Comments on: Fido and Fluffy and the Meat Conundrum http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/ Finding the keys to the future…and trying not to lose them in the mess. Fri, 09 Sep 2011 05:07:25 -0700 hourly 1 #?v=3.0.1 By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20815 Sharon Mon, 23 Nov 2009 20:11:53 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20815 I'm afraid I simply don't think we're ever going to get it down to six simple rules for saving the planet. The link you posted is about a specific kind of grazing, not on prairie lands, but in actual high desert. That's hardly an indictment of grazing animals on prairies, using rotational grazing and careful management - I certainly wasn't proposing large scale ranging of cattle in land too sensitive for them. I'd certainly prefer to see sheep rather than cattle on much of the high desert and some of the prairies, and the reintroduction of the buffalo (and thus the judicious addition of buffalo to the diets of people who live there), along with *managed* grazing. Do some research into grass farming and managed grazing. It is irresponsible for most people to eat a lot of meat. That said, there are complexities that simply can't be erased simply by wanting them to go away - northern grasslands and drylands are never going to be tillable - so if we have to relocalize, those people are going to have to eat what grows there. Wet mountain highlands are never going to be tillable - but they can be grazed - the people of the Alps, for example, will be eating a local diet based on milk, not soy. The fact is that we can't uncomplicate life with wanting to. Sharon I’m afraid I simply don’t think we’re ever going to get it down to six simple rules for saving the planet. The link you posted is about a specific kind of grazing, not on prairie lands, but in actual high desert. That’s hardly an indictment of grazing animals on prairies, using rotational grazing and careful management – I certainly wasn’t proposing large scale ranging of cattle in land too sensitive for them. I’d certainly prefer to see sheep rather than cattle on much of the high desert and some of the prairies, and the reintroduction of the buffalo (and thus the judicious addition of buffalo to the diets of people who live there), along with *managed* grazing. Do some research into grass farming and managed grazing.

It is irresponsible for most people to eat a lot of meat. That said, there are complexities that simply can’t be erased simply by wanting them to go away – northern grasslands and drylands are never going to be tillable – so if we have to relocalize, those people are going to have to eat what grows there. Wet mountain highlands are never going to be tillable – but they can be grazed – the people of the Alps, for example, will be eating a local diet based on milk, not soy. The fact is that we can’t uncomplicate life with wanting to.

Sharon

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By: Anna Marie http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20814 Anna Marie Fri, 20 Nov 2009 17:05:06 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20814 Depends which kinds of ruminants or grazers. Buffalo graze a lot differently than sheep, than do cattle. Do you remember the history of the wars between sheep farmers and cattle ranchers in the western United States in the 19th century? This is a really interesting sit on grazing abuse. http://www.rangenet.org/directory/corningr/sweetwtr/impacts1.html Wild grazers also move on and let the fields to heal...domesticated ones tend to stay put and overgraze. So, you aren't convincing me that domesticated animals are great for prairie land or for pollinators. And, yes, I do think it pretty irresponsible to eat much meat when other parts of the world starve and when domesticated grazers make a lot of CO2. When you are trying to institute change, and I think in this case, we can say emergency change as our planet is in big trouble, simple rules make more sense than a lot of "yeah, buts." But again, we can fiddle while Rome burns if we choose. Depends which kinds of ruminants or grazers. Buffalo graze a lot differently than sheep, than do cattle. Do you remember the history of the wars between sheep farmers and cattle ranchers in the western United States in the 19th century? This is a really interesting sit on grazing abuse. http://www.rangenet.org/directory/corningr/sweetwtr/impacts1.html

Wild grazers also move on and let the fields to heal…domesticated ones tend to stay put and overgraze. So, you aren’t convincing me that domesticated animals are great for prairie land or for pollinators. And, yes, I do think it pretty irresponsible to eat much meat when other parts of the world starve and when domesticated grazers make a lot of CO2. When you are trying to institute change, and I think in this case, we can say emergency change as our planet is in big trouble, simple rules make more sense than a lot of “yeah, buts.” But again, we can fiddle while Rome burns if we choose.

