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A life changing talk?

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    Hi Andre

    More for you to consider…

    As someone with a healthy interest (actually, a slightly obsessive interest) in long term food security, I have been reviewing the literature on food system efficiency.

    It is often said that meat is a very inefficient food – it taxes X amount of water and Y amount of land and Z amount of grain to grown 1kg of beef so we would be much better off just eating the Z amount of grain. In a modern farming system this is true. We use prime agricultural land to grow grain to feed to animals on feedlots so we can eat the animals. From an efficiency point of view this is insane.

    If you look at a more traditional agricultural system though, the story is very different.

    In a traditional pasture based system, animals are a very efficient way of turning marginal – that is non cropping – land into food. Animals will thrive on pasture which will grow well on land that would not support a food crop. There are vast tracts of land that for soil,or rainfall or whatever reason will not support a food crop but will support animals. So by including animals in the food system you get a massive boost to the system efficiency.

    It gets even better as many animals are dual use. You can raise cows for milk for example and also for meat.

    The extra food production has been estimated at around 30% over a vegetable only system.

    Animals also have a third use in a traditional system – fertiliser. The manure from animals is collected and used to enrich the soil in areas that will support a food crop.

    But wait… there’s more. There are also animals, especially chickens and pigs that will thrive on the waste from crop farming. Essentially they turn crop waste (trimmings, spoilage, etc) into more food. This gets you another 10% or so.

    So… if we move away from our insane, modern methods, including animals in a traditional farming system will increase overall food yields by a significant amount. There will be less animals (non intensive farming) so we will eat less animal products, which is a good thing, but the over all system would be more efficient.

    A good intro to the topic is on New Scientist here –

    If you can’t read it I’ll copy the text here.




    I think being an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan is a personal choice. People eat different foods for different reasons; religion, habit, convenience. It is a personal choice. I personally eat a small quantity of red and white meat but I will not purchase seafood as I fear for the overfished seas on this beautiful blue planet and will not add to the demand for sea food.

    What ever your choice I think we owe it to this planet to leave as light a foot print as possible and try to leave things better than we find them.

    I can’t see the point in comparing ourselves and our diets to man of centuries past. We are modern man (and woman).

    Domesticated food animals (such as cattle, sheep, pigs chooks etc etc) have been bred by man for the sole purpose of being food sources. The important thing is that they are humanely raised and humanely slaughtered.

    We live on a large acreage and need to run stock to keep the grass down. Our beef cattle are well cared for and have an ideal life while they are with us. It is a lot easier for ‘city’ people to make decisions which only affect themselves, when you live in the country things can be a bit more complex.

    Where do you draw the line regarding animals? Do you not have animals that are food sources and only have a dog, cat or bird? Why is it morally okay to ‘own’ that ‘pet’ and keep it ‘confined’ in such a manner that ‘suits’ your lifestyle?

    Why do animal activists protest about intensive animal farming and slaughter of ‘food’ animals but I never hear them come out and protest about ‘prescibed’ or ‘fuel reduction’ burns which are carried out in bushland areas killing much of the flora and fauna, particularly when these burns are conducted in spring making it impossible for baby animals to escape?

    I guess we all have our own thoughts and ideas and should respect each others right to have them as long as they don’t push them down other peoples throats.


    Something to consider when next buying beef at the supermarket:

    In the last 5 days of production our local abattoir processing 700+ cattle/day used 293,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 9000 kilolitres of water and 48000 litres of natural gas. This is no estimate, but the actual figures recorded by an employee.


    Reikee post=354479 wrote: Andre you are advocating veganism but have said you aren’t sure you are going to adjust your diet accordingly. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. You either are or aren’t.

    I take my hat off to you should you and anyone else that can be 100% vegan. Personally I can live without the meat but eggs and dairy I choose not too.

    Sorry if this post offends. I just find it confusing when a person seems passionate but won’t go the extra step to live up to it.

    Hi there Reikee and welcome to ALS …

    Not offended as such, but I think ‘hypocritical’ is a bit harsh (but perhaps I’m biased? 😉 ).

    A quick review will indicate I said I was considering the vegan diet … maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It has its upside and downside. I was also looking into the various medical/scientific links that may or may not indicate whether the human animal was meant to eat meat at all. Airgead, and others, have also provided information that would indicate there’s a definite grey area in this. All good healthy discussion.

    I did say I was a vegetarian. But – caught out in a fib – I do (rarely) consume fish (pescetarian), but I will admit, after the vid – fish is also off the menu.

    Like you, however, I do like eggs and cheese and other dairy produce.

    I did say that if it can be done ethically, then it is far better than commercialised/industrial farms.

    So, all in all .. no, I don’t think I’ve been hypocritical in this thread. I hope I’ve been taking things into consideration, been open-minded and happy to listen to others point of view – when they aren’t being derisive.

    Maybe I’ll just be an ethical vegetarian?



    quote=”gardenlen” post=354444]sorry andre you do seem to have head in bucket ideas, no i do not rape our environment, chinese tin and chinese string(tomato’s) is all that is out there the mguls who rape caused that for extreme profits, teh picture is very skew, sorry about spelling being grammar critic seems to be a role you enjoy.

    you can post whatever “best fit” links you like it proves nothing, the links don’t have thousands of years of print copy, all they have is conjecture, common sense says (oh heard on media common sense is neither in action or taught at universities – now that goes straight to the roots hey?) if we are all animals then who is going to be teh goodhusbandmen to tend the animals and plants? obviously not the rich who provide investment in human misery.

    no good mentioning wher the human ethics come from because again it is opposed under teh “best fit” very few have any real understanding and knowledge of that which oseey go against.


    Ah …

    You think I have my head in the sand? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black …. anytime you want to reference your statements, feel free.

    Please indicate to me where I said YOU were raping the environment? I suspect, if you read the words, I asked (after your statement) – “Also, can you prove that only the upper echelon (note the spelling) are responsible for the raping the planet of our resources. If someone uses a resource (say – cheap imported corrugated iron from China) then surely they hold some responsibility towards this ‘raping’.”

    If the shoe fits …

    And yes, I can post the links I want (within the guidelines) because it’s my topic, so, unlikely I will go off topic 🙂 As has always been the case, if someone has an authoritative link (not just a cheap blog) that refutes mine, all good too! – it’s called d i s c u s s i o n .. and trying to be open-minded .. respecting the point of views of others (within reason).

    I have no idea what you are on about re “the links don’t have thousands of years of print copy”. What link does? I thought computers and internet have only been around for a few decades…?

    Please, again, enlighten me. Enlighten us all.

    And now you’re having a go at Universities? What on earth for?

    I’d like for you to explain where it says WE are responsible for the ‘goodhusbandmen’ of other animals?

    You brought it up, surely you can find something to back it up?

    And you lost me on your last line too…..



    Thanks for sharing this Andre. I wasn’t intending to watch the entire talk, but was hooked once he began speaking. I also watched the additional 30 mins of Q and A which is also worthwhile. It’s one hell of a talk, and I’d encourage everyone to take a look – if you dare…

    Thanks again.

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