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The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I just heard the author speak on Pacifica radio, and am somewhat interested in the book.  I wondered if it might be a good topic of discussion.

Her basic premise is that a vegan diet is very closely tied to strictly-controlled, topsoil-burning, fossil-dependent farming; that producing enough food for a vegan population means excluding (exterminating?) a forestful or prarieful of creatures from every kingdom and maintaining a monoculture where the only survivable niche for an animal is shaped like an operator of heavy machinery.

Wouldn't be fair to do this without some negatives.  One critic says:

she commits numerous logical errors in support of her anti-vegan position, and...she inaccurately attempts to discredit facts about the destructiveness of today's American meat-centric diet based on small samples of data from a handful of existing niche farms that she unscientifically extrapolates to a distant hypothetical future.  When one considers that the vast majority of agriculture in the U.S. today is centered around meat and dairy production -- that the majority of vegetable matter raised in this country is grown to support livestock so that we can have plentiful meat -- one might wonder why Lierre Keith, in her quest to reduce the ecological harm of modern agriculture, decided to come after the veg*ns first, especially as they represent likely less than 5% of the population.


http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/06/12/18601536.php

On the radio she  addressed that critique directly, saying that CAFO atrocities are just feeding on a surplus that is maintained for political/economic reasons; that products of factory farms should of course be avoided, but boycotting all animal products and shrinking demand for meat will not cause farmers to produce any less grain.

I agree with the critic to some small extent, though: her speech took a worst-case figure on loss of topsoil and used that to suggest that all of agriculture will fail.  She acknowledged that some methods are productive and build soil, but I guess the apocalypse myth sells books.
 
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I do think vegan and vegetarian needs to be distinguished. I can initially follow the logic that a vegan diet is more destructive all around in terms of agriculture then a vegetarian or typical diet. I think it is alot easier to tread lightly on the land with animals then with typical vegetable/grain production practices and end up with the same caloric output. when you factor in that typically many of those animals are now dependent on the modern production of grain and farm byproducts it gets a little iffy..........

all in all I am just speaking from my personal quest towards providing more of my own food.....I think I can get more nutritional value out of a goat/chicken with alot less input and alot less impact then I could out of raising all my own ...wheat...... for instance. I also think I have a much more reliable and stable food source due to the variety and stability of the food supply that is providing for my goats and chickens and subsequently...me. they are not dependant on one or a few crops and the inherent instability that rides on. that could be an illusion I sold myself though 
 
pollinator
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after watching the news today I'm thinking maybe people start need to hunt and eat racoons after the 5 nearly killed a woman in Fla.

I'm mixed in my views about vegetarian and meat eaters..right now i believe that a lot of the problems with wildlife is that people aren't eating the wildlife !!

my grandfather was a trapper, there wasn't any meat that wasn't used except for skunk. We ate any and every type of meat and used the hides.

I believe that if there was more hunting of wildlife for food rather than for trophies that we would all be better off.

When animals are not hunted for food, you start getting animals attacking residents looking for food.

there are just too many wild animals in urban areas..sure the urbanites are encroaching and that is another post..but when we allow wild animals to get too prolific then we have serious problems too.

I eat very little meat, but i do eat meat..I eat more vegetables and grains..and grow a lot of my own vegetables..but have not grown grains although I have been debating it.

i'm sure the animals i eat have eaten grains..but most of the wild animals around here eat whatever grows wild.

if you would go back to the origiinal peoples of the world..whether you are religious or not, they ate meat and fish as well as produce from their animals such as cheese and yogurt.

i think people have to be more careful of how they use the resources of this world..yes..but to dismiss eating meat as wise..well then we will be overrun with animals like these racooons, and well, people will die from attacks just like the people ahve been on the news getting attacked..woman mauled by bear, woman had 4bear in her house yesteray, racoons attacking womean  and then the cougars, moose attacking woman, etc..

what if it had been children rather than adults..they would have died..

think people..God  put animals out there for food....wisdom is more important than nonsensical arguments..yes maybe our human population is out of control too..but the stunamis, flue and earthquakes will take care of overpoulation ..too..there is a balance in nature that needs to be paid attention to
 
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Some excellent posts here.  I totally agree that livestock properly raised do a lot less damage -- in fact, they can be beneficial -- than grain and other field crops.  Get rid of the feed lots and factory farms and livestock raising would again be a GOOD thing to be doing.  Get rid of the livestock in a properly managed farm culture and you break a major ecological link -- as most commercial farming has already done.  But saying that livestock are bad and we have to get rid of them just because most commercial farming is being done badly is going at the problem from the wrong end. 

