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  • Posted December 3rd, 2017
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    Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding and the number of animals kept on it?

    Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding and the number of animals kept on it?

    I want to investigate at what size meat production becomes unsustainable (in terms of acreage, number of animals etc.) – i.e. whether it can be sustainable at all, and if so, whether there’s an upper limit, above which it can’t be sustainable, even if it’s organic and using methods that would be sustainable at a smaller scale. It’s often concentration that causes problems. For example, nature can usually neutralise small amounts of toxins, but high concentrations can exceed nature’s ability to deal with it; if a bear shits in the woods, that’s no problem for nature, but if 100,000 bears (or cows) shit in the same place, there’s probably going to be a problem with runoff causing algal blooms in watercourses / polluting groundwater etc.; and if your farm gets visited by a locust or two, fine – but a few million and you’re in trouble. You get the idea. Does increasing scale, and therefore concentration, make large-scale animal agriculture unsustainable? And at what point?

    I’m not talking about the philosophical question of whether it’s ethical to eat animals. That’s covered here. In this article, I just want to talk about sustainability issues around eating meat.

    I’d like to clarify Lowimpact.org’s position on this. I’m completely open to what that position might be – it could even be that we don’t advocate the keeping of animals at all. At the moment, we provide information on, and we blog about, keeping animals – but of course we’re opposed to industrial animal agriculture, involving battery sheds, intensive feedlots and removal of habitat to grow food for animals in those battery sheds and feedlots.

    Let’s take a mixed smallholding. The kind of animal agriculture I would like to see more of involves (for example) a few cows, sheep, chickens, goats etc. grazing under orchard trees (and/or pigs, which could also be kept in woodland) – not taking up any more land than the orchards (or woodland) would, providing manure for the trees, plus keeping weeds down, and in the case of chickens and goats, keeping pests in check, whilst providing an extra resource and additional source of income for organic smallholders, who need all the help they can get. The vast herds of herbivorous animals have gone, apart from in Africa, and even there they’re shrinking. I’m not talking about any additional methane than would have been produced by the wild herds. In this kind of agriculture, ideally, animals would be killed at home, all parts of the animal would be used, and young animals would be kept with their mothers until weaned.

    I’m not saying that all smallholdings need to have animals – I’m just saying that if they do, this would be the most sustainable way to do it (wouldn’t it?).

    But where does it start to become unsustainable? Is it possible for a grass-fed beef farm of several hundred acres to be sustainable, for example?

    The kind of agriculture I describe above would help to reduce meat-eating overall. Studies have shown that eating a lot of meat can cause health problems (although other studies have refuted that). But I don’t know of studies that show that eating meat once or twice a month is unhealthy, I’m talking about a shift to a mostly plant-based diet for most of us – just not necessarily 100%. Some will be vegan, and that will reduce the overall figures and the per capita average.

    An argument against meat production is that it takes more land to feed x number of people with meat than it does with plants, but this argument doesn’t apply, I don’t think, for a few animals in orchards (etc.) on mixed smallholdings that are also producing plant-based foods. Overall food production from a given area would increase, surely, in that case?

    And an argument for meat production is that it often takes place on marginal land, like uplands, that can’t be used for much else. But it could be used for trees. Surely climax vegetation (usually trees, unless too wet, dry, hot or cold), is the best end-point, in terms of habitat, carbon storage, soil retention, flood prevention, biodiversity and other resources? Woodland could also provide meat, via pigs (that are perfectly happy in woodland) and game.

    As far as I can see, there’s room for sustainable meat production, a huge increase in the number of trees and a massive reduction in overall meat production and consumption – all at the same time, which should, theoretically, keep everyone (apart from those who don’t think that animals should be killed by humans, only by other animals) happy.


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


    16 Comments

    • 1Rosewood Farm's Rob December 3rd, 2017

      There’s another factor to consider in the bear/woods conundrum, and that’s frequency. A single bear defecating in the woods every day is not the same as 365 bears visiting the woods once a year. The same principle applies with grazing animals – a large herd passing through is closer to the natural state of grasslands than a few animals living there all the time. Also, what appears, to you, like a waste product, is food for, in the case of UK cattle poo – 250 different species of invertebrates. And those insects are food for many birds, and so on.

      In terms of land use a rotationally grazed beef farm may see land grazed for as little as one or two days per year, that’s 0.3/0.5% of the time. The other 99.5% of the time the land is available for use by multiple species of plant and animal that may inhabit the same space. The habitat has not been fundamentally changed, as it would be in the case of cultivation for a crop, so it is available throughout the year.