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By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20813 Sharon Fri, 06 Nov 2009 13:31:26 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20813 Anna Marie - The point about pasture land is that it isn't an either/or situation - well managed, diverse pasture makes excellent habitat for bees and wild creatures. Given the enormous challenge of feeding the world population, pasture land which can sequester as much carbon as a similarly sized forest, support as many wild creatures, including pollinators, as a similarly sized unmanaged area, etc...is one of the better compromise areas. How do you think, for example, that prairie soils supported so many wildflowers and their polliinators in the western US and Canada? They were grazed and manured by ruminant animals. The reality is that there are large chunks of the planet that can produce human food only by grazing - steep, wet, rocky soils aren't suitable for tillage. Prairie soils lead to disaster if you till them, as do other dryland soils. And lots of people live in these areas - we're not talking about a marginal strip in the suburbs, but the larger question of how you feed people in climates and ecologies where grazing is the only decent option. I'm fine with taxing meat and waste and children - I think we should tax those things. But the reality is that while you can come up with some simple rules of thumb for people who don't want to think about the complexities, the complexities matter - saying "let's treat all meat as equally bad" doesn't make sense. Sharon Anna Marie – The point about pasture land is that it isn’t an either/or situation – well managed, diverse pasture makes excellent habitat for bees and wild creatures. Given the enormous challenge of feeding the world population, pasture land which can sequester as much carbon as a similarly sized forest, support as many wild creatures, including pollinators, as a similarly sized unmanaged area, etc…is one of the better compromise areas. How do you think, for example, that prairie soils supported so many wildflowers and their polliinators in the western US and Canada? They were grazed and manured by ruminant animals.

The reality is that there are large chunks of the planet that can produce human food only by grazing – steep, wet, rocky soils aren’t suitable for tillage. Prairie soils lead to disaster if you till them, as do other dryland soils. And lots of people live in these areas – we’re not talking about a marginal strip in the suburbs, but the larger question of how you feed people in climates and ecologies where grazing is the only decent option.

I’m fine with taxing meat and waste and children – I think we should tax those things. But the reality is that while you can come up with some simple rules of thumb for people who don’t want to think about the complexities, the complexities matter – saying “let’s treat all meat as equally bad” doesn’t make sense.

Sharon

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By: Anna Marie http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20812 Anna Marie Fri, 06 Nov 2009 11:29:33 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20812 http://www.pmac.net/birdbee.htm Food for thought...this is an article in 1996, which already reports honeybee decline in the US, well ahead of the catastrophe we have seen recently in 2007. Note what it says about the important of wild areas for pollination. A few isolated areas of wild habitat won't do it. If the bees die, we die. And it is that simple. http://www.pmac.net/birdbee.htm

Food for thought…this is an article in 1996, which already reports honeybee decline in the US, well ahead of the catastrophe we have seen recently in 2007. Note what it says about the important of wild areas for pollination. A few isolated areas of wild habitat won’t do it. If the bees die, we die. And it is that simple.

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By: Anna Marie http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20811 Anna Marie Fri, 06 Nov 2009 10:23:49 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20811 Sharon: I disagree. If you have a grassy space not suitable for agriculture, how about letting it go wild rather then to feed cattle? Why must we conceive of every inch of land to be for human use or the use of our domesticated animals? Wild Critters need habitat too. So many species are going extinct at such a rapid rate, and we really don't have a clue how that is going to affect the ecosystem. Those critters may be necessary for our survival (bees anyone?), and it may well be in our own self interest to have as many wild areas as we possibly can. As an example, farmers here in the UK are being encouraged to let field boundaries and even entire fields go wild again, because it attracts birds, ballooning spiders, and then they find they don't need pesticides on the land they do cultivate. Legislature is now being proposed that if they don't comply, they won't get as much farm subsidy. What if meat were taxed at the same rate as alcohol or cigarettes? How about the same for pet food? What if we paid people money not to reproduce? What if we taxed people if they wanted a green lawn, and gave them money to turn their lawns into vegetable gardens? How about exorbitant road taxes that would subsidize decent public transport..this encourages people to work at home or work nearer home. Put a tax on every bag of rubbish they throw out, and encourage folks to have composters and a wormery in every garden. These may sound like radical ideas, but it often seems the only way to get people to think outside their own self-interest is to hit them in the pocketbook. If you make certain products and social behaviors super expensive, people adapt and social norms change. Until that happens, folks rationalize their decisions and choices and watch Rome burn. Sharon:

I disagree. If you have a grassy space not suitable for agriculture, how about letting it go wild rather then to feed cattle? Why must we conceive of every inch of land to be for human use or the use of our domesticated animals? Wild Critters need habitat too. So many species are going extinct at such a rapid rate, and we really don’t have a clue how that is going to affect the ecosystem. Those critters may be necessary for our survival (bees anyone?), and it may well be in our own self interest to have as many wild areas as we possibly can.

As an example, farmers here in the UK are being encouraged to let field boundaries and even entire fields go wild again, because it attracts birds, ballooning spiders, and then they find they don’t need pesticides on the land they do cultivate. Legislature is now being proposed that if they don’t comply, they won’t get as much farm subsidy.

What if meat were taxed at the same rate as alcohol or cigarettes? How about the same for pet food? What if we paid people money not to reproduce? What if we taxed people if they wanted a green lawn, and gave them money to turn their lawns into vegetable gardens? How about exorbitant road taxes that would subsidize decent public transport..this encourages people to work at home or work nearer home. Put a tax on every bag of rubbish they throw out, and encourage folks to have composters and a wormery in every garden. These may sound like radical ideas, but it often seems the only way to get people to think outside their own self-interest is to hit them in the pocketbook. If you make certain products and social behaviors super expensive, people adapt and social norms change. Until that happens, folks rationalize their decisions and choices and watch Rome burn.

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By: kestrel http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20810 kestrel Fri, 06 Nov 2009 01:59:23 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20810 As a veterinarian, I'm a big advocate of people having pets, but I am also a believer in LIMITING how many we have: a home with 25 cats isn't healthy for anybody involved. I support our local prohibition against more than 3 dogs or cats in a home (unless you have a kennel license). On the personal side, I have 2 cats at home, strictly indoors. I figure the meat I DON'T eat makes up for the meat in the cat food they DO eat, so it evens out. As a veterinarian, I’m a big advocate of people having pets, but I am also a believer in LIMITING how many we have: a home with 25 cats isn’t healthy for anybody involved. I support our local prohibition against more than 3 dogs or cats in a home (unless you have a kennel license).

On the personal side, I have 2 cats at home, strictly indoors. I figure the meat I DON’T eat makes up for the meat in the cat food they DO eat, so it evens out.

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By: Sonrisa http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20809 Sonrisa Fri, 06 Nov 2009 01:03:25 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20809 There are a lot of social food taboos. It varies from area to area. I was born and raised in Honolulu and pigeons are thought of as dirty pests. Tilapia fish were also thought of as not worthy of eating (only those that are "fresh off the boat" eat tilapia). Here in the mountain west the idea of eating jackrabbit is intolerable (we eat it all the time). All over the US carp and goat are taboos, but they are common food everywhere else. Most people are appalled when we say that we eat rabbit. I think some of it is the "cute and cuddly" factor and the rest is the "only hillbillies and poor people eat that" mentality. I do have to say, I've never been a cat person, but I recently got one. I lost all my beans and about 25% of my wheat crop this year. They got half of my tomatoes etc. I was skeptical that a cat would get the job done, but I was desperate. So we got a 10 week old kitten hoping that she would be ready to catch mice by spring. Two weeks later there was a half eaten mouse on the back porch. The next morning there were three. One time we woke up to 13 mice. We live in the middle of the desert. There's nothing for miles, so we are an oasis out here. She gets mice as well as the butchering scraps, but we do feed some commercial food. We don't take on pets anymore, everybody has to work around here. Needless to say, this little lady is here to stay! (she's also spoiled rotten) There are a lot of social food taboos. It varies from area to area. I was born and raised in Honolulu and pigeons are thought of as dirty pests. Tilapia fish were also thought of as not worthy of eating (only those that are “fresh off the boat” eat tilapia). Here in the mountain west the idea of eating jackrabbit is intolerable (we eat it all the time). All over the US carp and goat are taboos, but they are common food everywhere else. Most people are appalled when we say that we eat rabbit. I think some of it is the “cute and cuddly” factor and the rest is the “only hillbillies and poor people eat that” mentality.