And yes, we need to be hunting the wildlife, not to extinction, but as proper management.  We have a surplus of deer here, to the point where it's difficult to raise a vegetable garden, fruit trees and berries, or even a flower bed.  We had two young bucks clashing horns not thirty feet from our house the other morning, and the flower bed adjacent to the front porch gets pruned on a regular basis.  Some people resort to putting electric fences around their flower beds and gardens, and we may have to do that, too.  Raccoons and skunks are serious predators of poultry and eggs here, too.  Cougar are frequently seen in the area, and one was shot inside our subdivision a few years ago. 

Some people have crossed the line from proper care and management of wildlife to worshipping them -- and often the same people go in the opposite direction when it comes to livestock, and want to eliminate them altogether.  Why are some animals worthy just because they are wild, and others not worthy because they serve human needs?!?

Kathleen
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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The critic I linked to is annoyed by a perception that the author takes her own veganism to stand for vegetarianism in general.

I think the title may have been chosen to be more provocative (lucrative).  In the speech, she opened with something like 'The values behind vegetarianism are beyond question and I still hold them, and people come to it from many directions, but I'd like to examine some of the beliefs that have gone largely un-questioned and may have led people to act on those values ineffectively or even counter-productively.'

Bytesmiths, it sounds like your thoughts on diet are right in line with the author's, only she is rooted in doctrines that would not give you the title "vegetarian."  She seems equally annoyed with vegan ideologues, especially because she was one for a long time, and now I take it she likes to goad them a little.

I think hunting is coming back.  They played a radio program here in the bay area recently about how it's especially catching on among girls: they tend to be better shots, and less ego-driven, so they get more out of it.
 
Leah Sattler
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"What's more important than if your food comes from an animal or not is your relationship with that food. It's hard to have a relationship with a veggie burger or soy milk, unless you grow the ingredients and process them yourself. "

that is a very wise statement. I can't add anything to it. I  think that sentiment should be succinctly put on a t-shirt.
 
master steward
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I like the way pollan addresses this in omnivore's dilemma. 

He makes an excellent case for how vegetarianism represents higher thought.  A state of being above our animalness.  Being evolved.  It sounds really good. 

And then, in the book, he explores how a vegetarian diet ends up killing more animals than an omnivore diet featuring wild meats or meats grown salatin-style.  So on this metric, you are actually more evolved if you are an omnivore.

Of course, if the vegetarian eats exclusively from their own garden or from gardens where the process are not industrial and considerate of the vegetarian mission, then they can probably be more evolved than the best omnivore process. 

I applaud people attempting to rise above - to be more evolved.  I think they just need to understand it better.  If there is a drive for no-till polyculture food, then things will move in a direction that I think is more evolved.  Whether they are vegetarian or "evolved omnivore".

 
steward
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I once went out with a vegetarian.  That lasted about 2 days. 

Pastured and free ranged animals can produce food on marginal lands which can not be used for growing crops.  The argument that meat animals take food from hungry people is baseless.  The argument that confined animal raising is cruel may still have merit, but there is ample meat available from animals that are unconfined.  This leaves the primary argument of killing as the foundation for the vegetarian choice.  They want to get all bent out of shape because I kill my dinner or someone else does it for me.  They want to spend their time worrying about what I do with mine, its their loss.  While I understand their point of view, I will not have guilt thrust upon me, especially when I'm biting into a juicy black angus ribeye grilled to medium rare over an open flame. 

 
pollinator
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i do kind of get a bit depressed when i kill some of my animals... but it cheers me right up when i get to eat them!
 
Ken Peavey
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Me too .  I miss Henny Penny, but she is still with me...in the pantry, on a shelf, in a jar, next to some noodles .
 
