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animal agriculture

Eating for a better world: Some questions and a guide

From Trophic Tales: The focus on the welfare of individual domesticated animals might be an extension of the modernist tendency to simplify and discriminate. The morality of living, eating, and dying is more complex than two-word slogans can prescribe. If we care about animals —wild or domesticated— we’ve to think in terms of entire ecosystems.

The case against civilisation: Did our hunter-gatherer ancestors have it better?

From The New Yorker: Recent research shows a gap of 4000 years separating the “two key domestications,” of animals and cereals, from the first agrarian economies based on them. Our ancestors evidently took a good, hard look at the possibility of agriculture before deciding to adopt it; because the life they lived was remarkably abundant.

The domestication of humankind

From Pragati: Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, governed by precursors of today’s states? Anirudh Kanisetti reviews James Scott’s lucid Against The Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, which provides surprising new evidence that refutes mainstream narratives of how civilization came into being.

Why meat eaters should think much more about soil

John Sauven writes in The Guardian: Farm animals that are raised intensively require a staggering amount of animal feed and water. Livestock production occupies the vast majority of agricultural land and is the main reason why nearly 50% of the wildlife we share our planet with has disappeared since the start of the industrial revolution.

How India is killing the country’s largest economy of the poor

From Down To Earth: About 70 per cent of India’s livestock is owned by 67 per cent of the small and marginal farmers and the landless, who shifted to livestock in face of uncertain rain and dwindling income. New restrictions on cattle slaughter will severely cripple the livestock economy which is now bigger than crop economy.

Sunita Narain responds to comments on “Why I would not advocate vegetarianism”

When I wrote about vegetarianism, or more precisely, why I as an Indian environmentalist would not advocate it, I had expected an emotional response. My article was meant to provoke a discussion. Here’s what I learnt from the responses; let’s see if we can find a middle way—not to agree, but to debate and dissent.

How Indians started drinking milk (and what it has cost us)

Many people think that milk is normal good food. But a large part of the world until recently never consumed the milk of other animals. Even today, Eastern Asia as a rule does not use milk. So, for some, milk is the greatest food, while for others, milk is one of the five white poisons.

Meat-eating and the environment: An open letter to Sunita Narain

Global Environmentalist writes: Your blog post has given every urban Indian a free pass to continue to devour animals as it pleases their taste buds, all in the name of ‘saving the farmers’. The question is, will these people be able to save themselves when we don’t have enough clean water, air and good health?

Sunita Narain: Why I would not advocate vegetarianism

Farmers need options to take care of animals that are not producing milk. Or they will be forced to let them stray, to eat the plastic cities throw away and die. By banning meat we are literally taking away half the potential income the livestock owner possesses. It is stealing from the poor, nothing less.

Bookshelf: Farmageddon – The True Cost of Cheap Meat

Martin Simpson writes: It is impossible to read Farmageddon without coming to the conclusion that the world’s food and agriculture system is screwed. This is a system that produces enormous quantities of food, yet wastes up to a third of it… What it also produces is environmental disaster, ill health in humans and stressful and unhealthy animals.

Cowspiracy: ‘The film that environmental organisations don’t want you to see’

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary produced and directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. It follows the intrepid filmmakers as they uncover the real impact of the livestock industry. The film investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network, are afraid to talk about it.

Video: Cowism! How an engineer is transforming Indian agriculture

Chetan Raut, founder of the intriguingly named startup Cowism, aims to empower distressed Maharashtra farmers to become self-reliant and financially independent by integrating commercially useful assets like native cattle into farming practices to improve soil fertility, lower input costs, and raise profits. “Invariably, the solutions to our problems lie right under our noses,” says Chetan.

Arms, Agribusiness, Finance and Fossil Fuels: The Four Horsemen of the Neoliberal Apocalypse

Colin Todhunter writes: There is a notion that we can just continue as we are, with an endless supply of oil, endless supplies of meat and endless assault on soil, human and environmental well-being that intensive petrochemical agriculture entails. Given the statistics, this is unsustainable, unrealistic and a recipe for continued resource-driven conflicts and devastation.

Why no meat at the Paris climate talks?

Devinder Sharma writes: The cumulative impact of cattle rearing in Australia, transportation of cattle from the ranches down under to China, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions alone is going to be enormous. And yet meat consumption has not been mentioned at Paris climate talks. The reason is simple. The western lifestyle has not to be disturbed.