PDA

View Full Version : Humane animal farms, pesticide-free vegetables/fruit



gzhpcu
2014-Apr-20, 04:37 PM
I recently saw a transmission on a German TV channel RTL on how advertising for chicken meat sold as "bio" (meaning humane) is just marketing, and videos taken in secret show the pure chickens massed together in huge halls. They have been bred to produce breast meat and quickly gain weight. Their upper beaks are cut so that they do not do harm to each other, some are lying dead.

They said that the pressure is on to produce inexpensive meat, because the average German does not want to spend much money grocery shopping. On the other hand, labels with "bio" are in demand. Vague statements were made from associations on "investigating" and "improving" the situation.

This is just one case in many: I also saw poor horses maltreated and prepared to be butchered.

One of the reasons I am cutting down on meat (and would never eat horse meat. Horses and dogs are special since they have really been friends of mankind...).

I guess one can go on and on....

My question: humans as a species evolved as omniverous. So, some meat is needed in our diet. (Don't know what to think of "The China Study".) With our population explosion and the huge demand for meat (and vegetables/fruits), is it possible worldwide to have humane environments for animals? Do we have enough space for humane animal farms? Elimination of pesticides for vegetables/fruits? Elimination of genetic engineering? Elimination of inhumane breeding? And still meet the world demands for nutrition?

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

Noclevername
2014-Apr-20, 05:46 PM
My question: humans as a species evolved as omniverous. So, some meat is needed in our diet. (Don't know what to think of "The China Study".) With our population explosion and the huge demand for meat (and vegetables/fruits), is it possible worldwide to have humane environments for animals? Do we have enough space for humane animal farms? Elimination of pesticides for vegetables/fruits? Elimination of genetic engineering? Elimination of inhumane breeding? And still meet the world demands for nutrition?

First, there are living lifelong vegetarians, many in good health, so I would say the statement that we need meat is flawed. We need proteins found in meat. Whether those proteins come from animal or vegetable sources is irrelevant.

There are a number of companies that are working on creating nutritionally equivalent and flavored "meats" made from vegetable or synthesized proteins, in anticipation of the eventual end of cheap meat. Others are working on growing meat in lab environments, in hope of someday mass-producing it.

I am certain that, being largely fossil-fuel enabled, the end of cheap meat will come someday. But it need not lead to malnutrition or deprivation, or animal cruelty.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-20, 06:14 PM
Well, not so sure I'd eat meat grown in labs... In any case, if the trend goes in that direction, then cattle, poultry, etc. will become endangered species...

Noclevername
2014-Apr-20, 06:16 PM
Well, not so sure I'd eat meat grown in labs... In any case, if the trend goes in that direction, then cattle, poultry, etc. will become endangered species...

I doubt that, there are still plenty of nonwestern cultures where eating meat is a rarity yet have plenty of cows and chickens.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-20, 07:59 PM
I doubt that, there are still plenty of nonwestern cultures where eating meat is a rarity yet have plenty of cows and chickens.
Yes, but only because they are 3rd world countries, wait till "progress" arrives....

Noclevername
2014-Apr-20, 08:01 PM
Yes, but only because they are 3rd world countries, wait till "progress" arrives....

Japan is a 3rd world country?

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-20, 08:32 PM
Japan is hardly humane in regards to animals. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/02/19/issues/millions-of-dogs-cats-coddled-200000-gassed-each-year-in-pet-mad-japan/#.U1Qu0FdqxPc

Noclevername
2014-Apr-20, 08:41 PM
Japan is hardly humane in regards to animals. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/02/19/issues/millions-of-dogs-cats-coddled-200000-gassed-each-year-in-pet-mad-japan/#.U1Qu0FdqxPc

No, I never it was. I said that meat is less commonly eaten there, yet they have livestock. It is not, as you said, an "endangered species" (several species, where cattle are concerned)

I fail to see why humane farming or the end of cheap meat would result in meat species being entirely eliminated or endangered. Livestock will still be around, just not in such great numbers.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-20, 08:46 PM
I fail to see why humane farming or the end of cheap meat would result in meat species being entirely eliminated or endangered. Livestock will still be around, just not in such great numbers.
Never said that. You spoke of growing meat in labs. If this becomes widespread and cheap, then farm animals would slowly disappear.

Noclevername
2014-Apr-20, 09:15 PM
Never said that. You spoke of growing meat in labs. If this becomes widespread and cheap, then farm animals would slowly disappear.