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If you go comparing The best practices of permaculture animal husbandry to the worst practices of "big Agriculture" and then decided that omnivorus people only eat from the best practices and that the vegans only eat food from the worst practices, then yes, vegans probably would be killing the environment more than the omnivores.  But that isn't the case.  Come on you gotta compare apples to apples so to speak.  It is all going to depend on where/how the people get their food more than if they are vegan or not.

I expect it will also depend on where the people are as to what diet would be better for the environment.  In cold climates, meat probably makes more sense as part of the diet while in tropical climates, people can survive better with far less meat in their diets since more crops grow year round with better variety.
 
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Our friend in Florida has a very important point.  In temperate climates like here in the Pac NW and farther north, we have lots of shade and cooler temps.  The native peoples ate lots of fish and woodland animals because those creatures converted inedible (to humans) greens into edible products.  The animals were a conversion vector, the same way that plants convert sunlight (inedible to humans) into edible plant tissues.  What I think many veg folks miss is the point: everything kills to eat.  They kill plants to eat.  Plants eat dead plants in the form of compost.  Animals kill plants and other animals to eat.  Wherever you are - something has to die in order for you to eat.  Personally, I dislike the hierarchical concept that "plants are lower on the consciousness chain than animals, so it's okay to eat them".  They're all still alive, folks!
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What about the billions of life forms that live and die every second, everywhere?  Microbes in all their variety might be the most important organisms on earth but they don't get a lot of attention because, well, we can't see them.  We can't see or hear the mass murder that happens when a field is plowed and planted and sprayed.  It's these organisms that industrial agriculture has really waged war on - all the chemicals, no matter their purpose, are microbe killers, and confined animals have to be fed anti-biotics so they'll live long enough for slaughter as their poor guts attempt to make protein out of gmo corn. 

Conversely, animals raised eating perennial grazing fodder improve the food they eat as they return it to the soil through their "business end."  Properly managed grasslands may even sequester carbon!  The bacteria living in the guts of these animals allow them to get at the protein locked up in grass.  We don't have these bacteria in such abundance and that limits what we can eat, even though we are omnivores.  We can eat guilt-free protein that is a gift from the sun if our beef is made of pastured grass. 

I think that vegetariansm attempts to solve the problems of industrialized food, and it should be commended for that.  With holding dollars from the corporations that perpetrate the horrible treatment of soil and animals for the sake of profit surely does have an effect.  But the fact is not very many people can manage the willpower to stop eating meat....I have a feeling it has to do with the fact that we've been hunting and killing and eating things for a long time, longer than we've been growing things to eat.  It might do a lot more good to limit the animal products you consume to those that are produced in humane ways with methods that improve and re-build the soil.  Then you are giving your dollars to people who are going to sustain our species into the future.
 
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People need to distinguish more on the individual's location, what constitutes the diet and what amount of local food is the person eating.

I live in a area with a 12 month growing season; large amounts of food can be grown and alot of vegetarians and vegans (including the resturants ) are really trying to make "local" important even moreso now since organic is passe (since its everywhere). Greens can be grown in December, Citrus and other fruits are hanging in January right now, tubers and nuts of various kinds are in storage.

Most foods I see in Raw books are based on foods that can be grown in my bioregion and aren't that hard to get; the bulk are perrenial seeds and nuts, greens, and fats (avocado can easily grow here).  Even then the foods that are abit extravagant like coconut, cocoa, agave, & the various spices are perrenials are aswell and are carbon sequesters (for those foot print people out here) since many are trees.

But then again since I live in the SF Bay Area the temp. never really goes down 32f most years and the weather doesn't really get people going crazy for anything that has steam rolling off it as it would in say... Seattle or NYC (I have friends who get ice cream and slurpies on the warmer days last month)

Regardless of what views one has brushing entire diets as unsustainable doesn't help; since it varies so much.


But then again I am a Weston Pricer so I eat my far share of meat and dairy; I have no qualms with my rabbit brethren/sistren.
 
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marinajade has a pont people lack the wil power to give up meat.
  on eproblem with vegetarinism is tha tit will deprive us of the contact with animals and reduce the animals around.
  i like the time idea for amount of animals that exist on this earth, including us, it is better for a lot of people to be born in in  a staggered fashion than to have lots now, living in miserable conditions.
I was thinking after reading the farmers markets thread were nmgrower says that often all the farmers have the same gluts at the same time of bill mollison saying that you can feed your gluts to your live stock , and what the two bits of information made me think is that maybe animales is a way of storing your gluts and makeing use of them when you want. agri rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
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TCLynx wrote:
If you go comparing The best practices of permaculture animal husbandry to the worst practices of "big Agriculture" and then decided that omnivorus people only eat from the best practices and that the vegans only eat food from the worst practices, then yes, vegans probably would be killing the environment more than the omnivores.  But that isn't the case. 