      The land may also, in the case of a floodplain meadow, be used for flood relief for humans, safe habitat (away from predators) for wintering wetland migratory birds. Some migratory birds, such as the Whimbrel, actively seek out pastures recently grazed by cattle on which to feed up in the middle of their long journey from their wintering grounds in South Africa to their breeding grounds in Iceland. I played host to 1% of the annual passage population in 2017 – a phenomenon that didn’t occur when either cattle were absent or the land was cultivated.

      We need to get away from this idea of the human being the most important species on the planet – sustainability is about more than feeding the maximum number of people. All the other species we share the planet with deserve consideration of their needs for a wide variety of habitats, not just those that we, as a species, like to see, but every plant, bug & grub [pun not intended].

      Sadly we cannot rely upon constantly evolving habitat to provide new places for these animals to go as we have drained many lowland wetlands for cultivation, roads and houses. Should we really continue to swell our population with a more ‘efficient’ way to feed our species? I don’t think so; as long as we still insist upon living in houses, travelling and transporting goods around the world, our impact is far from low and is unlikely to be so if there are even more of us.

    • 2John Harrison December 3rd, 2017

      There’s no doubt in my mind that meat can be raised sustainably. Properly managed (critical), herbivores can actually improve the quality of pasture and running pigs through scrub in woods is beneficial to the woodland.

      I don’t see any problem in theory to scaling up although there’s probably an optimum number per person working.

      Methods followed in regenerative agriculture where cattle or sheep are mob grazed and then followed on by poultry – either for eggs or meat – seem particularly effective.

      The big problem isn’t scale, per se, so much as density. Too many animals in too little space. Then you get tied in to importing food and waste disposal problems. The waste problems with giant hog farms and mega-dairies and feedlots in the USA are well documented.

      Old time fruit growers controlled the available nutrients to their trees by running sheep or cattle under them. Poultry work well as they pest control as well as fertilising with their manure.

      Goats are a tricky one. They eat near anything that grows so ideal for impoverished terrain but their over-grazing causes desertification. Actually a good example of the problems associated with density even in low-tech farming.

    • 3Annie Leymarie December 3rd, 2017

      Dave, can you please list any of the medical studies you are referring that “refute the fact that eating a lot of meat can cause health problems”?

      Also: I find it hard to believe that you haven’t once mentioned climate change in relation to meat and sustainability! This cannot be serious!…

    • 4Annie Leymarie December 3rd, 2017

      Today, just before publishing this article, Dave asked my opinion about the idea for it – as I had engaged in a long debate with a beef farmer within another post asking “Is it ethical to eat meat” (Oct 15) and had included references to a large number of relevant studies. Dave didn’t wait for my reply – so here it is (and sorry if not all makes sense here out of context):

      Dave, you write that you are “not talking about any additional methane than would have been produced by the wild herds”. This is like me writing I want to promote coal, but no more than in the 19th century! The world’s livestock’s population is rising more than twice as fast as human population. Any additional methane and nitrous oxide is contributing to catastrophic climate change. Each cow in the UK adds per year at least 65-155 kg of methane – a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than CO2 over two decades – as well as much nitrous oxide – nearly 300 times more potent than CO2 (plus other emissions). I have already explained that a grazing cow emits more methane than a grain-fed one. I have also already quoted Monbiot showing that “A kilogramme of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643 kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogramme of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749 kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York”.

      Here’s another opinion (from 2014 – since then emissions have risen): “Because the Earth’s climate may be near tipping points to major change, the need to act is increasingly pressing. Lowering peak climate forcing quickly with ruminant and methane reductions would lessen the likelihood of irreversibly crossing such tipping points” (http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/uploads/CID230_Ripple__2014_NatureClimateChange-Ruminants.pdf)

      The atmosphere doesn’t give a damn as to whether the greenhouse gases come from a small or a big farm, a happy or a miserable cow. Although I am of course against factory farming, animal welfare is less a priority for me than stopping climate change and other environmental destruction caused by animal farming – simply because they will very soon annihilate ALL LIFE on Earth as we know it, the way we are going! In this context, ‘sustainable ruminant farming’ (if not all animal farming) is an oxymoron. (And by the way, I rarely call myself ‘a vegan’).

      You would like “to provide manure for the trees” (releasing more methane and nitrous oxide). There are at the very least 200 million tons of it produced in the UK each year, finding their way to our rivers and oceans, creating a gigantic problem. I have recently shown that top organic – and highly experienced – farmer Guy Watson is turning away from manure and towards compost. Here’s another opinion:

      “The idea exists that one has to choose between industrial and sustainable animal agriculture, or between synthetic fertilizers and manure. This is simply false. (…) There is no ‘magic’ that goes on inside the animal that makes their manure better for the soil or plants than if we used the base material. Manure simply contains recycled plant nutrients—it is more efficient to use these nutrients without passing them through a cow’s digestive tract beforehand.