I doubt it. There will always be people who prefer doing things the "natural" way. Especially the ones who tend to prefer "bio", "pure" or "organic" foods. They will no doubt ensure the species are available long after vat-grown meat ever becomes common or cheap, if it ever does. And then there's the survivalist types who prefer to keep the animals around in case the factories fail. Animals can keep families fed without infrastructure. Tissue cultures can't.

Cars did not make horses endangered in developed countries.

primummobile
2014-Apr-21, 12:00 AM
I raise chickens and ducks. They all are free to roam throughout the day and they return to their barn at night. I get about forty eggs a day. I have an underground fence for the dogs and they run free with the birds in the daytime. No predator would dare come near the birds while the dogs are running around. A coyote comes in every once in a while but they never get a bird. I even have crows all around who chase off any hawks who happen to come near.

I only raise the birds for the eggs, but I know other people who use similar methods for meat birds. The difference in price isn't enough to really make a difference to the average consumer, in my opinion. The difference is when you're a corporation counting a few cents per pound and selling hundreds of thousands of birds or eggs. If it weren't for the problem of feeding people in large cities it would be very easy to not allow this type of farming to take place. My eggs taste better than the eggs from the supermarket and I don't charge much more for them.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 06:16 AM
Unfortunately primummobile, factory farms represent 99% of all farm animals raised and slaughtered in the US (Farm Forward calculation based on U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2002 Census of Agriculture, June 2004;).

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 06:19 AM
Most farms today have become not just factories, but fortresses lacking even basic transparency. It is easier to see the inside of a prison than the inside of a hog CAFO1 (http://www.farmforward.com/farming-forward/featured-operations#footnote1_kh1msqu) or industrial slaughterhouse. This is part of a larger strategy deployed by agribusiness to prevent the public from knowing how the most important consumer products in our lives are actually produced.


With some notable exceptions, virtually all the meat, eggs, and dairy in today’s supermarkets comes from operations that flatly refuse any public access to the farms that raise and kill the animals many of us eat. This is unprecedented. At no other time in our history has the production of the food we place in our mouths and the mouths of our families been hidden behind barbed wire fences and secrecy.
http://www.farmforward.com/farming-forward/featured-operations

Very sad but true....

Noclevername
2014-Apr-21, 06:24 AM
Unfortunately primummobile, factory farms represent 99% of all farm animals raised and slaughtered in the US (Farm Forward calculation based on U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2002 Census of Agriculture, June 2004;).

But primummobile's example shows at factory farms are not necessary to produce a surplus. Your OP asked "...is it possible worldwide to have humane environments for animals? Do we have enough space for humane animal farms?" It seems the answer is yes.

I'm more concerned with the question, "Do we have enough space and resources for so many people?"

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 06:32 AM
I'm more concerned with the question, "Do we have enough space and resources for so many people?"

That is basically what I am asking (guess it was not clear). Firstly do we have enough space and farmland with the exploding population to create humane farms with room for animals to lead a decent life? Is the farmland gained at the expense of trees and forests (our lungs)?

So, it is a population explosion linked question, and also how to counteract greed in maximizing profit with no concern for animals in the meat industry.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 06:34 AM
The best answer would be: humane animal farms and less per capita meat consumption. But can we expect that realistically?

Noclevername
2014-Apr-21, 06:43 AM
The best answer would be: humane animal farms and less per capita meat consumption. But can we expect that realistically?

We kind of have to. The farming system we currently use is largely made possible by oil-based fertilizers which allows us to feed an excess of grains (primarily corn/maize) to animals, and by the conversion of rainforest in Brazil to beef stock lands... which are largely nutrient-poor soil, requiring constant expansion and replacement of those lands. Neither factor is sustainable for much longer.

In addition, as you pointed out, the public is becoming more concerned with such matters and is investigating means of reducing animal exploitation and cruelty.

The downfall of cheap meat has already begun, just look at the rising prices in the market.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 08:18 AM
The downfall of cheap meat has already begun, just look at the rising prices in the market.
Unfortunately not in countries like Germany. Prices rising in the market is often due to the fact that the label "bio" is applied to justify higher prices, whereas often the treatment of animals has not improved that much, as evidenced in Germany...

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 08:21 AM
The global population of cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep increased 23 percent between 1980 and 2010, from 3.5 billion to 4.3 billion, according to research by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online (http://vitalsigns.worldwatch.org/) publication. These figures continue a trend of rising farm animal populations, with harmful effects on the environment, public health, and global development.

http://www.worldwatch.org/rising-number-farm-animals-poses-environmental-and-public-health-risks-0

primummobile
2014-Apr-21, 12:24 PM
Increased productivity has reduced the need for arable land and pasture land. Business interests take over more and more real estate, the traditional methods of food production are unable to compete.