I think it is fair to say "that isn't the case 100% of the time."

If you compare the "the standard vegetarian" to "the standard organic omnivore", I think the standard organic omnivore harms fewer animals. 

I think that is a pretty fair apples-to-apples comparison. 

And then if you compare the "the standard organic vegetarian" to "the standard organic omnivore", I think the standard organic omnivore still harms fewer animals.

Now if you move beyond industrial organic into the world of permaculture .... okay, the vegetarian wins on this front. 

 
Heda Ledus
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There is no standard vegetarian! What are you guys talking about?

Like the vegetarians I know stay away from soy and corn, eat alot of local produce and don't eat much grain.

I think that the soy/tofu, potato and processed grain eating people are the ones who do do damage but at the same time unless all the meat you consume is organic, local, and free-range then your no better than them
 
rose macaskie
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On morality which can mean lack of vices that corrupt our godlike nature, but can mean being kind rather than cruel eating, animals has quite a lot of problems.
 For one it makes us tend to underestimate the abilities of animals, we need to to justify killing them also we tend to anyway it is an ego satisfying activity how much cleverer i am than a dog or horse or cow. It has to do with a lack of auto esteem, look if i feel doubtfull about my own worth  i go around trying to feel better by reflecting that at least i am better than a fish.
 Looking to see one self in a happier light by looking for the faults in other animals and humans leads to underestimating the abilities of these and that leads to cruelty like allowing them to suffer from hours of boredom. Like my poor dog does when i write.
Taking away their children and not letting themlive in family groups, is another form of cruelty we impose on animals.
    The opus  dei, catholic sect like group don't let upper class numeries members hold babies, odan, opus dei awareness network, they consider that to do so might wake up th maternal instincts of the super numeries and they will leave the organisation to have babies. As the auxilary numeries, the house cleaning ones are not supposed to have many feelings they can be allowed to nurse babies. the catholics of opus dei type are ever ready to accuse others of being snobby, all insults serve them to force peoples hand and get them doing what the group wants while their attitudes are incredible classist and seem to come from the past  This group is good at holding opposite opinions all at the same time. This use of moral criticism to force others hand is called aggressive proselatism.
   A story that came out of north Korea, talked of the communists doing experiments with the health of some none communists with a family of them and the onlookers guarding this family were suprise because the parents tried ot protect their child they had decided that none Communists were not human.  allowing animals  a normal life style is a demand of the organics if you want to be certified organic.
  In a film about south Africa when the police harassed the protagonists maid going through her house, hut he asked why and they said she had a black male in the hut, male is th way you talk of animals not people.
 in the schindler file the Nazis refere to the Jews as pigs maybe if we treated animals better we would end up treating humans better.  I eat meat but i try not to pretend it is better tahn it is to do so. and i would hesitate to go against it in places were it is hard for vegetables to grow like deserts.agri rose macaskie.
 

   
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Who is us, and who is "them'?


No one but the money counters really likes the animal-factory methods, not even the workers.  And given an economical choice, any eater would choose organicallly grown produce and grain over GMO products fed on petrochemical soup.

    There are plenty of vegetarian, and vegan, as well as omnivore permaculturists. Permaculture seems to me to be more inclusive to all "consumers", and not where vegetarians and omnivores should part company. The things we all have in common outweigh the differences. We all seek to live in balance with natural cycles, to allow our animals to live a healthy, productive and hopefully happy life.

I have not read the book, and cannot comment on anything but what I've read here. Just an apartment horiculturist (nothing permanent when you rent) who  grows greens and beans on the balcony, and happens to be veg.
 
gardener
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I think that Lierre is mistaken and that a vegan diet is the best thing for the planet. But not just any vegan diet... I'm referring to a diet consisting of almost exclusively locally grown fruits and nuts.