      When people say that farming cannot be done without the poop of farm animals, what they are effectively saying is that the only real way to farm is the European way. Cattle were brought to the Americas with colonization; indigenous agricultural systems did not use domesticated animals. The milpa system in Mesoamerica, based on corn, beans, and squash, still exists and requires no animal inputs, nor did it ever use draft animals. This system is so efficient that before colonization, it fed what was likely the densest population on the planet at the time”. (http://millahcayotl.org/open-letter-to-the-owners-of-gracias-madre-and-cafe-gratitude/)

      You write “your links to health studies are about excessive meat eating”. I have posted a number of studies showing the direct correlation between amount of animal protein – and red meat in particular – and health problems. It’s very much like smoking (or coal!). For sure, two cigarettes a day are better than two packs but smoking – like eating animal protein – is bad for one’s health… full stop. Do read the China Study – the largest nutritional study ever conducted: it makes this point very clearly. Just one example: recently an Irish GP proved with his own patients the direct correlation between consumption of animal protein and cancer incidence. The more consumption, the more cancer risk, when consumption was reduced, so was the risk – it was proportional. Read his book! (Or this http://nutritionstudies.org/doctor-inspired-by-the-china-study-for-his-cancer-patients/).

      There are plenty of medical studies advising zero consumption of animal based food, e.g. this recent one co-authored by 21 health experts: http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/issues/2018/6536-lifestyle-medicine-a-brief-review-of-its-dramatic-impact-on-health-and-survival.html. You can imagine that it would be hard to get 16,000 scientists to agree straight away to promote zero animal food consumption. They are trying to be realistic and we all agree that a transition is required, with some situations better than others, but shouldn’t an organisation like yours clearly explain what is the best direction to aim for, for the planet and our health?

      You have questions about the research I have provided. I am glad you are curious: please, please do check! I would like to show the extent to which the meat and dairy industry has used its immense financial (and thus also political) power to distort science. It’s so huge it seems surreal. You could read ‘Meatonomics’ written by a lawyer. Or of course watch for instance Cowspiracy (and ‘What the Health’) – both very easy to watch, like thrillers, with no ’difficult’ scenes.

      I haven’t “tarred Rob with the ‘badger-cull’ brush”. I am interested in the best guidance for all. It is a fact that tuberculosis is endemic in UK cattle – which are vulnerable to a whole range of health issues – and that the industry has been heavily pushing for the cull which has killed many dozens of thousands of badgers (and some 260,000 cattle), despite no scientific basis for it. When we are encouraged by Rob to eat much more beef, surely this is one of the many factors to take into consideration – or would you like this information also brushed under the pasture, so that we are not making informed choices?

      Re herbivores getting eaten, here are a few with no important predator (or none at all – other than humans): pandas, koalas, buffalos, elephants, gorillas, swans, kangaroos, bisons, rhinos… No doubt there are many more and I’ll pay attention to this. Frankly this is not that important here but the idea that we protect farm animals against nature “all red in tooth and claw” doesn’t land at all well with me. Give me the life of a bison rather than that of a dairy cow any day!

      Dave, I am very short of time and have invested huge amounts of it here. I repeat that for most things in life I probably agree with you and that I am grateful for your willingness to open up debates. I am sorry that you are catching me when I am at the end of my tether, having listed so many highly valid references (very much peer-reviewed studies with no conflicts of interest) that are being ignored – so I’ll be quitting now. To sum up my views:

      Climate change is threatening all life on Earth. Consumption of all animal-based food, but particularly from ruminants (beef, lamb, goat and dairy), plays a very big part in it. Grass-fed ruminants are the worse ‘culprits’. These products also have, by a very long way, the biggest land use footprint of all food and damage the environment in many other ways. In addition they turn out to be really bad for our health, whereas a whole food plant-based diet has been shown to be the healthiest.

      A shift in diet is the easiest thing each one of us can do at any time to halt the worse of climate change – with more than 60% of all emissions caused by our own individual consumer choices.

      I agree that smallholders need help (and I am campaigning for that) but I have focused on one example, Tolhurst’s farm, because it demonstrates that everything you are keen to promote, including plenty of wildlife and plenty of trees (orchard and others), can be obtained on a highly efficient, highly climate-friendly, quite economically-viable small farm using no animal or animal inputs and providing the healthiest of food. In addition Tolly is very happy to educate others. Isn’t that the kind of model to promote for low impact?

    • 5John Harrison December 3rd, 2017

      In Britain there is precious little ‘natural’ land – it’s all a result of management. Draining the fens to hedgerows. We are where we are, the huge forests have gone. Since you farmers are the defacto custodians of the countryside, it’s down to you and how you manage things.
      Globally there’s no realistic doubt that the population will inexorably rise to between 9 and 12 billion before it starts to come down. Also, countries where income rises tend to eat more meat. I fear we have to look for increased production and efficiency of production. Achieving that whilst being environmentally considerate and sustainable is the challenge. I’m sorry but using the grazing land just 0.5% of the time won’t cut it.
      I don’t see the average consumer putting the needs of the whimbrel above their desire for cheap meat.

