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Posts Tagged ‘cattle’

Driving to save the planet

Posted by Richard on August 7, 2007

Do you walk or ride your bike to work or to the store? According to a leading British environmentalist and Green Party candidate for parliament, you're destroying the planet! If you really care about the environment, you ought to get in your car and drive:

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. "Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere," he said, a calculation based on the Government's official fuel emission figures. "If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You'd need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.

"The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better."

Don't go feeling smug if you're a vegetarian. Beef cattle are especially bad for the planet, according the Gaia-worshippers (although they'd change their tune if everyone gave up meat eating and cattle became an endangered species). But if you eat beans instead of beef, you're just shifting the methane production, right?

According to Goodall and other environmentalists, meat is only a small part of the "problem." There's all the shipping of produce, food processing, packaging, refrigeration, etc. Together, they mean that the food industry is responsible for a sixth of your "carbon footprint." Naturally, Goodall has a solution — we just need to go back to a pre-industrial lifestyle based on subsistence farming:

"Don't buy anything from the supermarket," Mr Goodall said, "or anything that's travelled too far."

And for crying out loud, get off that treadmill and go watch some TV! Oh, screw it. When you're growing all your own food and weaving all your own clothing (can't fly it in from China!), you'll be working sunup to sundown and won't have time for TV anyway.



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Something new in the air

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2007

Sniff. Sniff. What’s that smell? Could it be from today’s National Western Stock Show parade, which features cattle and sheep being herded through downtown Denver? No, it seems to be coming from the State Capitol. Ah, I see — Bill Ritter’s just been sworn in as governor, and he’s outlined his ambitious plans for the state:

Bill Ritter embarked on his journey as Colorado’s 41st governor today, calling on Coloradans to live up to the state’s "ambitious and daring" pioneers by embracing a new "Colorado Promise" that pushes the frontiers of renewable energy, creates the nation’s best-educated work force and provides health care for all.

Standing atop the Capitol steps, backed by his sprawling family and facing the soaring Rocky Mountains, Ritter urged all Coloradans to set aside partisan differences and unite in "finding the common ground for the common good."

Ritter underscored his belief that government involves a "social compact — the covenant that says government exists for the people, for all people… It exists to ensure we take care of seniors, and the disabled, and for those who struggle mightily — whatever the reason. Government has a responsibility to intersect with their struggle, looking always for ways to improve the quality of their lives."

"To those who are cynical about the legitimate role of government and where it can intersect and improve people’s lives — I promise a reason to hope. We will govern well. We will govern to solve problems. We will govern responsibly."

Hmm — for some reason, that last part reminds me of Daniel Webster:

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

For me, one of the worrisome aspects of Ritter’s ascendancy is his record of hoplophobia and unrelenting antipathy toward gun owners’ rights. Gov. Bill Owens wasn’t exactly a great friend of gun owners — once, when told gun owners wouldn’t like his betrayal on some issue, Owens sneered something like "What are they going to do, vote Democratic?" But Owens was merely unprincipled and indifferent toward gun owners. Ritter, a former Denver district attorney, has always exhibited fear and loathing.

Since both houses of the legislature are also in Democratic hands, this promises to be a difficult time for firearms ownership and self-defense rights. If you’re a Colorado firearms owner, now would be a good time to contribute to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. If you’re in some other state, remember that Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, and Chuck Schumer are running things now, and contribute to Gun Owners of America.

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Caring about cattle

Posted by Richard on January 5, 2007

As the third sizable snowstorm in just over two weeks slams into eastern Colorado (Denver’s expecting about 7" today), it looks like a cattle catastrophe has been averted in southeastern Colorado, where the New Year’s Eve eve storm dumped up to 48" of snow, with 10-15′ drifts. For the past week, ranchers and volunteers, with help from National Guard planes and helicopters, struggled mightily to get feed and water to the stranded cattle. Officials initially predicted tens of thousands might die, but so far the toll is much lower than feared:

About 3,500 cattle are believed dead, a relatively small fraction of the 300,000 cattle snowbound in six southeastern Colorado counties, according to estimates by experts at the state Department of Agriculture.

In regional feedlots, another 1,000 cattle deaths were confirmed by veterinarian Bill Bennett, homeland security director for the state Agriculture Department.

The toll may rise due to this latest storm, but because of the wind, not heavy snow. Here’s a fascinating fact I bet you didn’t know:

Bennett expressed less concern about snow accumulation with this storm than the anticipated driving winds that may cause cows to suffocate. …

"If it’s blowing when it snows, cattle start inhaling so much snow that it gets in their lungs and they literally drown," explained state veterinarian John Maulsby.

Meanwhile, a couple of Denver radio jocks contacted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about helping to save the cattle, antelope, and elk facing a grim, cold death in that area. PETA basically said, "Who cares? They’re going to die anyway." The Center for Consumer Freedom is all over the story, and has links to the audio:

The dustup started when KRFX morning hosts Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax (yes, that’s his real name) called PETA to ask if the group would help feed and rescue the snowbound herds. PETA spokeswoman Reannon Peterson took the call, and bluntly replied: "You’re going to save them, and then in six months they’re going to be killed and end up on someone’s plate. So I don’t know that it’s really the most noble cause." [click to listen].

Peterson also put the blame on ranchers, criticizing them for "leaving [the cattle] outside" in bad weather. Mind you, this is the same group that rails against "imprisoning" animals in pens or barns.

Peterson added that wild animals caught in the blizzard’s wake — the same animals PETA routinely criticizes hunters for bagging — also weren’t worth spending PETA’s money to save. "It’s an act of God," she said. "There’s really nothing to be done" [click to listen].

She’s right, of course — animals dying in storms and being eaten by predators are part of nature and the "cycle of life." The irony is that this is PETA, a group that works tirelessly to promote the Bambi / Peaceable Kingdom fantasy about animals, that mourns every animal eaten by a human, and that sheds tears over the dashed dreams and lost liberties of lobsters.

I suspect that many PETA members are secretly glad to see cattle die in a way that prevents humans from benefitting from their deaths. Like the environmentalists who’d rather see a forest consumed by fire (contributing to particulate pollution, greenhouse gases, and global warming) than cut by loggers, the animal rights crowd is largely motivated by antipathy toward humans (at its root, their own self-loathing). They’ve long reminded me of Macauley’s observation about the motivation of Puritans: "The Puritan hated bearbaiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators."

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