There's a big difference from someone who eats a lot of soy and grain produced industrially, and say a fruititarian.

Plant and nut proteins are overall superior to animal proteins. They are more easily digested, come with greater residual health benefits, and are much less likely to be cancerous.

The amount of land needed to produce feed for a given animal is more efficiently used by planting a tree based polyculture. Animal manures as a soul source of nutrient input on the land are not a sustainable practice especially compared to green manures and nitrogen fixing plants. You lose so much of the nutrient by putting a plant through an animal, even if you eat the whole thing, and you salt the earth in the process. It just doesn't add up to me. 
 
                              
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I wouldn't use the blanket statement that using animal manure "salts the earth"  As noted in a soil discussion, there isn't anything gonna come out of an animal that isn't put in just like you can't get a particular mineral from a plant if the soil where the plant is grown is completely deficient.  Here, the issue becomes scale.  If you take lots and lots of manure from animals that are factory farmed and just bury a bit of land with it, you will likely see major imbalance and depending on the animals perhaps salt build up.  Like happens in traditional chemical monoculture cropping systems.  Heck, in some places the irrigation water even causes the salting.  However, if you are forest gardening and have an appropriate number of animals for the space as part of the system, I don't think that will cause huge long term detriment to the soil.

So, if you have a nicely balanced ecosystems developed on a piece of land that is supporting the humans living there.  Then I don't think it really matters much if the humans are vegans or carnivores, if it is balanced and sustainable, it's balanced and sustainable no matter what they are eating.  Then it simply becomes about what is suitable for the ecosystem/climate and the people involved and it is all good in my book.

Lets look for the solutions and help everyone create little forest garden plots where ever they can.
 
Brenda Groth
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whether or not you are a believer if you can appreciate at least the history of the bible and other ancient writings..they ate meat and fish !! and the God of these people demanded it.
 
Travis Philp
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for me it comes down to efficiently using the land as well as ethics. According to this article: http://navs-online.org/veganic_gardening/gardening/plant_agriculture.php you can get a "one-to-one ratio of compost-producing ground to food-producing land".

In terms of ethics, I see that since a person can live solely and healthfully off of the product of plants and still have a wide variety of food to choose from, why should they take the life of animals or plants to sustain themselves? Is the life of a human (given or impact on the earth) really worth so many other lives? And yes I know that fruit and nuts have cells that respirate which technically makes them alive but at least the plant that bore them still lives on.

 
Heda Ledus
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Brenda Groth wrote:
whether or not you are a believer if you can appreciate at least the history of the bible and other ancient writings..they ate meat and fish !! and the God of these people demanded it.


But the whole Garden of Eden thing; Adam and Eve at fruits, nuts, and herbs. Not all that fufilling to me palate wise without some Raw Guru Cook and some spices but its simple and easy to maintain through proper planning.
 
Heda Ledus
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Why wouldn't you? All the nuts I eat are soaked and other than plantains, zucchini, and mushrooms (occasionally on fungi) would I cook a fruit or fruiting body.

Cooking zaps the body/flavour of fruits and seeds; but I am used to raw preparation and dislike roasted seeds of any kind (its actually quite puzzling really when I see people not soak seeds).

Oh and I guess the raw cusine out here is so amazing that I just think fruit + nuts= amazing raw dishes.

But whatever floats your boat 
 
paul wheaton
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I haven't read the book, but I did read "the omnivore's dilemma" where he is sold on vegetarianism for a while and then ....  things change.

So, there is a lot to be said for being a vegetarian that eats from a food forest where there is never any tilling.  But I'm not sure I would label even that "the best thing for the planet."

For one thing, if you took your food forest and did a form of rotational grazing through there, the overall productivity of that same land is roughly five times higher.  I suppose you could do this and not harvest the animals. 

As for nut proteins being better for people than animal proteins - I don't follow that either.  But, human nutrition is certainly something hotly debated.

I would have to say that when it comes to what is best for the earth, a food forest with animals is best.  And then a vegetarian can choose to not eat the animals if they like.



 
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hmmm im a vegetarian myself, and i notice that people usually confuse the different motivations to not eat meat or animal product.