    • 6Dave Darby December 3rd, 2017

      Rob,

      ‘Should we really continue to swell our population with a more ‘efficient’ way to feed our species?’

      I’m not talking about swelling the human population (I’m pretty sure that no-one is). I’d prefer to see the human population slowly fall. But I’d also like to see that population fed, clothed, housed etc. using the fewest resources possible (including land).

      It seems to me that yours is an unusual farm if land is grazed just a couple of days per year. Most farmers wouldn’t be able to afford to do that. You’ve also said that you have lots of trees, wetland, and scrub grazing – similar to how a lot of the UK countryside must have looked thousands of years ago, with similar levels of large herbivore densities. So you might be a special case – in a similar bracket to running pigs in woodland.

      So I suppose my question is whether the only types of sustainable animal agriculture are the ‘in orchards on mixed smallholdings’ that I outline above, together with very few, extremely rare farms like yours. In terms of sustainability, we’ve already ruled out industrial agriculture, but should we also rule out the standard ‘cows or sheep in fields with no trees’ that we see everywhere in the countryside?

    • 7Dave Darby December 3rd, 2017

      Annie,

      ‘Dave, you write that you are “not talking about any additional methane than would have been produced by the wild herds”. This is like me writing I want to promote coal, but no more than in the 19th century!’

      No, it isn’t, unless you think that the numbers of wild ruminants arrived at by evolution before agriculture was unsustainable. I’m talking about methane emissions that are no greater than if humans and their agriculture didn’t exist. Coal is not the same because before humans came along and started burning it, it wasn’t getting burnt. I repeat – I’m advocating a type of agriculture that contains no more ruminants than would have existed before agriculture.

      ‘You would like “to provide manure for the trees” (releasing more methane and nitrous oxide). There are at the very least 200 million tons of it produced in the UK each year’

      As I said before, you’re talking about the current, damaging meat industry, not the kind of animal agriculture I’m advocating. You don’t need to quote figures at me about the current system – I agree with you.

      ‘There is no ‘magic’ that goes on inside the animal that makes their manure better for the soil or plants than if we used the base material.’

      I didn’t say that was the case – I just said it happens, and it fertilises trees.

      ‘When people say that farming cannot be done without the poop of farm animals’

      I didn’t say that either – I said that some farms would have no animals.

      ‘‘sustainable ruminant farming’ (if not all animal farming) is an oxymoron.’

      That wouldn’t be the case if the total number of ruminants is no more than previously existing wild populations.

      ‘Cattle were brought to the Americas with colonization; indigenous agricultural systems did not use domesticated animals.’

      They didn’t use cars or electricity either, but they do now. I’m talking about where we go from here.

      I agree with you on the need to reduce meat consumption overall. If the studies that you link to help people to reduce consumption for health reasons – fine. But Lowimpact.org already supports vegetarianism and veganism, and for those who do eat meat, it’s probably best to suggest that they eat it less than a lot of people do – ie. most days. I certainly grew up believing that every meal had to contain meat or fish. If people eat less meat, then agriculture can reflect that. We first start dismantling industrial animal agriculture, and then we look at what’s left. I’m suggesting that the type of agriculture I describe in the main article might be fine. You disagree, and that’s what I want to investigate. I’m not at all concerned about the health implications of eating meat twice a month, any more than I am about occasionally driving or drinking alcohol. I’m not looking for a puritanical regime, just a sustainable one.

      Badgers – again, the type of agriculture I’m talking about wouldn’t require the culling of any badgers, and Rob doesn’t do it. His advocating an increase in meat consumption is where I disagree with him. Even sustainably-produced meat doesn’t need to increase (imho). It can stay the same, whilst industrial agriculture is dismantled.

      The wild herbivores question is a distraction – let’s drop it (although of course I’m talking about ruminants rather than gorillas or koalas! Plus, I’d say that pre-agriculture, with healthy predator populations that have now been decimated, virtually no ruminants would have escaped being eaten. If they managed to avoid being eaten before they reached maturity, and avoided being ill until old age, at some point they would be too slow to escape and would fall prey. Predators don’t fail to spot old, slow animals).

      Yes, I’d support Tolhurst’s farm. But that’s not the question. The question is, can meat, in the way I’ve described in the main article, be produced sustainably? So for example, would Tolhurst’s farm be less sustainable (or less financially viable) if he had a few sheep grazing under the orchard trees, and/or a few chickens free-ranging?

