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Thread: Cowspiracy

  1. #1

    Default Cowspiracy

    I read about this in the global warming thread, and decided to watch it on Netflix.

    The basic premise: most of the natural destruction on earth, is caused by livestock farming.

    Even if we stopped using all gasoline and oil tomorrow, the greenhouse gas targets would not be met because of the growth in livestock farming that is occurring,

    It's the number one environmental issue. When you eat a hamburger, you are consuming 660 gallons of water. Makes all those low flow toilets seem pretty useless.

    But the environmental organizations, ignore this issue.

    Fun stuff. So, will we give up meat and cheese and milk, or will live in a dirtier and dirtier world? It's one or the other.

  2. #2
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    I read some years ago that when man became more agricultural that Asia burned like no tomorrow and the amount of CO that went into the atmosphere was astronomical. It's a theory that we started the global warming trend many hundreds, if not even thousands of years ago.

  3. #3

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    ^per this article, the movie is turning lots of people, and whole families, into vegans:

    http://newint.org/blog/2015/09/24/co...mentary-vegan/

    You can't call yourself an environmentalist if you drink milk.

    One of the interesting things in the movie, is that the meat and dairy industry agrees to be interviewed, but greenpeace don't. Greenpeace might be getting be funded by the cattle industry.
    Last edited by moahunter; 16-10-2015 at 03:46 PM.

  4. #4
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    I don't entirely buy in to the premise as far as greenhouse gasses go, although the total ecological impact of livestock farming is definitely a problem.

    The problem with livestock is a multiplier effect. Growing grain crops uses fossil fuels for fertilizer production and for harvest and transport, and when you feed those grains to animals instead of directly to humans a large fraction of the nutritional value is lost, multiplying the impact of what remains. If the grain crops were grown and transported with carbon-neutral energy sources, livestock production would be carbon-neutral as well, as all of the carbon in the grains themselves was originally removed from the atmosphere.

    However, carbon-neutral energy sources would not reduce the impact of the large amount of land devoted to agriculture on natural biodiversity, or the impact of nutrient runoff on aquatic ecosystems. Both of the latter issues are subject to the multiplier effect as well. A partial solution might be to shift from traditional mammals and birds to cold-blooded animals that achieve a better rate of conversion of feed into meat.
    Last edited by Titanium48; 16-10-2015 at 03:53 PM.

  5. #5

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    ^you can check out the various facts they cover in the movie here:

    http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

  6. #6

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    Ok you guys that's it for me....

    The guilt of simply being alive is overwhelming me. I mean, it's bad enough that I'm a monolingual cishetronormative white male without any addictions. I have been trying really hard to recycle and not use any gender pronouns.

    It's just not enough...

    I want to be the first to volunteer to turn off my furnace. Unplug my fridge and starve in the dark. I'll only consume what I can sustainably forage from my back yard. I vow not to exhale too much.

    Who's with me??
    Last edited by burbs; 16-10-2015 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Spell

  7. #7
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    Do you really think you should have a back yard?

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    What about the millions of Buffalo that roamed naturally before we came along? There are likely less cattle than there were Plains Bison so why the guilt trip.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^you can check out the various facts they cover in the movie here:

    http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/
    facts??? i don't think so. they can't even keep track of their own claims.

    "livestock consumes 1/3 of the earth's ice free land"

    and

    "livestock consumes 45% of the earth's total land"

    simple arithmetic- never mind complex math - readily shows this to be impossible.

    and then there's the "1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk" claim. as if we should believe that for every gallon of milk we consume we have lost 999 gallons of water. nonsense - those 999 gallons of water still exist. they haven't disappeared any more than the milk disappears after we drink it. even our consuming that milk is just part of a process that will see it regenerated as - wait for it - water.

    it may not be the most efficient use of water (or more accurately we may not yet be terribly efficient in our sourcing and production) but these claims are hyperbole at best.
    Last edited by kcantor; 17-10-2015 at 09:02 AM.
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    ^ I thought the facts were a bit wonky as well after looking back at them.

