #14 on: 27/04/2008 21:22:04 »
Perhaps we should pay more attention to GM foods and other scientific breakthroughs that have been burried by over concerned under educated people.

How specifically do you see GM foods as a panacea to our ills?  Then again, maybe the question should be which GM - since GM is a wide umbrella concept, that may do good or may do harm, and the problem is that we need first to have the tools to know which particular GM will do which.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #15 on: 27/04/2008 21:27:36 »
I'm not saying it is a perfected science, I'm saying that future food shortages may be helped my future discoveries that should be explored fully. Scientists are now discovering how to stand up for themselves in the media and this is vital if we are to face and solve the problems the future may hold.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #16 on: 27/04/2008 21:43:54 »
I'm not saying it is a perfected science, I'm saying that future food shortages may be helped my future discoveries that should be explored fully. Scientists are now discovering how to stand up for themselves in the media and this is vital if we are to face and solve the problems the future may hold.

Valid points, but science should not presume to make political judgements.

In a way, it is not for scientists to "stand up for themselves in the media".  This presumes that science should have its own political agenda; but science cannot provide answers, it can only provide possibilities (all of which contain both hope and risk, and no scientist with any sense of reality can presume to put forward risk free answers, and it is not their place to choose which risks society as a whole may choose to take, and which society as a whole would choose to shy away from).

I agree that new science can provide us with new possibilities, new hopes, and new risks, and they should be assessed; but it still holds that no hope is risk free, and it is a judgement that society as a whole must take as to which risk is to be embraced, and which to be shunned.
« Last Edit: 27/04/2008 21:46:08 by another_someone »
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Veggie or global destruction
« Reply #17 on: 28/04/2008 19:13:19 »
My point is that scientists need to be more vocal about what they are doing and why. The general public need the facts and they don't always get them and therefore don't make informed decisions when their opinion is asked for. I'm not suggesting scientist should take over the world for the greater good. *Stokes white cat and looks slightly menacing.*

By the way it has come to my attention that this strand may be moved. When exactly were the moderators going to ask my opinion on this??? I don't like hearing news second hand!!
 

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Veggie or global destruction
« Reply #17 on: 28/04/2008 19:13:19 »

 

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