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The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

 
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Raptelan wrote:
But I don't believe that killing a cow is inherently any more inhumane than killing a kale plant



How did you come to this conclusion?
 
                                    
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Be vegetarian if you want to.  Be vegan if you want to.  But don't try to claim that you're more righteous when you are actually *less* ethical and humane and caring of animal life!



Ok I will be vegan - thanks.  And I don't try to claim I am more righteous than someone who eats meat and, rightly, they usually offer me the same courtesy.

Alan Watts wrote an interesting article called 'Murder in the Kitchen' where he argued that since we cannot stick our feet into the soil and photosynthesize, we must kill and eat other organisms. Since we recognize animals as being more similar to us, we tend to value animal life more than plants and fungi (regardless of how genetically or evolutionarily complex those plants and fungi may be).



Hey looks like that article is available here:  http://books.google.com/books?id=Tfx-630IhzUC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=murder+in+the+kitchen+alan+watts&source=bl&ots=k1HCNEwhUr&sig=oWev4DBFNo-y08xzRbbVK_6GqmU&hl=en&ei=4qDpTLC5EILMngeJ0LHUDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false
 
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christhamrin wrote:
And I don't try to claim I am more righteous than someone who eats meat and, rightly, they usually offer me the same courtesy.



I apologize if I came off as seeming to act more righteous - that wasn't my intention.  I have plenty of respect for a vegan diet - I'm just weary of extremist dogmatic views.  A vegan friend of mine recently called me responsible for rape and murder because I used butter in a recipe.  And the article seemed pretty dogmatic as well.
 
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Raptelan wrote:
A vegan friend of mine recently called me responsible for rape and murder because I used butter in a recipe.



Are you sure this person is a friend? 
 
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Hello everyone,

This is my first post aside from the singles section. I just wanted to say that there is a large percentage of raw vegans who don't eat grains, soy or corn. Many don't eat grains because several grains are stored for longer than 90 days. This can cause deadly mycotoxins to grow all over them.

Some grains are stored for years. Those mycotoxins can cause ulcers, migraines, cancer and death. Even some grain storage buildings are often sprayed with nasty chemicals to keep the known mycotoxins at bay. Many folks may think that they have an allergy to wheat, when it could very well be their bodies reaction to deadly mycotoxins.

Grains that are not usually stored for over 90 days like Quinoa and Millet, carry less mycotoxins, but can contribute to blood sugar changes, weight gain and diabetes. Quinoa and Millet are not technically grains, but probably use the same amount of land/water to produce as other grains. (Amaranth, Buckwheat & Spelt are also usually only stored for about 90 days)

About 90% of all soy is GMO as we know, and corn contains 25 mycotoxic fungi. No Thanks! Especially if someone has a weakened immune system already...

I think grains stored under 90 days are a great transitional food though. They help folks break away from much of the deadly mycotoxins, and are more alkaline than acid producing.

Lastly, many raw vegans enjoy growing most of their food indoors with very little soil. I think it's a pretty small footprint to be a sproutarian raw vegan, but I could be wrong...

Have a great week Permies!

sandra



 
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Sandra Barnum wrote:
Quinoa and Millet are not technically grains, but probably use the same amount of land/water to produce as other grains.



not really central to your lovely post, but millet is a grain, being a member of the Gramineae family (or Poaceae, if you're keeping up with the latest taxonomic gossip).
 
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I would like to remind folks to not bash the positions of others.  Make your position clear and have it stand on its own without having to degrade other positions. 

Raptelan,  I would like to ask you to edit your post a bit.  Rather than referring to other positions as "unreasonable" perhaps you can clearly state your own position.

Overall, I think this discussion is doing pretty good!  Thanks everybody for respecting the opinions of others!

 
Tyler Ludens
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My primary concern with raw veganism is how to get sufficient calories.  Can they eat nuts?   
 
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Ludi, there are raw vegans who take the nut approach (bad idea in my opinion, all that fat), and those who eat a lot of fruit. The latter are often at least partly informed by the 80/10/10 approach, meaning calories come from about 80% carbohydrate and 10% each of fat and protein. In practice, this means a big pile of sweet fruit! Not really viable in the long term unless you live in the tropics or some other place conducive to high and varied fruit productivity, but if you can afford it, it's great!

Veganism is fundamental to my outlook (although I'll wear second-hand wool!), an approach which has served me well for years. I'm in great shape and rarely even catch so much as a sniffle in winter. But any time I've been able to go 100% raw, even for a few days, the difference has been amazing. Sharper mind, waaaaay more energy, feeling light and happy all the time - give it a go!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for the info, Puppies!  Regarding fat, there are people now who are arguing we should be eating more of it!  The Paleo diet people are like this, they believe lots of fat is good for you.    I am eating a Paleo diet with some, not a lot, of fat.  I already have plenty of fat on my body, don't need any more thank you very much!    In fact I am reducing the meat part of the diet quite a bit because good quality (non-industrial) meat is so expensive. 