    That being said, the movie does not lie in that animal agriculture is the single largest detriment to our environment. I wouldn't take it as far as them in suggesting we should all become vegans, or that even sustainable meat is bad (their argument for this is actually fallacious), but I think it would be a good idea for us to reduce intake.

    Cut meat and dairy down to a couple days a week. Better for the environment, better for your body, better for your wallet. Win-win-win.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ I thought the facts were a bit wonky as well after looking back at them.

    That being said, the movie does not lie in that animal agriculture is the single largest detriment to our environment. I wouldn't take it as far as them in suggesting we should all become vegans, or that even sustainable meat is bad (their argument for this is actually fallacious), but I think it would be a good idea for us to reduce intake.

    Cut meat and dairy down to a couple days a week. Better for the environment, better for your body, better for your wallet. Win-win-win.
    Maybe we need to add a TOLL to every cow. everyone who eats a burger and anytime a kid drinks a glass of milk as a pigouvian tax.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^you can check out the various facts they cover in the movie here:

    http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/
    facts??? i don't think so. they can't even keep track of their own claims.

    "livestock consumes 1/3 of the earth's ice free land"
    and
    "livestock consumes 45% of the earth's total land"
    simple arithmetic- never mind complex math - readily shows this to be impossible.

    and then there's the "1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk" claim. as if we should believe that for every gallon of milk we consume we have lost 999 gallons of water. nonsense - those 999 gallons of water still exist. they haven't disappeared any more than the milk disappears after we drink it. even our consuming that milk is just part of a process that will see it regenerated as - wait for it - water.

    it may not be the most efficient use of water (or more accurately we may not yet be terribly efficient in our sourcing and production) but these claims are hyperbole at best.
    I agree, I don't know where these guys get their facts.

    According to another blogger, it takes 2000 gallons to make one gallon. http://www.naturalnews.com/023341_wa...k_organic.html

    I do not believe any of it. A human and a cow have roughly the same digestive system and the females produce a similar type of milk

    A human female normally can produce 500 to 900ml/day That would mean that she would have to consume many times her body weight in water per day. Yes I understand it also takes water to grow the food for her to eat but the efficiency is higher than what they claim. Even if she does not have a baby and they don't grow crops, the weeds growing on the unused field will still use water and the majority of the rain will evaporate and be constantly recycled.

    It is like saying that because the average precipitation in the Edmonton area is 482mm/year and the city is 684km2. That means that 329,688,000 cubic meters of water fall on Edmonton or 366m3 per person or 366,000 kg of water per person. A 1,000 litres/day Do you use that much?

    In cattle the feed efficiency (FE; lb milk/lb DMI) for cows is between 1.2 and 1.8 That would mean that it would take 500 times the water to feed ratio.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio
    http://extension.psu.edu/animals/dai...ver-feed-costs

    The highest producing cow makes 60 litres per day, at 1000:1 ratio, we are talking a large swimming pool. http://www.progressivedairycanada.co...duction-record

    How Much Water to Make a Pound of Beef
    DECEMBER 3, 2014 BY DR. TERRY SIMPSON
    http://www.yourdoctorsorders.com/201...pound-of-beef/
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    A human and a cow have roughly the same digestive system
    No, the digestive systems are nothing alike. They're about as far apart as you can get as far as mammals go.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaerdo View Post
    ^ I thought the facts were a bit wonky as well after looking back at them.

    That being said, the movie does not lie in that animal agriculture is the single largest detriment to our environment. I wouldn't take it as far as them in suggesting we should all become vegans, or that even sustainable meat is bad (their argument for this is actually fallacious), but I think it would be a good idea for us to reduce intake.

