Deer Friends, Wolves, Lynx’s and sheep! Here is a link to Rebecca Hosking’s recent talk in Chagford.
I would like the BBC and all media corporations (and Cowspiracy – the film) to differentiate between grass fed animals and grain/soya fed intensively farmed animals as it is of supreme importance and there is a planet of difference.
Before humans became agrarian, rather than hunter/gatherer, there would have been vast numbers of grazing animals to hunt, living in balance with preying animals. These animals – and grass-fed equivalents today – belch a minute amount of methane that would not affect the planet in the way that our belching, methane emitting, grain and soya-fed intensively farmed animals are today. There would not be the methane emitting slurry to deal with either, as a roaming, grazing animals’ dung will be taken care of by nature, in the natural way. Roaming or field grazing animals that are carefully managed outside and year round, are actually keeping carbon in the ground, especially if they are managed without imported feed supplements, but with herb rich leys.
If you would like to make any points about this, I would love it if you could answer these specific questions:
1. Do you know the source of all the proteins you eat, plus the displacement of that source’s local ecology? I am thinking in particular of almonds, 95% of which come from California as a mono crop. This has meant that local insects have been wiped out by insecticide to the extent that thousands of bee colonies have to be annually transported by road from Canada to pollinate the almond blossom.
2. Do you understand the full cost of wearing synthetically manufactured fibres, their sources, the chemicals used in processing, the resulting pollution caused, particularly in Chinese rivers?
3. If animal livestock was stopped and replaced by farming of more soya, wheat, maize, palm oil and other monocrops, how do you propose to prevent the mass destruction of local environment to make space for it?
It is my strong opinion that livestock has a huge part to play in providing us with a very sustainable source of protein and fibre, especially sheep. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to manage them with the knowledge of WHAT these animals eat, HOW they eat, WHICH breeds are the most resilient and therefore require the least interventions (I suggest more primitive breeds), and WHERE they are grazed. Perhaps we should take them off the UPLANDS as George Monbiot suggest, but he does not discuss WHAT we are to grow in the lowlands, or where our textile fibres should come from.
This whole subject is incredibly complex, and there is no single answer to it, but what I am sure of is that humans are omnivores, and it is wrong to pigeon holes ourselves into camps or tribes through our eating habits, but to work together with an enquiring and open mind to find diverse solutions to our food and textile needs.
I took over the rental of this chapel with this psalm number announcement. If you get the joke, please tell me what you think it is and send me your address and I will send you a free pair of 100% organic, local, primitive breed wool insoles!
Image by Rebecca Hosking