    • 8Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 3rd, 2017

      You know why my farm is rare though Dave, I’ve discussed the financials at length previously. The amount of time spent grazing isn’t special though, the same principles apply on any farm. Most farms in the UK are set stocked because the value of extra production doesn’t cover the cost of the extra management required, also because most farms are not organic they can rely more upon pesticides and wormers to address the problems caused by set stocking. The good news is that the extra management produces more food and builds more soil, sequestering more carbon due to the increased growth and trampling of organic matter into the soil. This guy perhaps explains it better than I can; https://youtu.be/AvEZxHYIhdw

      I haven’t created the extra habitat btw, I have just taken on more land as other farmers have found it less economic to do so in the conventional marketplace. Without our work the land would not be supporting as much biodiversity and would be adding zero food to feeding the 7bn. If we are to feed more people more cheaply I believe that we should adopt a plant-based diet, but if we are to feed people more sustainably, I believe that we need a mixed farming landscape.

      I do think that the world will/is going vegan, but it has little to do with animal rights and everything to do with corporate profits.

    • 9Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 3rd, 2017

      You know where I’m coming from John. Diversity is important in biodiversity – I don’t see how anyone can claim that we could have more diversity in our farmland by removing a whole biological kingdom from the equation.

    • 10Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 3rd, 2017

      Assuming herbivores did escape being eaten their numbers would have increased, massively. We’ve been there with the AI issue, our cattle breed naturally, but I do have to work hard to control breeding naturally – bulls want to mate with any animal that is receptive, so without predatory pressure they would have no trouble increasing their numbers.

    • 11John Harrison December 4th, 2017

      Can’t argue with that, Robert. However, Dave’s question – “Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding and the number of animals kept on it? ” isn’t “Should we produce meat”. or even “Can meat be produced sustainably” it’s about numbers and scale as I read it. Obviously meat can be produced sustainably, the discussion should be on scale and density.
      I feel we should seek to maximise productivity within the constraints of sustainability and environment. Feeding 10 billion sufficiently without destroying the resource base is, I fervently hope, possible. If not the rest of the century is going to be pretty horrific and most likely civilisation won’t survive.

    • 12Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 4th, 2017

      I believe it is possible too, though I worry that the focus is currently on the wrong areas. At the moment we don’t seem to be able to see the wood for the trees, so to speak.

    • 13Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 4th, 2017

      “Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding?”

      No, I’d say it depends upon the management of the holding.

      “Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the number of animals kept on it?”

      Yes, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. The ability of an area of land to support more animals without outside inputs is a measure of it’s success.

    • 14Stephen Greening December 4th, 2017

      Ok, I’ll have to give you some background, Iam an environment specialist and grew up on small farms in Wiltshire and Dorset. I also worked on a large organic mixed estate in Wiltshire. (2000acre+) owned by a founding director of the soil assoc. I think you are dealing with one of the most serious issues facing us in the C21. Inthe 60’s we had a 200acre holding near Salisbury doing cereals, mangels , Kale , Dairy and Beef, our cereals we were milling for our own animal feed, straw for bedding and feed (Barley). We had 3 tractors the largest 60/70hp, we bred all our own dairy replacements from Friesen , Dairy Shorthorn, Ayrshire, Devons and Aberdeen Angus. My father was rated highly for his affinity to his stock. Our Beef production was a byproduct of our dairy production which was in the day geared towards high butterfat milk. My fathers theory was that cross breeding stock made healthier stock, so we developed our own strains along maternal strains, this lowered our production costs if you are breeding you get spare bull calves, which is where beef production starts. Also some cows produce better beef stock than dairy so you blend your calving to suit your cow, also we used to put young heifers to Angus bulls to give a gentle first calving. We moved to North Dorset in ’67 with stock onto a purely dairy holding (114acres) on permenant pasture (possibly since doomesday book!), we were one of the first to own our own land there. Our average field size was 5acres an indication of its history. Then dutch elm disease and grants allowed hedgerow removal and ley planting not by us). We would produce 5000+ normal hay bales with top dressing only applied to hayfields in the spring, extensive harrowing and FYM application. We were forced to go bulk with our milk and accreditation for our stock, all this allowed us to adequately support 60/70 dairy cows with a floating herd of young beef 5/15, this could be adjusted in the autumn as to how much grub we had. I believe that the destruction of permenant pasture has allowed short term gain ( in stocking density through leys and maize production ) which is unsustainable as it lowers soil fertility through erosion, also silage production which stops cattle from using their multiple stomach coarse herbage digestive tract. Think about it slurry is cattle with constant diarorreha ! Also it prevents wildflower and grass diversity which is much higher on permenant pasture. Silage and Maize are permitting unsustainable stocking levels of Beef production aimed at large high yield beef animals, ie holsteins, limousin etc. This beef doesn’t have the quality of say Welsh Black or A Angus. Also these animals can exist on low grade marginal land with little attention, Beef production is our greatest expression of greed and indifference to stock welfare dramatically demonstrated by the BSE crisis! Bassically the whole thing is a time bomb particularly if you look at the economics of increased mechanisation, and lack of Agricultural community that has been produced…… I am going to write this book oneday! ;0) Dorset widlife trust’s farm at Kingcombe is worth a look.

