Posts

Don’t Go Vegan to Save the Planet. You Can Help by Being a Better Meat-Eater.

There are millions of self-described vegans in the United States; recent estimates suggest they are up to 3% of the population and possibly more. They have a host of reasons for justifying their animal-free diets. For one, they argue, animal husbandry is brutal and cruel toward animals; two, they claim that animal farming is ruinous to the environment.

Vegans are not precisely wrong about all of this, but they’re only half-right. It is true that industrial animal farming is ecologically destructive, that it is cruel and barbarous, and that many if not most of the animals unlucky enough to be a part of it suffer in ways that are difficult to comprehend. All of this is well-documented and undeniable.

But it doesn’t necessarily follow that you have to go vegan. If you’re uncomfortable with animal farming, but are unwilling to adopt the vegan lifestyle, you don’t need to stop eating meat. You just need to eat better meat.

 

KEEP READING ON USA TODAY

We Can Stop the Climate Crisis

It’s time to farm (and eat!) like the world depends on it.

We can stop the climate crisis.

At least, we can start reducing the 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently attributed to agricultural activities.

The answer is regenerative organic agriculture. And the time to implement it is now.

In a report published last week, the UN concluded that humans cannot stave off the effects of climate change without making drastic changes to the ways we grow food and use land.

Conventional, industrial agriculture depends on the use of chemical inputs and fossil-fuel intensive synthetic fertilizers, in addition to heavy machinery and tillage, to grow food. Industrial farming also relies on factory farms for animals. These methods release large amounts of carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.

In contrast, science proves that regenerative organic systems, which prioritize soil health and good farming practices like cover cropping, crop rotations, and pasturing animals, use 45% less energy and release 40% fewer carbon emissions than conventional agriculture, with no statistical difference in yields.

KEEP READING ON BCTV

Is Grass-Fed Beef Really Better For The Planet? Here’s The Science

For the environmentally minded carnivore, meat poses a culinary conundrum. Producing it requires a great deal of land and water resources, and ruminants such as cows and sheep are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, according to the World Resources Institute.

That’s why many researchers are now calling for the world to cut back on its meat consumption. But some advocates say there is a way to eat meat that’s better for the planet and better for the animals: grass-fed beef.

But is grass-fed beef really greener than feedlot-finished beef? Let’s parse the science.

What’s the difference between grass-fed and feedlot beef?

Feedlot calves begin their lives on pasture with the cow that produced them. They’re weaned after six to nine months, then grazed a bit more on pasture. They’re then “finished” for about 120 days on high-energy corn and other grains in a feedlot, gaining weight fast and creating that fat-marbled beef that consumers like.

KEEP READING ON NPR

¿Puede la carne salvar el planeta?

Nos han dicho que nuestro consumo de carne está destruyendo el medio ambiente, pero el verdadero problema es la producción de carne, no la carne en sí.

La carne ha tenido unos años difíciles. Desde que un informe impactante de 2006 descubrió que el ganado es un importante contribuyente al cambio climático, ha habido un movimiento nacional, si no global, para comer menos carne.

Pero muchos expertos dicen que la guerra contra la carne está perdiendo el punto. Existe un extenso cuerpo de investigación que sugiere que el ganado no debe culpar a la crisis climática. De hecho, estos expertos argumentarían que los animales de pastoreo son una parte crucial de la solución.

Los métodos actuales de producción de carne son absolutamente inaceptables desde un punto de vista ambiental y de bienestar animal, pero eso no nos lleva lógicamente a la conclusión de que debemos deshacernos de la carne. 

CONTINUA LEYENDO EN MUNDIARIO

Plant Sentience and the Impossible Burger

What is consciousness? It is awareness of self, others and our surroundings. What is sentience? It is the ability to perceive, experience and feel things.

The concept of sentience is a key part of animal rights. This is because it is necessary for animals to be sentient in order to experience pain and distress and the reason why reasonable people oppose animal cruelty. It is also part of the concept of the sanctity of life.

Scientific research shows that plants possess these same attributes. Plants are conscious, sentient beings.

In 1973, The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documented experiments that showed plant sentience. The book gave many examples of plant responses to human care, their ability to communicate, their reactions to music, their lie-detection abilities and their ability to recognize and to predict. It was a best seller. However, despite quoting from a range of research, it was met with skepticism by many scientists and academics.

Since then, thousands of published studies present a body of evidence that plants are conscious, sentient beings.

KEEP READING ON ECO FARMING DAILY

Can Meat Actually Save The Planet?