Most chickens that have their beaks trimmed are egg layer chickens, not meat chickens. Most meat birds reach slaughter age before beak trimming would be of any benefit.

I'm trying to remember where I saw it... But there was a poll recently that only 20% of respondents said that they would eat "meat" grown in a production facility. That's the problem right there. Unless people learn to accept alternate forms of protein we won't ever break this cycle, I'm afraid.

NEOWatcher
2014-Apr-21, 03:25 PM
I recently saw a transmission on a German TV channel RTL on how advertising for chicken meat sold as "bio" (meaning humane) is just marketing
Is that what it really means? It sounds like a buzzword to me. The only reference I can find (http://www.oia.com.ar/en/novedades/detalle/49/scandal-in-germany-for-fraud-in-the-labeling-of-organic-products) to "bio" and chickens is for egg production.
And that seems to do more with "organic" than humane. 6 chickens per square meter doesn't sound like much to me.

It sounds like it might allow "organic" cruelty to the animal.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-21, 03:56 PM
Most chickens that have their beaks trimmed are egg layer chickens, not meat chickens. Most meat birds reach slaughter age before beak trimming would be of any benefit.


Unfortunately on the RTL documentary, it was done to a special breed of poultry which grows quickly and consists mostly of breast meet. The cameraman had to sneak in to do the documentary...

primummobile
2014-Apr-21, 04:16 PM
Unfortunately on the RTL documentary, it was done to a special breed of poultry which grows quickly and consists mostly of breast meet. The cameraman had to sneak in to do the documentary...

I don't doubt that at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeaking


Most commonly, the beak is shortened permanently, although regrowth can occur. The trimmed lower beak is somewhat longer than the upper beak. USA's UEP guidelines suggest that in egg laying strains of chickens, the length of the upper beak distal from the nostrils which remains following trimming, should be 2 to 3 mm.[1] In the UK, the Farm Animal Welfare Council stated: "The accepted procedure is to remove not more than one third of the upper and lower beaks or not more than one third of the upper beak only" but went on to recommend: "Where beak trimming is carried out, it should, wherever possible, be restricted to beak tipping; that is the blunting of the beak to remove the sharp point which can be the cause of the most severe damage to other birds."[2] The term "debeaking" implies that the entire beak is removed during the trimming process, though in reality only half or less of the beak is removed.[3]

I grew up on a farm, and we had upwards of a thousand chickens at times. We never had any major problem with chickens attacking or injuring one another, and the dogs kept all of them in an area of about four acres. That's not very much land. The simple fact is that chickens are pretty social animals. Although they do establish pecking orders, there is rarely any need for human intervention to prevent these unwanted behaviors as long as you aren't piling all the birds on top of one another in small cages. Since most game birds reach slaughter age within six-eight weeks I can't imagine how it could be more cost effective to manually handle each bird to debeak it rather than buying a little space for the birds. While my chickens are free range, I do know people who keep their chickens fenced in areas not much larger than a small yard. Those chickens don't exhibit much undesirable behavior either. Chickens want room to walk around and scratch and they want to feel safe. They don't require much more than that. They're one of the easiest and least expensive livestock to care for. I think it's a real shame what these corporations do to the birds.

I don't know what kind of options you have in Germany, but in the U.S. "buying local" is trendy for things like eggs, meat, and dairy. Hopefully it becomes more than a trend.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-22, 05:47 AM
Actually, I am in Southern Switzerland. We don't have any animal farms down here, and my wife buys fresh eggs and poultry from a family grocery store, which in turn gets them from a small farmer. These small stores are a dying breed, however, being pushed out of business by supermarket chains...

But at least if we buy Swiss meat, we know that the animals were treated humanely.

http://www.agriculture.ch/en/facts/animals/


In Switzerland industrial animal production is not possible for different reasons: the animal and water protection laws, maximum limits for animal stock and the fact that the construction of livestock buildings is subject to approval by the authorities. In view of a species appropriate animal husbandry, new methods of husbandry are constantly being tested and introduced. For this reason, one might see cows trudging in the snow, or pigs living in free-range enclosures, which igloos serving as shelters.

Noclevername
2014-Apr-22, 07:24 AM
Actually, I am in Southern Switzerland. We don't have any animal farms down here, and my wife buys fresh eggs and poultry from a family grocery store, which in turn gets them from a small farmer. These small stores are a dying breed, however, being pushed out of business by supermarket chains...