Some people dont agree on killing animals,
Some are motivated by the the horrible conditions in the food-factorie farms of the regular industry
For some its a story of calories invested, input output, or even a climate choice.
some are opposed to the production of soy for animal food and the wrecking of local communities, the forrest and environment in general in south americas.
(holland, where i live, is mainly a meat producing, huge factory farming country. 99% of that meet and milk is exported elsewhere. we are the biggest buyer of south american soy...)

exept for the people that argument they dont morally agree on killing animals, most of those arguments would just be arguments against factory farming. in a decent balanced system which respect all life and gives animals a place in this system, most of the arguments wouldnt survive.

as i dont oppose killing an animal if you really need it i find it dificult to explain to explain to pc people in my surroundings my consistancy of not eating meat. i dont think its morally wrong in itself. the thing only is that we rarely really need it.

also the moral argument with me differs a bit. i dont reject the way we keep animals, i morally reject the fact we KEEP animals.

most animals are born just cos we think their parents were usefull and strong in milk o meat producing (not neccisarily resistant or wathever. i can understand on how life on a decent pc farm would be much better fo animals than in the wild. but i really think that the essence of life is trying your best in the rollercoster that is the world, overcoming troubles, finding a mate, maybe even just failing to do so, are part of life. and at least it you who failed, and you got to have a go for it.

of corse animals are not sentient enough to be aware of this, but what makes us human is that we are. we cán perceive thing as morally ok, for me, i then like to act according to tho

If i can hunt my own wild animal, one that at least had a chance, and for which i have to make an effort (hunting with a riffle doesnt really attract me, id like to hunt with a crossbow, or fishing rod) from wild environments, where the wildlife is abundant: GREAT, i would probably still do this only once a year just before winter and then pickle or smoke it.

The thing here in western europe is: WE DONT HAVE ANY "WILD" FORRESTS OR REGIONS AT ALL. AT ALL, LEFT!!!

none, maybe in east czechia, or slowakia, but thats way too far, and even those are also just wildlife reserves, hunting there is not an option.

so this brings me to the point of stating that we people should first prove ourselves.

first show that we can actually take care of the land properly, and take our responsibilty. then when there is really enough zone 5, i would mind to now and than shoot a rabbit.

Then the next poblem arizes, fertilizing, weeding (chickens) eating scraps and those usefull things permies normally let animals do for you. and yes, if you treat them right i would have only very theoretical, moral arguments left.

still i dont want to meddle with the life destinations of animals.

in my ideal situation i would like to have such a healthy zone surrounding my land that wild pigs and wild hens would like to come to my land and weed and fetilize it.

maybe its possible to draw the animals from surrounding woods at cetain moments by opening up fences that normaly project you gardens from getting trashed by wildlife?

in the end its just theorizing, i'm not dogmatic about stuff, and i dont live completely according to my own arguments, since i still drink milk from the industry, which comes to animal treatment and climate effect is of corse horrible.

hmm, maybe i write a bit chaotik, i hope its readable
 
Travis Philp
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We are planning on adding our two pot-bellied pigs into the forest garden mix, and we're thinking about possibly getting some chickens or ducks as well. They would all be pets.

With the absence of grazing stock; wouldn't you still have significant wild animal interaction within a forest garden as long as the design was sound?
 
                                      
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it would seem te me that even without having livestock lots of wildlife will fullfill many functions in your forrest garden indeed.

but many gardeners (more towards france) have assured me that the manure of large livestock is absolutely neccisary for the fertility rate in your soil.

i do know someone who is experimenting with totally "vegan" gardening techniques (so not even using animal products like shit), his system is only a few years old, but he sais it does increase the amount of human labour a lot...

pot-belly pigs are amazing! and really cute...
 
Travis Philp
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paul wheaton wrote:
As for nut proteins being better for people than animal proteins - I don't follow that either.  But, human nutrition is certainly something hotly debated.


Ah, I should watch how I word things. My statement about nut proteins was meant to convey my opinion and not become an authorative statement.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:i do know someone who is experimenting with totally "vegan" gardening techniques (so not even using animal products like shit), his system is only a few years old, but he sais it does increase the amount of human labour a lot...


How does he keep the worms out?