Regarding a high fruit diet - I've read concerns about this messing with blood sugar levels.  Do you know much about this? 
 
Sandra Barnum
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Thank you Tel Jetson,

I wonder why the current info says that Millet is technically a seed, not a grain...maybe for easy categorization? Thanks for the correction Tel!

sandra
 
C Shobe
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paul wheaton wrote:
I would like to remind folks to not bash the positions of others.  Make your position clear and have it stand on its own without having to degrade other positions. 

Raptelan,  I would like to ask you to edit your post a bit.  Rather than referring to other positions as "unreasonable" perhaps you can clearly state your own position.



Paul, I edited it a bit - I took out the "unreasonable" word and explained instead why it seems "unrealistic", to me.  I certainly am not trying to bash anybody else's position, but I think sometimes my bluntness may come across that way.  I also added in some more explanation, but I'm not sure if it helps what you felt was a problem or not.  Would you mind taking a look at it now and letting me know if you feel there's still something that needs to be made more amicable?

And to anyone else, for the record, just because I have my own opinions and views, does not mean I look down on yours!  I don't and hope that I don't come across that way.  Please let me know if I ever seem to be and I'll try to do better.
 
C Shobe
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Sandra Barnum wrote:
This is my first post aside from the singles section. I just wanted to say that there is a large percentage of raw vegans who don't eat grains, soy or corn. Many don't eat grains because several grains are stored for longer than 90 days. This can cause deadly mycotoxins to grow all over them.



Do you have some URL's for further reading about these mycotoxins?  I haven't heard of them before.

I have read that it is better to grind your own grains into flour because the oils go rancid quickly once a grain is reduced to flour, but I didn't think there was an issue with storing grains for a long time - at least not if it was less than a year...  I haven't looked into this at all, but I figured it was probably okay to store grains for a couple years or more as well, as they are seeds and a good fallback in case of food shortage in future seasons.

How do you feel about sprouting grain that have been stored (assuming in non-chemical conditions) for a long period of time?  Does the sprouting process negate any danger of mycotoxins?

I've also read that one should ferment any grain flour before using it - e.g. letting it soak overnight with yoghurt, in order to break it down more.  This can also remove the symptoms of allergic reaction.
 
          
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I agree with Raptelan.
Life is life. We  all take it but none of us can  ever restore it once gone, no matter how simple or "lowly" it may have seemed.

Categorizing life as having more or less value based on how similar it is to us is hubris to the nth.
 
                                    
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The only thing I ask is that people don't try to claim that they're more righteous when than another for their choice - especially as it seems that those views may actually be *less* ethical and humane and caring of animal life in the grand scheme of things!  "Right" and "wrong" are something we can only try to figure out for ourselves, and the most important aspect of doing that is to be as aware of every detail possible that our life impacts.



i think this was covered earlier in the thread, but explain to me how eating no animal products is less ethical and humane than eating them.  i guess the problem is what diets you are comparing. 

so imagine there are three permaculture buttons in front of you.  if your press one makes you a a omnivore, another a vegetarian and one a vegan.  in every case all the food is grown yourself with perfectly aligned with permaculture principles (this is a thought experiment so lets have you grow all your own food for simplicitys sake and lets also assume for a moment you can be vegan and be aligned perfectly with permaculture principles).

now which one of you is the most ethical and humane in regards to animal life?
 
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Christhamrin, in answer to your question above:

The vegan button: I believe that if you take into account the ground water, salting of the earth, soil compaction, erosion, and air pollution caused by animal husbandry, that a totally homegrown vegan food supply, grown using only plant materials, is the most ethical and humane. In most cases, animals also use more nutrients than they yield.
 
C Shobe
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christhamrin wrote:
i think this was covered earlier in the thread, but explain to me how eating no animal products is less ethical and humane than eating them.  i guess the problem is what diets you are comparing.



Oh!  I don't mean to imply that eating no animal products is necessarily less ethical/humane!  What I did want to point out was that a lot of deaths occur in the creation of non-animal products.  Even if one doesn't value plant life, this is a real side effect.