Meat has had a rough few years. Since a shocking 2006 report found that livestock are a major contributor to climate change, there has been a nationwide ― if not global ― movement to eat less meat.

But many experts say that the war on meat is missing the point. There is an extensive body of research suggesting that livestock should not shoulder blame for the climate crisis. In fact, these experts would argue that grazing animals are a crucial part of the solution.

“The current methods of meat production are absolutely unacceptable from an environmental and animal welfare standpoint, but that doesn’t logically lead us to the conclusion that we should get rid of meat,” said Nicolette Hahn Niman, an environmental-lawyer-turned-cattle-rancher and author of “Defending Beef.” “The conversation tends to miss this basic point: It’s not whether or not we have animals, it’s how they’re managed.”

Niman’s bookexplains in great scientific detail how, through proper management systems, livestock have the potential to positively impact ― even reverse ― the effects of climate change.

KEEP READING ON HUFFPOST LIFE

How Farming Can Change to Feed Us All While Saving the Planet — and No, You Absolutely Won’t Have to Become Vegan

Sir David Attenborough and most of the elite of the scientific community are now telling us that we only have 10 years to act if we are to avoid irreversible climate change. They’re also saying that farming must play a leading role in helping us achieve net zero emissions.

It’s not surprising that most farmers and landowners are asking how they should respond.

Most experts agree that the only way we can actually take CO2 out of the atmosphere is to rebuild the soil carbon that 50-plus years of continuous arable farming has removed. To do that, we need to switch to mixed farming systems that include a crop rotation with pastures grazed by cows or sheep.

The key question is how could such a switch be profitable, especially in a country whose younger generation — including our own children — is reducing its intake of red meat, believing it’s the right thing to do, both for their health and the health of the planet, in some cases going vegetarian and vegan?

KEEP READING ON COUNTRY LIFE

Regenerative Agriculture Hits the Mainstream

If you’re a cattle producer, you may already have heard the term “regenerative agriculture.” If you’re a grain producer, maybe not.

But that’s about to change. This spring, General Mills announced a plan to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Canada by 2030, and Cargill Canada announced its Sustainable Canola Program.

“We have been feeding families for more than 150 years and we need a strong planet to enable us to feed families for the next 150 years,” General Mills chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening said in a press release. “We recognize that our biggest opportunity to drive positive impact for the planet we all share lies within our own supply chain, and by being a catalyst to bring people together to drive broader adoption of regenerative agriculture practices.”

The Rodale Institute in the U.S. coined the term to describe a kind of organic agriculture that not only maintains soil resources but improves them by limiting soil disturbance, maintaining soil cover, increasing biodiversity, keeping living roots in the ground and integrating animals into cropping systems.

KEEP READING ON COUNTRY GUIDE

Dr. Richard Teague: Regenerative Organic Practices “Clean Up the Act of Agriculture”

While earning his undergraduate degree, Dr. Richard Teague knew that the grassland and cropping management being taught wasn’t truly sustainable.

“Agricultural land is generally being managed in a manner that is degrading the land resource. In particular, the soil function and ecosystem biodiversity that we need working properly to provide the ecosystem services that we depend on—we have to look at it in a different way,” he tells AFN.

Now a grazing systems ecologist and professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Teague grew up in Zimbabwe. His father had an ecological education, so Teague has always approached agricultural research through this lens. After obtaining a PhD in the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, he was recruited to the United States in 1991. Then, looking to speak to farmers who had shown the highest soil carbon levels while doing well in their businesses, he contacted the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas.

KEEP READING ON AGFUNDER NEWS

Impossible Foods and Regenerative Grazers Face Off in a Carbon Farming Dust-Up

Rancher Will Harris says he was “stunned” when he got wind last week that Impossible Foods, the makers of the plant-based Impossible Burger, called regenerative grazing “the ‘clean coal’ of meat” in their 2019 Impact Report.

Speaking by phone from White Oak Pastures, his 153-year-old farm in Bluffton, Georgia, Harris said, “I think there were many mistruths in that attack.”

The feud is the latest in an ongoing discussion about whether regenerative meat production and high-tech plant-based alternatives can co-exist. And for holistically managed animal operations like Harris’s, the suggestion that all meat production should be seen as having the same impact on the environment constitutes a battle cry.

Addressing Climate Change

“We emulate nature,” Harris says in defense of the 2,500-acre farm where he raises 10 species of livestock in a vertically integrated cycle. At White Oak Pastures, Harris’s “100,000 beating hearts” are born on the farm, reared in its plentiful pastures, and slaughtered on site.

KEEP READING ON CIVIL EATS