 
                                      
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i know it kinda a joke, but i cant resist reacting.

of corse he doesnt keep out the worms. when i say no animals or animal products, then ofcorse i mean (from) animals in captivity.

as i argumented, for me its not really about the conditions of those animals (rather better than worse of corse but). like i said i would rather hunt a free animal from the woods. animals that mate and get born, not because we chose so, but just nature running its corse.

the same would be my utopian way of gardening.
surrounded by forrest (whoch is back in holland because we took responsibilty for the land around us, and started respecting the other life forms using it), attracting wildlife to serve those functions on our farm, and be able to go away when we are not good keepers of the land, and go forage at scratch the soil at the neighbors place...

its utopian, and im a hypocrit, cos im not living accordingly, i do use horse manure from animals in captivity, i even drink milk from factory farms etc.

but it really would be my ideal way of living.

so i was really surprised, and delighted to learn that somebody is actually trying to develop a method for that. i have a little movie bout him somewhere, too bad its in dutch, otherwise i could post it here. He really puts things in practice, for example he puts out ONE garbage bag every YEAR!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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That sounds great.

I mostly agree with those principles, and I think hypocrisy is much better than softening your values to match your habits. I'm hypocritical about a lot of things, especially the food I buy.

I intend to keep chickens, and that will be within my ethics if they enjoy their lives and do good for the world.

I do think, though, that we have some responsibility for the worms in managed garden soil: they aren't kept in cages, but I believe they aren't wildlife.
 
                                          
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Chickens in Oakland?
Cows in Berkeley? (moo)
the Eastbay's going permie!

Waving from Novato
lc carol
 
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http://www.theveganrd.com/2010/09/review-of-the-vegetarian-myth.html

Not sure what I was searching for that brought this thread up, but it reminds me to post this review of the book. Apparently this book has some problems.

It’s next to impossible to review this book; it is so packed with misinformation and confusion that refuting the claims could be another book itself. This is a long post, and it doesn't begin to address all of the problems in The Vegetarian Myth.
 
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I was vegan for a years until finally being convinced otherwise by reading sally fallon's book Nourishing Traditions.  I think that the key in selecting food is thinking more primitively - eating more raw, what one might collect if they were hunting/gathering (e.g. not the same thing every day, very high proportions of sugary fruits, no hybridized fruits/vegetables, nothing that isn't organically-produced, etc.).

Humans are perfectly capable of producing hunter/gatherer-like food, and permaculture goes a long ways towards this end.  When it comes to animals, they should be allowed to eat what they would naturally (e.g. pasture-feeding for cows).  I read lately about how one should rotate their cows more frequently than necessary, because the cows will naturally eat the plants that are best for their health *first*, and will only fall back on other plants when the land becomes barren of their favorite things.  Makes sense.

IMHO, humans just need to learn to live more in harmony with nature, which is what permaculture is all about!
 
                    
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Brenda Groth wrote:
whether or not you are a believer if you can appreciate at least the history of the bible and other ancient writings..they ate meat and fish !! and the God of these people demanded it.


I think being a believer or having a cultural connection very much determines the significance of that ... what about Hindus and Buddhists and Jains, who avoid meat and fish based on religious doctrines and ancient writings?  The gods and scriptures of these people prohibit meat!!

Also, in the first books of the Bible, foods such as pork and shellfish are declared unclean and an abomination in the sight of God. And beef is OK, dairy is OK, but cheeseburgers are not because it is offensive to God if they are cooked together or eaten at the same time? 

If someone wants to follow dietary laws established by a religion, they are free to do so. But they can't claim that these laws are always based on the health of humans or ecosystems. Religious believers don't usually allow their religious beliefs and laws to be subjected to science - religious laws are a matter of faith, not reason.
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Except for not eating pork... Pigs are nasty creatures, when not on pasture anyways. Yuck.
Raptelan wrote:
I was vegan for a years until finally being convinced otherwise by reading Sally Fallon's book


Yay! A convert!
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I did four years as a vegetarian, almost a vegan. I opted to eat meat again for several reasons including economics (it is damned expensive to be a healthy vegetarian!) and resolving the ethical issues of eating meat (and others).

Seems like I heard a shock and awe story on National government radio (npr) about 6 months ago about one of the big anti-meat authors admitting that animals are as a rule far better off, as is the environment, with omnivores than with vegetarians.. anyone remember this report?

 
Let's get him boys! We'll make him read this tiny ad!
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
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