    • 15Annie Leymarie December 4th, 2017

      Dave
      You write: “I’m talking about methane emissions that are no greater than if humans and their agriculture didn’t exist”.

      But humans and their huge livestock population, taking up 80% of agriculture land and adding more greenhouse gases than all of transport, DO exist and so does climate change! There is much debate about what previous populations of wild ruminants were, but what’s the relevance to our current crisis? We have a catastrophe unfolding fast and the only way to mitigate it is to drastically reduce all GHG emissions, particularly short-term climate pollutants such as methane. Sheep are the very worst farm species contributing to climate change, the most inefficient providers of food, and their meat has been clearly shown to be unhealthy for us (and you still haven’t shown me any of the studies which you claim “refute that eating a lot of meat can cause health problems”).

      You write that “manure happens, and it fertilises trees” – but the quotation explained that it is more efficient to use the vegetation directly than having it digested and excreted by animals. I am in touch with Helen Atthowe who in the US has been running and researching organic orchards for at least 37 years. She now owns a commercial veganic orchard (no animal inputs) and wrote to me recently that she got better results from selective mowing than her neighbours did grazing livestock in their orchards. Here are her words:

      “We use our grass/legume/weed mowed ground-cover as our ‘grow-your-own-fertilizer’. On our new two-year old orchard, we are doing research to show that mowed living mulch in orchards may be all the fertilizer required in our commercial, organic production.

      Also, my research from our 35 year organic orchard (sold two years ago) shows that where we ‘mow selectively’ to encourage ground-dwelling predators and pollen/nectar feeding predators and parasites we were able to eliminate all organic insecticide sprays on peach, apple, pear, plum crops. Our neighbors who graze livestock in their orchards destroyed predator/parasite habitat and had increased insect pest problems and increased spraying of insecticides.”

      There are pictures of her orchard here (http://www.veganicpermaculture.com/ ) and a long presentation of her work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_916148wmHs

      (And in an orchard I co-created we didn’t mow but scythe)

      So if we don’t need sheep for our health or anything else, and they contribute so much to climate change (each one of them emitting as much as several cars driven tens of thousands of miles per year), how can they be labelled ‘sustainable’? It’s such an abused term! Undoubtedly, as written before, a transition will be needed and of course the agroforestry system you describe is much better than many. But for me it’s crucial that everyone is fully informed and helped to make the best decisions possible for “low impact living”. At the moment, misinformation prevails.

      Farmers, consumers and policy-makers are being brain-washed with the theory that managed (or ‘holistic’, or ‘regenerative’, or ‘mob’) grazing can magically offset the methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock through carbon sequestration in the plants and soil. But this has been debunked many times by various ecologists and recently deemed “dangerously misleading” by a team of scientists who have examined all the relevant studies (300) and other evidence gathered over several years (http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn-blogs/tara-garnett/blog-post-tara-garnett-why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isn%E2%80%99t-going-help-fight).

      The story about indigenous agricultural systems using no animal inputs wasn’t mine, but it shows a climate-friendly food producing system that has been done for centuries in the past and can easily be done now.

      You suggest “that the type of agriculture I describe in the main article might be fine”. Fine for what? Not for the climate, nor for land use, not for biodiversity, nor for our health, if we’re talking sheep, cows and goats. Chicken and other poultry in small numbers are a different matter. I personally have read enough studies showing that all animal protein is unhealthy to avoid chicken meat and eggs. Also I’d rather not kill, and even if chicken die of old age I see welfare problems: the hens we have now bred, laying one egg a day, are a gross distortion form a wild bird who only lays a handful or two of eggs a year. It’s very demanding on them, like a woman bred to have constantly her periods…

      But as I wrote elsewhere, our pets are also big contributors to climate change, so I might warm to the idea of households (or smallholders) keeping chicken (small, more ‘natural’ breeds, with a rooster, plenty of space, etc) at ‘pets’ instead of carnivorous cats, for instance. And Indian runner ducks as slug patrol (again, with a pond and other good living conditions).

      You write: “I’m not at all concerned about the health implications of eating meat twice a month”. But surely it’s important to look at what is most sustainable for the population at large, for which the health burden of non-communicable (or lifestyle) diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer, allergies, arthritis and much else keeps increasing, draining public resources, adding to the carbon footprint and removing many years of well-being to a majority of people? Isn’t looking at this issue as objectively as possible – and tackling it – part of a path towards low impact living?