The form of eating no animal products that I feel is less ethical is the kind that destroys the land and more life on it, specifically through the use of industrial agriculture - monocropping, chemical sprays, etc.  If somebody is into permaculture AND veganism, well that's great!  But I don't feel that somebody who's a vegan that buys all of their food in prepared, packaged, preserved form at Wal-Mart is really correct when they claim that they are more ethical than *anybody* who consumes any animal product.  Oftentimes, it seems that "supermarket vegans" will act quite spitefully towards and look down upon omnivorous organic/permaculture farmers.  The link I was responding to called permaculture specifically "terribly inhumane".

so imagine there are three permaculture buttons in front of you.  if your press one makes you a a omnivore, another a vegetarian and one a vegan.  in every case all the food is grown yourself with perfectly aligned with permaculture principles (this is a thought experiment so lets have you grow all your own food for simplicitys sake and lets also assume for a moment you can be vegan and be aligned perfectly with permaculture principles).

now which one of you is the most ethical and humane in regards to animal life?



I think they are all equal.
 
Steve Furlong
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This discussion has just reminded me of Tool's song Disgustipated:

"And the angel of the lord came unto me, snatching me up from my place of slumber. And took me on high, and higher still until we moved to the spaces betwixt the air itself. And he brought me into a vast farmlands of our own midwest. And as we descended, cries of impending doom rose from the soil. One thousand, nay a million voices full of fear. And terror possesed me then. And I begged, "Angel of the Lord, what are these tortured screams?" And the angel said unto me, "These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat like the tears of one million terrified brothers and roared, "Hear me now, I have seen the light! They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers!" Can I get an amen? Can I get a hallelujah? Thank you Jesus.
"
 
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There is probably more bs on the internet about what is the right diet for everyone than there is anything else. We can all do something that might make us feel great for a day or two but that is no indication of how well we will do longer term.
Forget 80/10/10 or 50/30/20 or any other ratio. The fact of the matter is there isn't an ideal ratio of carbs,  fat and protein and anyone that says that there is really doesn't know what they are talking about. Some people will find they do much better by eating a lot of fatty meat, some do better eating lots of lean meat, others do well on a vegetarian diet etc. This can  partly depend on things like your allergies, race and the climate you are living in. Just as an example a fruitarian diet doesn't work well in a cold  climate. You will be too cold because of all the potassium in the fruit. Eating the local animals and fish in such a cold climate are the very things that will help you cope with that climate better.  Fruit can be good in warmer climates and the warmer the climate is, the more beneficial the fruit that grows there, is.
I can not live on a vegetarian diet and remain healthy for more than a few days. It really doesn't suit me and I don't care how many studies anyone shows me to prove otherwise. What works for one person will not work for everyone. Don't be told by other people what  the right diet is for you. Experiment with these diets by all means so that you find the one that suits you. There's too many people around that think they know it all when it comes to diet and then you see a pic of them and most of them are out of shape and don't look healthy at all.
Seriously, forget the propaganda. Don't stick to a particular diet just because you desperately want to be paleo, vegan, SAD or whatever. Your health is more important than a label. Find what works for you.

btw I eat paleo style. I experimented  with many diets until I found what works for me. I am  fit, have the same waist measurement I had when I was 15 and I am 50 in January yet people think I am younger.  I will not be told by anyone that what I eat is wrong because as far as I can tell I am doing better than any of my critics that I met.
 
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In most cases, animals also use more nutrients than they yield.



Everything uses more nutrients than they yield, that is basic physics.  No plant yields more than it consumes.

I raise animals, and I have excellent soil, wonderful plant life and biodiversity. Animals are not the issue, human management is.  I have seen rivers and grasslands thrive BECAUSE of animal grazing, and founder without it.

My animals fit perfectly in a permaculture based polyculture model.  They help recycle nutrients and yield an extremely dense form of nutrition (compared to plants). I can get away with less work, less inputs, and a healthier ecosystem BECAUSE I have animals. 

Plus, I love the taste of pastured meat.
 
Abe Connally
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another quick point:
Native plants are ALWAYS the most sustainable and efficient crop for the land. For many areas, native plants include grasses, and the best use for grasses in terms of food production is the production of meat.
 
paul wheaton
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velacreations wrote:
another quick point:
Native plants are ALWAYS the most sustainable and efficient crop for the land. For many areas, native plants include grasses, and the best use for grasses in terms of food production is the production of meat.



This kinda goes into a whole new direction I suppose.  But I would say that native plants are usually not the most sustainable and efficient crop for the land. 

And then there is the thing that toby hemenway brought up:  "native to when?" reflecting on how each new decade/century would have a new invasive, long before white people showed up with their seeds.

But!  I think the native discussion is best for a whole new thread.


