Posts tagged ‘deforestation’

4 September, 2010

Meat Kills

Meat Kills: Consolidated

Warning: Slight Graphic Imagery.

A spoken-word track by Consolidated, called MEAT KILLS from their Friendly Fa$cism (1991) album, is nearly 20 years old, but still as important today.

Consolidated: Adam Sherburne, Mark Pistel, Philip Steir

This is what is being said. Reprinted here, is in no way meant to impinge on their copyright, or suggest that they endorse this blog, its authors, or its themes. They are here, only to make clear the words being spoken on the video clip over the sounds of the slaughter house.

Meat Kills

The driving force behind the destruction of the tropical rain forests is the American meat habit. The rain forests are cleared then planted with grass for grazing livestock to create hamburger for fast food restaurants.

More than half of all the water used in the United States is used for raising animals for food. 25 gallons of water is needed to produce a pound of wheat. 2500 gallons of water is needed to produce a pound of meat.

Dependence on foreign oil is one of the principle reasons for US intervention in the Persian Gulf. The length of time the world’s oil reserves would last if all human beings ate a meat-based diet would be approximately 13 years. The length of time the world’s oil reserves would last if all human beings ate a plant based diet would be approximately 260 years.

Feedlots and slaughterhouses are both major polluters of rivers and streams. Filling them with poisonous residues and animal wastes. 250,000 pounds of animal excrement is produced every second in the US and there are no sewage systems to treat the wastes.

In 1989, over 40% of the world’s grain harvest was fed to animals going to slaughter. If the same grain was fed directly to human beings, there would be more than enough grain to feed the entire world. Over 20 million people will die as a result of malnutrition this year.

In third third world private and government money has gone to developing cash crops for export while food production for the poor majority is neglected. 80% of the corn grown in the US is fed to animals raised for food rather than going to hungry people.

On a purely vegetarian diet the world can support a population many times its present size. On a meat based diet the current world population could not be sustained.

Cattle ranching has always competed with wildlife. Coyotes and wolves would not be shot and poisoned by ranchers if people did not eat steaks and lamb chops. Destroying the rain forests to raise cattle is causing millions of birds, monkeys, snakes and other species to lose their homes and lives.

In the US this year alone thirty seven and a half million cattle, eighty five and a half million
pigs, five and a half million sheep, two hundred forty two million turkeys, four billion one hundred forty seven million chickens will be murdered for the taste of their flesh.

Pain, frustration, stress, fear, abuse, neglect, and deprivation are realities of the raising of animals in today’s factory farms. Animals are artificially inseminated, fed growth hormones, overcrowded, chained and caged.

Raising livestock for profit is a competitive business and being humane means costs will go up. These animals are kicked, prodded, electro-shocked, dragged, and finally transported to their deaths.

A vegetarian diet promotes superior health, endurance, and longevity.

Animal products have 3 nutritional disadvantages. They contain too much protein, too much fat, and no fibre.

Do not believe the protein myth. It was based on a study done by the meat and dairy industries to rats, animals who need 1000 times more protein in their diet than humans.

Feedback welcome.

8 May, 2010

Is Vegan Enough? Food that oppresses people

Since 8 May is both World Fair Trade Day and International Boycott Proctor & Gamble Day, I thought I would take a quick look at an issue that combines both those topics.

Thinking about the people who produce the food we consume, can change the way we look at it. It is not just a one more consumer product, it can be someone’s life.

Taking a look at one product, Coffee, which is vegan, but is it good for people, Third World (* ) communities or the environment. And if it is bad for the environment, it isn’t good for animals.

How does Fair Trade coffee relate to P&G, one of the largest producers of consumer products, cleaning products, personal care products, and pseudo-chip-in-a-can products….?

Four companies – Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Sara Lee purchase over 40% of the world’s coffee beans, which gives them a large control of the industry. Dictating terms and conditions. These companies are also involved in animal experimentation and cruelty to animals via their dairy and meat products. These four big multinationals get to set the prices paid for the raw coffee beans to over 20 million sellers, forcing the prices down, and paying as little as possible.

And when farmers and communities are not getting a living wage from their crops, this leads to an increasing vicious cycle of local poverty, deforestation to grow more crops, habitat and biodiversity destruction and national debt.

Third World poverty – forced by the World Bank to grow crops for exports to pay back exorbitant debts, often racked up by despots but paid back by peasants. Coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, when many poor countries are producing these “staples” the price for these commodities drops. These countries are making less and less, but growing these crops is often a condition of their loans. For whose benefit is this? These are not crops the local people can live on. Yes they might be vegan, but the human suffering is huge. The environmental devastation via massive land clearing and monoculture crops is also huge.

The leading coffee producers and exporters in order

Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia ,Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Thailand, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Venezuela, Cameroon, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi, Madagascar, Haiti, Rwanda, Guinea, Cuba, Togo, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, Panama, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Malawi

With some exceptions, such as Brazil and India, these countries are among the poorest in the world. The local populations often live in intense poverty.

Absent from the list are first world countries.

Zimbabwe is the number one poorest country in the world, yet it is one of the worlds largest exporters of coffee. Also in the top 10 poorest countries of the world and the top coffee producers/exports are Democratic Republic of the Congo (2nd), Burundi (3rd), Central African Republic (7th).

Kinder Gentler Nation

51 percent of Guatemalans live in poverty. 15 percent live in extreme poverty, meaning they don’t have enough money to put food on their tables on a daily basis.

The World Bank, does not represent the world, is it dominated by the UK and USA, represents the interests of the richest countries in the world. Third world nations become the farm and quarry of the First world.

This informative article from the conservative think-tank the Cato Institute, point out how the world bank is crushing their world countries – The World Bank Vs. the World Poorby James Bovard

The World Bank is helping Third World governments cripple their economies, maul their environments, and oppress their people. … The bank’s handouts to governments for agricultural projects often work out badly. One of the bank’s West African projects to promote coffee and cacao production failed partly because of “soil unsuitability.” The bank encouraged farmers to grow crops that were unsuited for their soil. With friends like the World Bank, African farmers don’t need enemies.

The pursuit of profits in coffee cultivation is causing catastrophes for local farmers and communities, deforestation, and land degradation. None of which are good for animals.

Then comes the addition of milk and sugar….

* or the more common term today being “developing” countries, but I question whether countries like Zimbabwe are developing or if they are going backwards. the other term favoured is ‘Global South’, meaning the poorest countries of the world – ha! take that Australia and New Zealand

Agri-colonisation is an issue covered here: Sugar Shortage – Marion Nestle and G20 countries practice ‘agri-colonialism’ in developing countries from a different perspective.

Some great articles that touch on these issues:

Futile Democracy: The guinea-pig Nation

According to Waldon Bello, a senior analyst at “Focus on the Global South”, a program of Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute:

“At the time of decolonization in the 1960s, Africa was not just self-sufficient in food but was actually a net food exporter, its exports averaging 1.3 million tons a year between 1966-70. Today, the continent imports 25% of its food, with almost every country being a net food importer. Hunger and famine have become recurrent phenomena, with the last three years alone seeing food emergencies break out in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Southern Africa, and Central Africa.

Wat-er Mess (or, Why Society is Once Again Seriously Screwed)The amount of water required to make a single cup of coffee, 140 litres is required.

WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY on 8th May 2010
we will be at Union Square’s Greenmarket! Come & meet us there! Volunteers needed! (Event Website)

Feedback welcome.