      As I wrote before, one or two cigarettes a day may not be a problem for many smokers, but hasn’t it been a progress to move from the times when there was no valid information about the inherent health risks to a situation where people are free to choose but warned about the true impacts of their behaviour on themselves– and the impacts on others kept to a minimum?

      Re badgers: Rob isn’t in the zone where TB is a major problem so is not required to cull badgers. I was interested in the issues linked with eating beef and dairy in the UK generally.

      You ask: “Would Tolhurst’s farm be less sustainable (or less financially viable) if he had a few sheep grazing under the orchard trees, and/or a few chickens free-ranging? So yes, in my eyes definitely less sustainable – I would say unsustainable – with a few sheep. Each sheep is like of a fleet of cars and destroys all life under its feet. Monbiot calls them “a fully-automated system for ecological destruction.” (http://www.monbiot.com/2017/07/13/the-lie-of-the-land/).

      It’s quite different for a few free-ranging chicken, whose emissions are far smaller (though much bigger than most equivalent plant food). But a fast-growing number of us have found much improved health (and conscience) from leaving out eggs and meat – and Tolly is one of the many living examples of how fit one becomes on such a diet! This short testimony from a doctor who has spent decades studying nutrition has just arrived in my mailbox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AneH-B8Aa2Y&feature=em-subs_digest

      And, to mention Monbiot again, a year ago he took part in a debate about meat with AA Gill (who made many of the points Rob made here in defense of meat eating). … But AA Gill died a few weeks after this debate, from what he himself called “the full English of cancers” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETpaLdi1aeA&t=40s).

    • 16John Harrison December 4th, 2017

      If posting endless lists of links to sites and youtube videos proves anything, I’ll join in and prove aliens are amongst us and 911 was a CIA operation. Proper published and peer-reviewed research papers I’ll take notice of.
      Any gardener knows that there is a big difference between animal manure and compost. Both serve a purpose but they are different in formation, nutrient content and production.
      I’m sorry but the question was “Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding and the number of animals kept on it?” not “Is it sustainable?” – which it obviously is at some level.
      Yes people can live and be fit on a vegan diet – also they can be fit and healthy on a diet with hardly anything but meat & fish (Inuits) – and what has that to do with the topic? Nothing.
      These pro-vegan diatribes are not adding to the value of a discussion on the topic given.

    • 17Rosewood Farm's Rob December 4th, 2017

      “These pro-vegan diatribes are not adding to the value of a discussion on the topic given.” – Quite, especially when you read them, find them to be inaccurate and mention this to the OP & get nothing in response. The scatter gun approach to debate in order to deflect from accuracy is popular in those circles – if you throw enough mud, some is bound to stick.

    • 18Rosewood Farm's Rob December 4th, 2017

      “Re badgers: Rob isn’t in the zone where TB is a major problem so is not required to cull badgers. I was interested in the issues linked with eating beef and dairy in the UK generally.”

      You also stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the cull was justified therefore your mention of the cull is a strawman argument as noone here is advocating that a cull is a necessary part of keeping cattle healthy.

    • 19Greg Hickin December 4th, 2017

      Wow Anne’s posts are , well nonsense .”Each sheep is like of a fleet of cars and destroys all life under its feet. ” a fleet of cars ? Does Anne really think that one sheep equals a fleet of cars ? To be honest there is too much misinformation in her posts to even begin to try to counter them.

      Back to the question “Does the sustainability of meat production depend on the size of a holding and the number of animals kept on it?” not “Is it sustainable?” ” well seeing as agriculture that involves rotating ruminants through fields to increase fertility been practiced in the UK for over 4000 years I’d say yes of course . Now obviously I’m not talking about some upland landscapes that would be better of turned over to agroforestry with an example like Pontbren.
      http://pontbren.bangor.ac.uk/env_benefits.php.en

      Which funnily enough Monbiot said of “The story begins with a group of visionary farmers at Pontbren, in the headwaters of Britain’s longest river, the Severn. In the 1990s they realised that the usual hill farming strategy – loading the land with more and bigger sheep, grubbing up the trees and hedges, digging more drains – wasn’t working. It made no economic sense, the animals had nowhere to shelter, the farmers were breaking their backs to wreck their own land.

      So they devised something beautiful. They began planting shelter belts of trees along the contours. They stopped draining the wettest ground and built ponds to catch the water instead. They cut and chipped some of the wood they grew to make bedding for their animals, which meant that they no longer spent a fortune buying straw. Then they used the composted bedding, in a perfect closed loop, to cultivate more trees”

      http://www.monbiot.com/2014/01/13/drowning-in-money/

      Where on more coastal areas where the land has been ” grain wrecked ” a more holistic approach would be beneficial in returning that land back to high nature value grasslands they once were , while having a stocking density twice that of most sheep farms and sequestering huge amounts of carbon .

      https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/wild-farm-regenerative-agriculture-village-farm
      Also Dave asked about tollys farm, if he had a couple of sheep he wouldn’t need his petrol driven lawn mower spewing out 17 known carcinogens into the atmosphere.

