Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Protesters chip away at Garrett's forests stance

Peter Scott Poitras ppoitras at charter.net
Tue Sep 28 07:08:19 MDT 2004


FYI, beef cattle and dairy cattle are two segments of the same species that have been bred over generations for different purposes.  In general practice, beef cattle (various breeds) are not milked, rather their young are allowed to be raised nursing.  Dairy cattle, on the other hand, have their calves fed with replacer, so that the milk is used for human consumption.  So sometimes dairy cattle are used for meat, but that is a side product, not their main focus.  However, the converse, beef cattle used to produce milk for human consumption, is hardly ever true.

My point is, it's not quite as simple as saying that bovines are used mainly for meat production, and milk is a side product.  They are two reasonably separate entities.


> From: "Kate Parker Adams" <kate at dnki.net>
> Date: 2004/09/28 Tue AM 08:56:48 EDT
> To: "Powderworks at Cs-Lists. Cs. Colorado. Edu" <powderworks at cs.colorado.edu>
> Subject: RE: [Powderworks] Protesters chip away at Garrett's forests stance
> Ah Julian, we meet again ...
> In the US at least, beef is the reason for cattle, followed by dairy.  The
> less beef eaten, the less grazing land, etc. and the less the environmental
> impact.
> The cattle industry could not survive on the leather trade.  Period.  It is
> entirely argurable that it is more traditional than economically feasable,
> actually.  Leather is essentially value-added trash, and the cattle industry
> doesn't see much of that added value.  That's why the cattle industry throws
> subsidized tizzy fits when beef consumption drops, but doesn't launch huge
> "wear REAL leather" campaigns in the face of challenges from ultrasuede and
> pleather.
> Furthermore, why "bring and end" to it?  Everything doesn't have to be so
> absolute - and there are sustainable and organic cattle operations as well
> as local suppliers to consider.  Furthermore, if you are aware of organic
> farming techniques or read Guns, Germs, and Steel, the traditional farm is a
> poop-based ecosystem and many farms have gotten into the business of
> ranching because they need all that crap to keep the veggies growing and the
> land .  Even devoted vegan/vegetarian producers either keep animals around,
> keep dairy animals, or use manure from other sources.  Otherwise, farmers
> must use chemical fertilizers and that becomes unsustainable and damaging
> rather quickly.
> Of course, the dynamics of this are extremely skewed by large scale
> operations driven only by dollars in/dollars out.  Those should be the real
> target.
> Modest reductions in beef consumption by a very large number of people are
> more likely to happen than convincing a select few to abstinence - and thus
> more likely to make an extensive dent in mainstream factory cattle
> production (and the attendent impacts)and skew the economics toward
> sustainable local production.  People tune out moral judgments, but can be
> convinced to buy less of a better product.
> Yes, some people would like to bring an end to ranching, but it isn't going
> to happen.  Let's not even go into the cows versus pigs either, given the
> extreme animal welfare and environmental disasters in factory farming of
> swine.  I go for the impact, not a pure society or self.  Not eating cows
> reduces the beef demand that drives the industry.  Reduced demand means
> fewer cattle and less environmental impact.  It goes to the dominant term in
> the economic equations of unsustainable production.  By comparison, wearing
> or not wearing leather is so economically trivial to the cattle industry as
> to be a matter of fashion or taste or ideology.  Third-world sweatshops and
> the treatment of the humans who add value to that leather on the other hand
> are a far more compelling reason to forego the fancy jacket or the Nikes.
> -kPa