 
Abe Connally
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Paul, I kinda see what you are saying on the natives (as far as timelines are concerned).  But, you are way off on natives not usually being the more sustainable option.  If you want to start a new thread, I'd be happy to jump over and discuss this with you.

Grains are rarely native, even in relative terms to most areas they are grown.  They are absolutely less efficient than what was growing there before it got plowed up.  The fact that you have to plow up the native plants to plant the "efficient" crops is a great sign that the crop is weaker, generally not suited to that environment, and is not sustainable.  If it can't grow without humans paving the way, it is probably not the best suited plant for the situation.

Native grasses/legumes and/or forests/shrubs are always better adapted than corn (as an example).  Corn can't even reproduce itself without humans.  It has decent calorie output compared to other grains, but it's nutrient input is quite high, as well. Many native tree crops produce more calories per acre than corn, yet require no irrigation, no fertilizers, no human intervention.  I'd say that is pretty efficient and sustainable.

It definitely depends on the environment and climate we are talking about, but in the majority of areas, whatever was growing before crops were better suited to the environment.

But this brings up a very good point concerning a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  The vast majority of vegetarian/vegan foods are not native or natural species in the areas in which they are grown.  Sure, folks could live on local, wild vegan diets, but are they eating that?  Rarely.  Yet, eating deer or wild pig (introduced, I know) is a common thing in many areas of the US.

The point being that the native/natural diet for an area almost always includes meat, because animals make better use of the majority of vegetation, especially localized vegetation, than humans.  Those localized plants are usually hardy perennials that don't require a plow or herbicides or irrigation or fertilizers or humans holding their little hands so they can survive.  They are adapted to the local conditions, and are more efficient at using those local conditions to their advantages.

 
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
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.



  Well, agriculture pretty much means tilling, which means soil loss. The most responsible agricultural systems I have seen had at least 1/3 of their land fallow to produce compost crops to replace lost soil. That seems like a lot of unnecessary effort when you could just have a permaculture system on the whole property and still be building lots of soil. 
 
paul wheaton
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I think I could plant an acre, spend a few years getting it established and then walk away.  Planting it purely with non-natives.  And that acre would provide more food than the acre next door that you planted with only natives.

And, I want to point out, that I really enjoy starting a statement with "I think" because that makes the whole statement utterly true.  Nobody can tell me that I don't think that!    The most that somebody can do is to stand up and point out that they think something else. 

 
travis laduke
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Theres a thread somewhere about this Island; It was barren, people dropped off a bunch of plants, 200 years later it's lush.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11137903
 
Kirk Hutchison
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travis laduke wrote:
Theres a thread somewhere about this Island; It was barren, people dropped off a bunch of plants, 200 years later it's lush.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11137903



Oh yeah! I read about that. That place is cool.
 
Abe Connally
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Planting it purely with non-natives.  And that acre would provide more food than the acre next door that you planted with only natives



Yeah, I could buy that.  I planted a non-native plum tree, and it gives me more plums than the native grass.  It doesn't mean it is more efficient at producing biomass, however.  And it doesn't seem to improve the soil or resist diseases and pests quite like the grass....

But, I don't eat grass, so in my view, it is "better".  I do eat animals that eat the grass, and they leave the plum alone, so I am getting the best of 2 worlds, and quite possibly more efficient than if I planted all plums.
 
travis laduke
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Are they native animals?
 
Abe Connally
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could be, but not necessarily.  rabbits, quail, ducks, and a deer every year.

but I also have chickens, pigs, bees, all introduced species.

I don't think this is a native vs introduced argument (definitely not from my side), but rather wild vs cultivated in terms of efficiency.

I could plow up my grass, grow corn, and eat the corn, or I can let the grass grow, let the animals graze and harvest as they please, and then I harvest them at will. I also eat plums whenever I want, not much needed with them (though more than the animals and grass). The corn is not as nutritious as rabbit meat and plums, so I think I come out ahead on that.

I am sure I could cultivate and plant grasses that would yield more, but that would require inputs....

It's very easy, very efficient, sustainable, and requires very little input the way I do it now.  I don't see how many cultivated species could replace it without needing more care or inputs.
 
tel jetson
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velacreations wrote:
another quick point:
Native plants are ALWAYS the most sustainable and efficient crop for the land. For many areas, native plants include grasses, and the best use for grasses in terms of food production is the production of meat.



just want to point out that it isn't surprising that some folks are misunderstanding the position you're presenting.  you've clarified it since the post I quote here, but that is what you started with.

as far as the evils of typical plow agriculture, I think you're largely preaching to the choir here.  which is to say that you're exactly right.  I do believe that there are responsible ways to grow maize and that folks have practiced some of those responsible methods historically and continue to do so today.  we're likely all agreed that the method most common today - vast industrial blocks - is an all but indefensible practice.

growing a few maize plants together with beans, squash, sunflowers, clovers, salvias, and et cetera on top of some fish guts doesn't strike me as necessarily less efficient than feeding the grass that could grow on the same square meter of dirt to a ruminant.  doesn't have to involve any plows or cultivation if we're clever enough about it.

it sounds like your methods are working very well, and folks would do well to learn from your example.  I hope you share more about them.  there are other good methods, too.
 
pollinator
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Casey Allen Shobe ("Raptelan") wrote:
Do you have some URL's for further reading about these mycotoxins?  I haven't heard of them before.



