Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What to feel guilty about next?


Sardegna - le pecore, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Animals.

Far greater than the growth in human population, it seems that the world is experiencing an explosive growth in the number of animals. Farm animals, to be sure, not the wild animals which are becoming extinct at an ever increasing rate.

As humans get richer they like to eat more and more meat. We have the technology to create factories of meat producing animals to be served up as chicken breasts and beef steak and pork chops, sausages and salami in our butchers and supermarkets, as well as milk, cream and cheese in the delicatessens. Not to forget that we have almost fished out the world’s seas and oceans, such that fish is mostly off the menu as well nowadays.

These animals give out shockingly large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane gas, both of which are dangerous greenhouse gases, as well as all their liquid and solid waste. The Dutch Government has been trying for years to limit the amount of waste that pigs produce in Holland, by handing out quotas, whilst the issue of greenhouse gas emissions has hardly been addressed at all.

It also has to be said that animals are a poor source of protein and energy compared to fruit, vegetable, seeds and beans and the like. So they are wasteful too.

Where is it all going?

Well, I see one good solution in the area of bio-fuels, whereby maize and sugar beet and the like are grown to produce bio-fuels to replace petrol. The conversion of farmland to bio-fuel plantations is having the advantageous effect of increasing agricultural prices around the world, for both vegetative and animal products, such that for the first time in a long time, the world’s farmers can make a sensible profit. This also means the poor farmers in Africa, Asia and South America, whereby their countries might at last start performing better economically, with a resultant drop in the birth-rate.

The greatest rise in prices should be with animal products, given that they are so wasteful, such that people will switch more to vegetable products for food, as these will become relatively cheap and, in this way, we will be able to curtail the growth in the animal population. Better economic security for agricultural communities will lead to a fall in the birth-rates which then solves the other part of the problem.

All this was going on through my mind when I was deciding whether or not to take a cheese sandwich or a salami roll, until I realized that the cheese was also an animal product! There was not a tomato or a lettuce leaf to be seen.

And what did I have for dinner? Mashed potato, frozen peas, tomato ketchup and - ooops! - fish fingers.... Fred was out at a school dinner this evening.

Tomorrow: The British Government tells us we are drinking at dangerous levels for our health - thank you, Gordon, for that.... a good thing I just drank lemonade this evening!

11 Comments:

Blogger Yurii said...

I agree that we don't need that much meat in our meals. And think about those animals that have to sacrifice their lives just for our taste. It is just too selfish, we should just go back to be monkeys. At least that way we can just eat bananas and sometimes little insects.

18 October, 2007 16:03  
Blogger Philip Booth said...

If we are not careful it will be the rich driving their 4x4s and flying while the poor starve - already the subsidised growth of biofuels is leading to excessive wheat prices and shortages in the poorest countries - indeed biofuels are bad news in many ways - pulling down rainforests for palm oil, GM crops etc - recycled oils yes and probably a place for some locally grown biofuels but if we continue the current approach we are heading for disaster - we need to address and significantly reduce our reliance on cars not support it to continue in a way that is currently in many cases causing serious damages - indeed in some cases the biofuel extracted uses more oil/energy to extract than it provides....

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