    Cut meat and dairy down to a couple days a week. Better for the environment, better for your body, better for your wallet. Win-win-win.
    That's my take as well. There are a number of interesting points raised in the movie, like:

    1. That there is more than enough food produced for every human on earth, because we produce way more food for animals than for humans.
    2. The environmental organizations are obssessed with pipelines and oil, but agriculture, especially animal husbandry, is a much bigger cause of polution. Think of all the effort we go to to clean human waste / sewage, and then think about how much is coming from livestock untreated into our rivers and oceans (causing deadzones in oceans). Or the cutting of rain forest for farmland.

    It is a bit of a wake up, and like you, I am trying to limit my meat and dairy intake now to a couple of times each week. Good for health, and good for planet. I'd recommend to anyone to watch the movie, even if you don't agree with it all, its very well done, and brings up a topic that for whatever reason (I suspect mostly because its "uncomfortable" re our lifestyles, and the power of the livestock and dairy industries), doesn't get the attention it deserves.
    Last edited by moahunter; 19-10-2015 at 07:34 AM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    and then there's the "1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk" claim. as if we should believe that for every gallon of milk we consume we have lost 999 gallons of water. nonsense - those 999 gallons of water still exist. they haven't disappeared any more than the milk disappears after we drink it. even our consuming that milk is just part of a process that will see it regenerated as - wait for it - water.
    Fresh water is spent on the land and turned into highly poluted water that ends up in the ocean. Its not just the water on the cattle / dairy farm, its also the water on the farms that feed that cattle / dairy:

    http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org...54/10/909.full

    Abstract
    The increasing demands placed on the global water supply threaten biodiversity and the supply of water for food production and other vital human needs. Water shortages already exist in many regions, with more than one billion people without adequate drinking water. In addition, 90% of the infectious diseases in developing countries are transmitted from polluted water. Agriculture consumes about 70% of fresh water worldwide; for example, approximately 1000 liters (L) of water are required to produce 1 kilogram (kg) of cereal grain, and 43,000 L to produce 1 kg of beef. New water supplies are likely to result from conservation, recycling, and improved water-use efficiency rather than from large development projects.
    Last edited by moahunter; 19-10-2015 at 11:34 AM.

  16. #16
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    Never let a good conspiracy theory get in the way of the facts.

    The fact is agriculture is responsible for about 8% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. This compares to about 80% from the combustion of energy (mostly fossil fuels). See Table 2 at this link: https://www.ec.gc.ca/ges-ghg/default...set=3&toc=show

    Table S-2.3 provides a breakdown for GHG emissions in the agriculture sector. Clearly, both animal and crop agriculture needs to do better in terms of reducing its GHG emissions and broader environmental footprint, but so does every other economic sector.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    The fact is agriculture is responsible for about 8% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
    But how much of Canadian beef and dairy uses feed from the US? I think you have to look at it on a global basis, obviously Canada is a bigger exporter of energy than anything else, so when the world targets energy ahead of agriculture, its more than a little unfair that we have to "sacrifice", but that supposedly everyone can consume food in the same way.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    1. That there is more than enough food produced for every human on earth, because we produce way more food for animals than for humans.
    Yes, but most feed to animals is not wasted. Meanwhile Canadians waste billions of dollars of food which a portion is then feed to guess what? A-N-I-M-A-L-S


    Read about it

    Food waste costs Canada $31B a year, report says
    More than $31 billion worth of food is wasted every year in Canada and when energy, water and other resource costs are factored in the true cost could be up to three times that much, a new report suggests.

    Consulting firm Value Chain Management International published a report this week that tabulates the total monetary cost of the millions of kilograms of food that goes to waste every year in Canadian homes, restaurants and grocery stores.

    That's a 15 per cent increase from the report's findings four years ago, when the group found the cost was $27 billion in 2010. It's also two per cent of Canada's total GDP, and larger than the total economic output of the poorest 29 countries on the planet.

