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Can anyone comment on regular "animal" permaculture" versus "veganic" permaculture ??

 
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Levente-
I don't think you understood my post.

Levente wrote, "Why do you think that vegan permaculture would want to exclude earthworms or microbes?"

Why do you think that I believe that vegans want to exclude earthworms and microbes in vegan permaculture? I was talking about what you can exclude, not that it was required. Animals come onto the land naturally. If you're going to make an effort to exclude them, there are ways to do it. It becomes much more difficult in some circumstances, like removing all the worms and microbes, which are in fact animals.

I understand that Helen Atthowe has a particular type of permaculture that she likes to espouse that is vegan. She doesn't necessarily speak for all vegans. My wife is a vegan and wouldn't have a problem with animal manure being in the soil if the animal was respected for itself rather than used as a vehicle for manure. Vegans are not a block of people that have to obey Helen Atthowe. Some do , some don't.
John S
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John Saltveit wrote:Levente-
I don't think you understood my post.

Levente wrote, "Why do you think that vegan permaculture would want to exclude earthworms or microbes?"

Why do you think that I believe that vegans want to exclude earthworms and microbes in vegan permaculture? I was talking about what you can exclude, not that it was required. Animals come onto the land naturally. If you're going to make an effort to exclude them, there are ways to do it. It becomes much more difficult in some circumstances, like removing all the worms and microbes, which are in fact animals.

I understand that Helen Atthowe has a particular type of permaculture that she likes to espouse that is vegan. She doesn't necessarily speak for all vegans. My wife is a vegan and wouldn't have a problem with animal manure being in the soil if the animal was respected for itself rather than used as a vehicle for manure. Vegans are not a block of people that have to obey Helen Atthowe. Some do , some don't.
John S
PDX OR



Sorry for not expressing myself clearly. What I meant was that the 'exclusion' of all animals is a false issue. I don't think any sane person - who describes her/himself as vegan or shades thereof - would ever even think of trying to exclude certain creatures from the land, only in the name of a vegan ideal (if there is such a thing). So, I repeat, that's a false issue. No point in wasting our breath discussing it.

Secondly: a vegan person's vegan philosophy (which supposedly determines what one chooses to eat, wear, etc.) should not be equalled with a vegan (or veganic, if you like) permaculture design.

You may choose a vegan design because of your vegan convictions (no exploitation of animals etc etc), OR you may expressly choose a vegan design (=one whose functioning is not dependent on yields obtained from farm animals) even if you're not a vegan by conviction, simply because such a design is more convenient, easier to implement / operate / maintain, makes more sense in your specific situation, and so on and so forth.

I belong to the latter category: I'm not a vegan, but my permaculture design is practically a vegan one (for now), simply for the fact that it is not dependent on the active use of any type of animals.

And a finally: the notion of 'the animal being respected for itself' is an ethical / philosophical minefield. Mind you, this is a non-vegan talking, albeit one who is not interested in either side of the pro/anti vegan argument. However, a philosophical argument is worth thinking through to the end. So... Since you were referring to 'manure' I will assume you were talking about farm animals - in which case the animal is raised either for its meat, milk, wool, skin, etc., or to serve as a draft animal. Hence, definitely NOT "respected for itself'. Even if you raised the animal as a pet - some people do raise horses / ponies or even pigs only as pets - you still cannot say that the animal is "respected for itself", because the purpose of raising it is utilitarian (the animal as a surrogate friend, etc.).

 
John Suavecito
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Levente-
I am going to disagree with you. Many vegans have animals that are not raised for meat or other utilitarian purpose because they believe they are giving the animal a good life and enjoy its company. That's the whole meaning of animal companion. "Surrogate friend" sounds demeaning. DO you have human "surrogate friends"? I don't.

I agree with you that excluding all animals is not very useful. That was my point exactly. I am glad that you understand and agree. It wasn't clarified in the rest of the discussion. It was a minor point in my post, but it seems like it's much more important to you. I was showing many different options.

The whole discussion is a mine field. Saying that animal companions are "used" but other animals aren't seems to be a false dichotomy. All animals make manure, wild or domesticated, and that increases the fertility when properly used. It will occur by default because nature abhors a vaccuum. It makes a broader type of biological diversity and fertility. I wasn't saying that vegans would have a herd for meat of leather, but because they enjoy their company. People like rabbits because they are cute fluffy pets. The benefit of the manure is a side issue.

I understand that you have a vegan design, and that the idea is different than whether you are personally a vegan. There is no magic line between having dogs, rabbits, squirrels, worms, insects, guinea pigs, or raccoons. They are all animals. Your distinction doesn't have any clear bounds.
John S
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I'm pretty sure my cats are surrogate babies.

Here's some of their used litter as a berm planted with Agave:

 
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If “meat is murder”, “tilling is killing” too. Vegans mostly have admirable ideals, but in my opinion often set a moral bar too high for animal to live up to. If beekeeping of any method is wrong because we take the honey from a “subjugated hive” (which I know not all vegans subscribe to), then wouldn’t vermicomposting, or any kind of soil building where we take the fruits of soil organisms’ labor (vegetables etc), also be wrong? We are animals, heterotrophs, that have to eat other living things to survive. I think it’s in our self interest to treat other animals how we would want to be treated if in their position, as best as we can understand that from our perspective. We can only expect to compel someone to do something if we convince them of their self interest to do so, and if it seems like avoiding animal products altogether is what will make a person feel better about what they eat, then I can’t imagine having a problem with that. However I will continue to eat my happy/free to leave birds’ eggs, the meat from excess males, and enjoy the fruits of  their work on my garden soil. I am managing food forest sites with and without animals, and the fertility and work to production ratio of the sites without is much lower.
 
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Ben Stallings wrote:Dr. Elaine Ingham makes a strong assertion...that soil health can be established and maintained at peak productivity using only soil life, no livestock and no manure...She may be somewhat on the fringe for making such claims. I recently attended a conference keynoted by Dr. Christine Jones [who] instead advocates the use of livestock grazing to restore soil health, in line with Alan Savory and the rest.



I don't have opinions of my own, I'm just here learning, but I happen to have just watched the video below because I found it in another thread and wanted to point out that just after 1:36 (at the end of the Q&A), Dr. Jones clearly states that livestock aren't needed and that a diverse microbiome is all that's necessary. (Maybe she's changed her mind in the intervening 5+ years?) Hopefully those going the veganic route find that comforting.

 
John Suavecito
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That livestock aren't necessary to a healthy soil microbiome makes complete sense to me.  The animals that will naturally thrive in an area are different for each ecological area.  In the arctic, it might be caribou or reindeer.  In the desert, it might be lizards or antelopes. We have a lot of elk here in the PNWet, and they aren't livestock, but they are the animals that naturally are attracted to the open areas.  Deer will be in a lot of temperate areas. Here as well.  There will be some overlap between what wild animals can live there and what domesticated animals would thrive there. The job that they do in the ecosystem will be different too.  The size of the animal is often inversely related to the number of those animals on the land.  There are a lot more worms, on average, in an acre, than elk.

I like how she says that less than 1% of the microbes in the soil can be intentionally cultured by humans, and many are inactive at present, and need to be activated by something-presumably something like rain, cold, heat, minerals, etc.  I also like how she's talking about the revising the soil food web, as it is now seen as largely influenced by the fungi in the soil.  Even the role of fungi is changing dramatically, as she talks about how more fungi are now seen as growing from the exudates from both living and dead plants.  Also, the bacteria are feeding on the exudates from the live fungi mycelium itself! Fascinating how the science evolves.  Fungicides are the most detrimental to the soil, therefore.  They shut down the whole system.

John S
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