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Cowspiracy Documentary  RSS feed

 
Justin Gonzales
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I just finished watching the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. I am a vegetarian and found this is making me lean even more towards being a vegan or knowing if the products I'm consuming are truly sustainable. They talk to Michael Pollan, and have a mention about veganics. There is nothing about permaculture unfortunately.
One disturbing part they show some of Allan Savory's early work with the killing of some elephants and talk briefly about how they don't want to take advise from someone who could do that. I'm sure that the evidence Savory has in his 30+ years is not in line with this films goal. but it does bring up questions about being Eco and the amount of space it takes to feed cattle vs. us growing our food. I would love to hear what Paul has to say on this documentary. Hint hint. maybe in podcast form.
 
Niko Economides
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I agree. This film was popular in my area and has caused quiet a stir. Couples breaking up. Small scale Meat producers have been demonized, including a couple that incorporate permiculture principles. I respect vegetarianism and I believe this is a noble goal for humanity. One step at a time.
 
Chris Badgett
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I got a lot out of the Cowspiracy documentary. It was very eye opening and I liked the story telling format. It's worth watching with an open mind.

If you're ready and can stomach some footage from inside the meat industry, I also recommend you watch Earthlings documentary to round out your perspective:



I am pro-permaculture as you know from our work at http://OrganicLifeGuru.com

My diet is currently 90% vegan.

I have my own egg laying hens and fly fish for trout in the rivers. I eat my eggs some of the fish I catch.

If you are interested in hearing more about the filmmakers of Cowspiracy and their interactions with Allan Savory, check out this podcast: http://www.richroll.com/podcast/cowspiracy-how-animal-agriculture-is-destroying-the-planet-what-you-can-do-about-it/
 
Rose Pinder
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Have a look at some of the critical reviews of the film. The film makes bold claims but many of them don't stack up very well at the level of evidence rather than belief. If people want to be vegan for ethical or personal reasons, that's great, it's a good choice for them and the vegan permies are doing good work. It's a problem where people are saying that everyone should be vegan, or that the planet would be better off if everyone was vegan, when the evidence doesn't necessarily support that.

I seem to remember Savory has expressed regret over his actions earlier in his career. I don't see how that can be held against him to be honest. He's had a long career. How many of us haven't changed practice or belief in that time?
 
Julia Winter
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I saw Alan Savory speak at Permaculture Voices 1. He said that the best strategy for revitalizing desertified lands is to utliize large numbers of cattle. (They are necessary for deep rooted perennial grasses to thrive.) This is whether you eat them or not. He also said that advising the government to cull elephants, because they were "overgrazing" their reserve land, was the single most tragic mistake of his life and he will take his regret for that error to his grave. He explained that he was giving them the current thought on desertification (that it is the result of over-grazing), but when they killed thousands of elephants and the desertification not only continued but accelerated, his shock at this horrible tragedy is what stimulated him to think outside the box and see that the grazing animals are essential for the health of the dry grasslands ecosystem.

There is ethical meat production (in my opinion, of course) and there is unethical meat production. Sadly, most of the meat people eat comes from highly unethical sources. I personally don't think the answer is to stop all meat production, but that's my own position. I have personally participated in animal slaughter and believe it or not, I'm cool with that (if done well). I can share a vegetarian's frustration with people who willfully ignore where their meat is coming from without coming to the same conclusion about what's best for the planet.
 
John Saltveit
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I agree with Julia. We have to think about the ecology of that place. Grasslands naturally have large herds of mammals living there. As Savory has explained, that's how the grassland thrives, and all of the other animals and plants thrive there because of that. It's not only about how some humans feel about eating meat. Each biome has a particular way that cycles of nature thrive there. I agree that most forms of raising meat in the US are cruel and ecologically destructive. However, I do go crabbing, clamming and fishing, and I think those are natural things for humans to do. I also eat mushrooms and I don't feel guilty about it. Some people like my wife feel great as vegans and I think that's great, but if we want to change other people's opinions, respectful persuasion and understanding their point of view rather than condemnation is the right way to do it.
John S
PDX OR
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's not possible to have healthy ecosystems without the inclusion of animals. If we're not willing to eat the animals then we have to allow for large predators. Are the vegans cool with large predators where they live? Or do they only want large predators "in the wilderness"?

 
John Wolfram
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I've only made it about 30 minutes into the movie, but so far their position that people need to stop eating beef to help the California drought seems to be a bit of a stretch. If they changed their position to people need to stop eating beef "raised in California" I would be more likely to agree, but beef is a way to move massive amounts of embodied water from water rich areas to water poor areas. For example, using their numbers, a single train car loaded with beef from the water-rich Midwest going to water-poor California moves enough embodied water to more than fill the Empire State building.
 
Kelly Smith
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i just watched the preview -
seems they do no distinguish between, ethically, (possibly regenerative) meat production, and only focus on the land degrading meat production. is that right?

imo - anyone who is familiar with allan savory's work, should be very skeptical of anyone saying they wont take any advise from him. as mentioned above, the killing of the elephants was his biggest mistake - and actually led him to the hollistic management that is currently being used to restore grasslands.



just like others here - i oppose meat production that is degrading the environment, but that doesnt cover all meat production.
imo - movies like this do a huge disservice to their viewers by not including options/stories from people who are producing meat in a regenerative way.

makes me wonder if salatin/douherty would have to say after seeing this movie.
 