But at least if we buy Swiss meat, we know that the animals were treated humanely.

http://www.agriculture.ch/en/facts/animals/

Well, you just answered it yourself, a first-world country can and does have humane animal farming, so obviously it is possible.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-22, 11:30 AM
Yes, but we are a small country. Would be great if it could be done in the US and the rest of Western Europe as well.

NEOWatcher
2014-Apr-22, 02:06 PM
These small stores are a dying breed, however, being pushed out of business by supermarket chains...
Yes; that is unfortunate. At least around here, we have some of the local chains that dedicate local products when available. (Most notably corn when it's in season)

I remember when we had an "eggman". A local farmer that would deliver eggs door to door and have hist truck full of whatever he had in season.
(We had the milkman to, but I'm not sure if the milk was local)



But at least if we buy Swiss meat...
You mean there's more than just Swiss Steak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_steak)? ;)

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-24, 10:39 AM
Judging from the lack of participation in this thread, it is apparently not something the majority are concerned about...:(

Noclevername
2014-Apr-24, 11:04 AM
I remember when we had an "eggman".

Goo goo ga joob!

NEOWatcher
2014-Apr-24, 12:11 PM
Goo goo ga joob!
He didn't look like a walrus. ;)

primummobile
2014-Apr-24, 08:03 PM
Judging from the lack of participation in this thread, it is apparently not something the majority are concerned about...:(

I do think people are concerned about it. It's just that they're more concerned about eating and they think this type of behavior is necessary.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-25, 05:05 PM
Right, just business as usual. Well, not for me. I am only eating Swiss meat or poultry from now on... Luckily, on the menu card in restaurants here they have to tell you which country the meat is from.

primummobile
2014-Apr-25, 05:15 PM
Right, just business as usual. Well, not for me. I am only eating Swiss meat or poultry from now on... Luckily, on the menu card in restaurants here they have to tell you which country the meat is from.

I think you're being too harsh. Some people, in fact many people, can't survive without cheap food. I don't like the methods employed and so I avoid those foods. But I can afford to do that. Other people may not be able to afford their meat at a local butcher. They are more expensive. If you're a parent and you're faced with the option of a hungry child or a chicken with a shorter beak the choice may not be as easy as you believe.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-27, 09:05 AM
I think you're being too harsh. Some people, in fact many people, can't survive without cheap food. I don't like the methods employed and so I avoid those foods. But I can afford to do that. Other people may not be able to afford their meat at a local butcher. They are more expensive. If you're a parent and you're faced with the option of a hungry child or a chicken with a shorter beak the choice may not be as easy as you believe.
If this is silently accepted, there will never be change. There is other (and healthier) food for children than cheap chickens. One option is to just eat less meat.

primummobile
2014-Apr-27, 10:57 AM
If this is silently accepted, there will never be change. There is other (and healthier) food for children than cheap chickens. One option is to just eat less meat.

That wasn't my point. My point was that governments worldwide condone this practice. Peoe , for the most part, trust these laws. It's not "business as usual" when people don't get up in arms about it. It's people just believing there isn't an issue. I think you can educate someone but people listen better when you try to establish a common ground first.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-27, 12:24 PM
Well, in my humble way, I am informing all of my friends... but, actually, most of the Swiss I know are very conscious of the facts and react as I do...

Noclevername
2014-Apr-27, 02:52 PM
Well, in my humble way, I am informing all of my friends... but, actually, most of the Swiss I know are very conscious of the facts and react as I do...

That's because they are informed of the facts. You can't get upset about something you aren't aware of. Most people in the US are not aware of how widespread these practices are, because it isn't brought up as an issue unless there's a scandal, usually focussing on one specific company or farm. Once the reporters stop talking about it, people here tend to assume the problem has been corrected.

Also, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Switzerland), there are very few poor Swiss compared to the US, so most Swiss can afford to be more selective.


Switzerland has achieved one of the highest per capita incomes in the world with low unemployment rates and a balanced budget.

swampyankee
2014-Apr-30, 09:28 AM
Yes, but we are a small country. Would be great if it could be done in the US and the rest of Western Europe as well.


At least in this part of the US, small farms producing meat are increasingly common. I also live in one of the few US states were the number of farms is increasing.

gzhpcu
2014-Apr-30, 10:31 AM
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the
way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the
more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."
--Mohandas Ghandi
Let's hope that people become aware of the problem...