    The report acknowledges that the total doesn't include what's being wasted at federal institutions like prisons, jails, hospitals and schools because there isn't reliable data on that. If those numbers are included, along with the true cost of things like energy, water, land, labour, capital investment, infrastructure, machinery and transport, the true cost of wasted food is actually closer to $100 billion a year.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/food...says-1.2869708

    Just remember that when you leave an apple at the store because it has a small blemish or a tomato is just not the right shape. Look in your kitchen and watch how many leftovers you throw out.


    As corn prices rise, farmers add candy to cows' feed (by the way, we use corn to fuel our cars rather than eat it, as people starve)

    Kansas dairy farmer Orville Miller says he's replacing about 5 percent of his cow feed with chocolate. "Cows love chocolate," Miller says. "When I feed the cows they go nosing through their total mixed ration trying to find pieces of chocolate and they'll eat those out first."

    Miller also feeds his cows taco shell rejects. Ki Fanning at Great Plains Livestock Consulting in Nebraska says others are substituting cereal, french fries, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, cookies and even gummy worms. "Cattle can utilize gummy worms just the same way we can," says Fanning. "They put on a lot of weight with those products because they're high in sugar."

    Where does all the cheap starchy sugar come from? Bran Dill works for a company that sells candy "salvage" to farmers and ranchers. He says companies want to get rid of product that has been broken or spoiled in some way. Dill says prices for broken chocolate have more than doubled from $60-$80 a ton to about $200 a ton because of the demand but it's still cheaper than corn, for now.
    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/su...andy-cows-feed

    Some brokers have gathered up discarded food products and sold them to the highest bidder. Some of the sugary sweet foods your cows are digesting on? Cookies and gummy worms for starters. And there are a whole lot of other foods you might be surprised to learn cows consume. Check out a list below:

    Distillers grains, a byproduct from ethanol manufacturing.
    Cottonseed hulls
    Soy hulls
    Corn stalks
    Rice products
    French fries
    Peanut pellet
    Wheat middlings (a byproduct of milling wheat for flour)
    Cookies
    Gummy worms
    Marshmallows
    Fruit Loops
    Orange peels
    Dried cranberries
    Cereal
    Chocolate
    Ice cream
    Ice cream sprinkles
    Turnips
    Sugar beet by-products
    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/su...cream-and-more
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 19-10-2015 at 05:45 PM.
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  19. #19

    Default The end of meat? Economics, the environment and changing tastes have top protein feeling the heat

    This could be bad news for Alberta ranchers longer term:

    But the Impossible Burger doesn’t contain any beef. It doesn’t contain any meat at all. It’s made entirely from vegetation such as wheat, coconuts and potatoes, but it also has a secret ingredient: Heme, the molecule that makes meat taste delicious, which Impossible Foods Inc. recreates by fermenting yeast.

    “The heme is natural and identical, down to the molecular level, to what is consumed from a cow,” said David Lee, chief financial and operations officer at Impossible Foods. “A cow uses plants and turns them into meat. We use plants and turn them into meat.”

    A veggie burger company may seem like an unlikely candidate for hot startup of the year, but Impossible Foods has raised US$182 million from investors including Bill Gates and Google Ventures. And it has plenty of competition. Startups Memphis Meats, Mosa Meat and SuperMeat are racing to sell meat grown from cells in a lab, and Berkeley, Calif.-based Perfect Day Inc. said it’s ready to put animal-free milk — chemically identical to the real thing, but minus the cholesterol and lactose — on grocery store shelves by the end of next year.

    Considering we already have a way to make meat and dairy, one that’s been working for the human race for thousands of years, it may seem like a lot of effort and money is being spent on coming up with alternatives, but demographic forces are putting the livestock industry and those who depend on it in a precarious position.

    Even if we used all the cropland in the world to feed livestock, the demand for meat by 2050 will not be met, according to a study by research firm FarmEcon LLC that considered population and economic growth projections. And while meat consumption worldwide is growing along with population and incomes in developing countries, it has already substantially slowed in the Western world. For example, Canadian consumption of beef and pork has dropped by a quarter since 1999.
    http://business.financialpost.com/ne...eling-the-heat

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