Scotia Scott
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So the people at Cowspiracy have their own opinion piece about Allan Savory and Holistic Management up at their blog, in reference to some folks here saying they have not differentiated between industrial and remediative animal agriculture, seems they don't believe in the latter.

http://www.cowspiracy.com/blog/2015/9/23/allan-savory
 
Julia Winter
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Yeah, I read that a month ago when I made my post above. I disagree. I have seen dozens of before and afters, of improved and non-improved (neighbor's) land. Beyond just Alan Savory's work, I've seen lots of evidence that the old idea that desertification comes from "overgrazing" is mistaken. Living in Wisconsin for years, I could see the difference between managed grazing (lush fields) and unmanaged grazing (ugly fields with patches of thistle all over the place, not desert, because it's Wisconsin)

Looking at that blog post a second time just now, they just accept that "overgrazing causes desertification" as an established fact. They lose me at that point.
 
Scotia Scott
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Thanks Julia, having little personal experience with pastured land conventional or holistic, I was hoping for some good news about regenerative animal agriculture after reading the article. It certainly does point out some weakness in the Savory position, so far as being able to reach out to a broader audience who will want to have the scientific answers that the journalist was looking for, and I hope those answers will become available once more work and research is carried out on the subject. If you have any particular links or recommendations to specific information or sites that address and detail successful applications of the method, I would feel great having some awesome resources to point people towards.
 
Julia Winter
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This thread has a link to my favorite Greg Judy video, which is a video of a slide show/presentation he gave to graziers. I think there are multiple resources in that thread.
 
Dan Grubbs
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As someone who practices journalism and studies its practice by others, this documentary left a lot to be desired from a journalism perspective.

It's producers position the film differently than what its content portrays. Essentially, Cowspiracy is a video opinion piece. However, when you speak to some people who were featured in the film, you get a sense that the filmmakers didn't articulate their true vision and objective to those interviewed. For example, I've read Doniga Markegard's lament of this fact and express that she and her husband were misled and deceived by the filmmaker who she felt misrepresented their intent and twisted their words to express things they didn't intend. That, by way of a single example.

Any investigative journalist who thinks they can dismiss a key opposing spokesperson by saying they won't consider what they say credible because they did something they disagree with, is simply a failure at their job. Okay, so you don't want to talk to Alan Savory? Go talk to one of a dozen people who teach the sustainable use of animals in a system (Greg Judy and Gabe Brown come to mind first for me). This filmmaker was not trying to tell a balance story, but advocating a position ... that's an opinion piece and therefore it should be promoted and positioned that way. Not as some objective investigative into the meat industry.

I started out watching this film very interested and intrigued. It didn't take 10-12 minutes into the film when I realized how poorly this piece was positioned and executed. I would tell people involved in the polemic of the meat debate to watch it to be informed so that when it's referenced it can be dealt with appropriately. But, in my opinion, no one should take this film any more seriously than a random Facebook post you encounter at any given time. Hey! someone funded a documentary, so it all must be true!
 
Tyler Ludens
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There are a number of scholarly articles about the effects of managed grazing, if you search under "Holistic Grazing Management." Some of these are only available by purchase. Here's an example of the kind of thing that's out there, if one wants to pursue a bunch of scholarly articles and studies: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3899379?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
 
A Walton
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Tyler Ludens wrote:It's not possible to have healthy ecosystems without the inclusion of animals. If we're not willing to eat the animals then we have to allow for large predators. Are the vegans cool with large predators where they live? Or do they only want large predators "in the wilderness"?



Most people eat cows and pigs. Is that what you are talking about? Historically, what large predators kept pig and cow populations in check?

If you are talking about deer, elk, and other animals that people hunt to feed themselves, that has nothing to do with the movie being discussed.
 
A Walton
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I was actually kind of shocked at how this film revealed big nature non-profits as essentially businesses creating a popular narrative that would drive donations rather than organizations that are truly doing the right thing.
 
Andrew Brock
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I'm surprised nobody is talking about the C02/methane point in the movie. The point about space and management of animals is not the emphasis of the movie. The main point is that industrial animal Ag has huge emissions. Even if the true contribution of greenhouse gas is only 10% , reducing consumption of factory farmed meat can move the needle. This isn't being talked about widely, which was the main point of the movie
 
A Walton
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Andrew Brock wrote:I'm surprised nobody is talking about the C02/methane point in the movie. The point about space and management of animals is not the emphasis of the movie. The main point is that industrial animal Ag has huge emissions. Even if the true contribution of greenhouse gas is only 10% , reducing consumption of factory farmed meat can move the needle. This isn't being talked about widely, which was the main point of the movie


I agree with the points, they just aren't surprising to me. I never thought about it before, but once you are exposed to the scale of the global animal agriculture industry, it seems obvious really.
 
Tyler Ludens
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A Walton wrote:

Most people eat cows and pigs. Is that what you are talking about? Historically, what large predators kept pig and cow populations in check?

If you are talking about deer, elk, and other animals that people hunt to feed themselves, that has nothing to do with the movie being discussed.


I'm talking about the idea that healthy ecosystems include animals, either domestic animals or wild animals.


http://www.permies.com/t/52468/cattle/collection-rebuttals-cowspiracy-anti-cattle
 
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