I do have to say, I’ve never been a cat person, but I recently got one. I lost all my beans and about 25% of my wheat crop this year. They got half of my tomatoes etc. I was skeptical that a cat would get the job done, but I was desperate. So we got a 10 week old kitten hoping that she would be ready to catch mice by spring. Two weeks later there was a half eaten mouse on the back porch. The next morning there were three. One time we woke up to 13 mice. We live in the middle of the desert. There’s nothing for miles, so we are an oasis out here. She gets mice as well as the butchering scraps, but we do feed some commercial food. We don’t take on pets anymore, everybody has to work around here. Needless to say, this little lady is here to stay! (she’s also spoiled rotten)

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By: Mark N http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20808 Mark N Thu, 05 Nov 2009 23:38:59 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20808 "Only a small percentage of cats are actually successful bird hunters, although those that get good at it tend to be “bird specialists" Cats are opportunistic carnivores. You are right that some cats are much better at bird hunting than others, but it is still a cat. Put a mouser cat and a hopping-on-the-ground baby bird together and you have a successful bird hunter. “Only a small percentage of cats are actually successful bird hunters, although those that get good at it tend to be “bird specialists”

Cats are opportunistic carnivores. You are right that some cats are much better at bird hunting than others, but it is still a cat. Put a mouser cat and a hopping-on-the-ground baby bird together and you have a successful bird hunter.

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By: Ave http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20807 Ave Thu, 05 Nov 2009 21:22:21 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20807 My mother's dogs seldom ate dog food (typically only biscuits). She fed them leftovers and the meat that was too fatty for the family. My own border collie has kept lots of rice cereal, toast crusts, oatmeal, raw carrots, and meat rejected by children from going to the landfill or composter. Tonight she will finish off the chicken soup (no onions) that the rest of the family refuses to eat after three meals. She is a first rate alarm system and a wonderful friend to a child with a speech disorder. Not to mention her Zen attitude towards children helps me keep my cool when children get too loud and bouncy. One day, she napped with her head near her water dish while the children flew toy airplanes and helicopters around her. I have a homemade dog biscuit recipe that tastes so good that my grandmother used to eat them. She thought they were crackers and we did not both telling her otherwise since they were whole grain. :-) --Ave My mother’s dogs seldom ate dog food (typically only biscuits). She fed them leftovers and the meat that was too fatty for the family.

My own border collie has kept lots of rice cereal, toast crusts, oatmeal, raw carrots, and meat rejected by children from going to the landfill or composter. Tonight she will finish off the chicken soup (no onions) that the rest of the family refuses to eat after three meals.

She is a first rate alarm system and a wonderful friend to a child with a speech disorder. Not to mention her Zen attitude towards children helps me keep my cool when children get too loud and bouncy. One day, she napped with her head near her water dish while the children flew toy airplanes and helicopters around her.

I have a homemade dog biscuit recipe that tastes so good that my grandmother used to eat them. She thought they were crackers and we did not both telling her otherwise since they were whole grain. :-)

–Ave

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By: dewey http://sharonastyk.com/2009/11/04/fido-and-fluffy-and-the-meat-conundrum/comment-page-2/#comment-20806 dewey Thu, 05 Nov 2009 18:55:29 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/?p=1413#comment-20806 Only a small percentage of cats are actually successful bird hunters, although those that get good at it tend to be "bird specialists." Your average barn cat will catch far more mice than birds, and will prefer to chase mice; their innate hunting behavior is tailored to a prey organism that stays on the ground where it belongs. Only a small percentage of cats are actually successful bird hunters, although those that get good at it tend to be “bird specialists.” Your average barn cat will catch far more mice than birds, and will prefer to chase mice; their innate hunting behavior is tailored to a prey organism that stays on the ground where it belongs.

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