Aflatoxins are probably the most important. They're produced by some species of aspergillus.
 
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Brenda Groth wrote:
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



Brenda, this is an excellent post.  Balance is the key.  The northeast was getting overrun by raccoons about 20 years ago.  Many were living in urban areas.  Rabies came up from the south and decimated the population about 15 years ago.  They are just starting to return these past 2 years.  How many other species and pets got infected with rabies I don't know, but rabies had been wiped out of New York state until this happened.

Deer are considered suburban rats by those in the county below me where hunting is restricted to bow only and on limited areas of land.  New York City owns he reservoir systems upstate and has opened some of its land to hunting for the first time about 6 years or so ago.  They recognized the problem.

Now, New Jersey has Black Bear eating out of people's garbage cans, and walking the streets.  New York was getting a high population of coyote who were grabbing small dogs out of yards, and the like.  What if it were someone's child?  A few years back that happened here with someone losing a dog.  The neighbors got together and had a midnight coyote shoot.  Sounded iike an all out war for half an hour, but very little problems i our area since.

I don't condone wiping out a species for sport or nuisance reasons, but there is a valid reason to hunt, eat meat for nourishment, use the hides for clothing, and too help keep a balance.  People forget we are part of the balancing process too, and we need to properly manage wildlife, while receiving the benefits as well.

Hunting in these parts is dropping off yearly, and is doing so at an accelerating pace.  The northeast stigma towards hunters has always made me careful who I tell I am a hunter to.  I don't need to hear a tirade directed toward me and have to explain how we are omnivores and how it helps keep animal population under control.

There is reason to being a good and proper steward.  I wish more could see it that way.
 
                                    
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People forget we are part of the balancing process too, and we need to properly manage wildlife, while receiving the benefits as well.



sure we can be part of the balancing process, but we are nearly the whole part of the imbalancing process!
 
                                    
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i hear people say deer must be culled to control their population otherwise they'd be everywhere, get run over constantly etc etc. but that ignores all that is being done to increase populations intentionally by private hunting orgs and the DNR (or whatever other states call it) and by all the unintended consequences of development and agriculture.  i once saw a 80 foot high pile of corn ready for the ethanol plant ravaged by geese for days - no one seemed to care. 
 
Abe Connally
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ignores all that is being done to increase populations intentionally


The number one thing folks have done in favor of deer overpopulation was the mass killing of their natural predators.  Something needs to fill that role, and if we can't have puma and wolves running around, we need to cull the populations.
 
Abe Connally
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just want to point out that it isn't surprising that some folks are misunderstanding the position you're presenting.  you've clarified it since the post I quote here, but that is what you started with.



Yeah, you are right.  I used the word "native", and that started off on the wrong track.  I should have used non-cultivated or unmaintained.

I have yet to see anyone grow any amount of corn without disturbing the soil.  I am sure it can be done, I just haven't seen it.

I prefer to use tree crops wherever possible, and there are so many replacements for corn, it seems a little crazy to justify the soil destruction. Mesquite is a great example of a corn replace in the form of a tree.  It is drought resistant, nitrogen fixer, open canopy, and its wood has lots of uses. 
 
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Al Loria, excellent post.  I was still living in New Hampshire during that rabies epidemic -- we had to vaccinate our goats and sheep.  There were two cows that had to be put down because they got rabies, it was assumed from bat bites, but I suppose they might have been bitten by rabid raccoons, too. 

The deer are a serious problem here (mule deer).  I'm practically having to fortify my stack of alfalfa hay to keep them out.  Can't afford to buy hay for a herd of twenty or so deer, who will each eat more than one of my goats.  There are people out here who feed them, or so I've been told, which I think is absolutely stupid.  The deer are safe, though, because the houses are too close together to hunt here.  Well, they are safe except out on the road.  So many get hit and killed that I'm amazed that the population stays pretty stable.  What a horrid waste of meat....

Kathleen
 
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It might be safe to hunt them with bow and arrow. 
 
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