      Anne here really needs to learn about the power of soils and their ability to sequester carbon. Also sometimes Monbiots biases show in his work
      ” I had a look at the paper the figures were based on – as I don’t have access to scientific references for free I wasn’t able to see where George had got his figures from, but the paper was published in the Journal of Agricultural Science. The paper compares the carbon footprint of cattle and sheep from 2 upland farms in the Cambrian mountains of Wales – and was received for peer review in February 2009. And yes, using these figures, you can get to the astonishingly high carbon footprints George mentions in his article.

      But the story does not end there.

      18 months later the same author, Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones, published a much larger more comprehensive study of 20 upland farms in the Cambrian Mountains. This was published as a CCW policy research report in September 2010. This gives quite a different – in some cases completely polar opposite, picture to the one George has painted.

      On three of the 20 farms where the study took place, the production of cattle and sheep caused a net sequestration of Carbon. Yes, that’s right. Producing lamb and beef can actually lead to the storage of Carbon. How could this be?”
      https://anewnatureblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/the-answer-lies-in-the-soil/

      I’d recommend reading up on Gabe Brown’s work in the states.

      http://www.grazeonline.com/canweregeneratesoils

      Silvopasture systems.
      http://www.perennialsolutions.org/intensive-silvopasture-a-win-win-for-carbon-and-yield

      Tbh I could go on .

    • 20Dave Darby December 5th, 2017

      Annie

      If you say that keeping any goats, sheep or cattle at all is unsustainable, you have to say that the wild sheep, goats and cattle that existed before agriculture were unsustainable, and that’s absurd. Can we just make sure we’re on the same page with this one point – that as a baseline, I’m not talking about continuing the kind of animal agriculture that we have now – I’m advocating keeping some animals on mixed smallholdings, but not more of them than existed before agriculture. No extra methane, because no more animals than pre-agriculture. Large herbivores, apart from deer, don’t exist in this country any more. The wild sheep, boar and aurochs have gone. Let’s just start with the kind of agriculture I’m talking about as a baseline producing no additional methane than nature would have produced before agriculture.

      Then, my question is still the same as the one at the top of the page – at what scale do the greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, become a problem? Rob states that grazed land actually sequesters carbon. So let’s look at that, to see how much it sequesters in comparison to woodland. And if woodland wins, and feeding people with plants uses less land, which we all agree it does, then the land that’s not required for agriculture can revert to woodland, in theory at least, and in reality if the will is there.

      It’s just a question of finding studies we can agree are reliable, and doing the sums (see below).

      If someone mows the grass to fertilise their trees, they’re using energy, probably fossil fuels, or their time and effort, unnecessarily. Animals can do the mowing without fossil fuels and they can fertilise the trees too. But even if you scythe – which is great by the way – the animals still provide meat and milk (and let’s throw in eggs, honey, wool and leather) from the same land that’s producing fruit, which constitutes an additional income to the smallholder.

      I don’t want to talk about health, because I’m not suggesting that we eat so much meat that it becomes a cancer, obesity or diabetes risk, and to say that eating it twice a month constitutes that risk is absurd; or whether it’s right to kill animals at all – I’m happy to have those discussions, just not on this thread. That’s not what is being asked on this post.

      Annie, Rob, John

      So the things I’d like to find out are:

      1. which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?

      2. methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?

      Thank you for this Annie – http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn-blogs/tara-garnett/blog-post-tara-garnett-why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isn%E2%80%99t-going-help-fight I’ll look at that. Anyone else any opposing views on this?

      3. the land issue. If we can produce more food from the same amount of land by growing plants, then we can free up more land to revert to nature (of course whether it actually will revert to nature is a political question, but we’re just talking theoretically at the moment). What are the implications of that as regards climate change and biodiversity (not forgetting the additional resources that can be harvested from woodland)?

      4. Our focus is both sustainability and democracy, and they’re closely linked. We favour an economy of small businesses, self-employment, co-operatives and commons, rather than one dominated by large corporations with undue political influence and an agenda of perpetual growth and wealth concentration. So we’d like to see more independent smallholdings (as well as other types of businesses in the food production / distribution sector). Does having some animals on their smallholdings make their business more financially viable? If so, then it’s something we need to take into consideration.

    • 21John Harrison December 5th, 2017

      Thanks for an interesting comment Greg – glad I didn’t unsubscribe from this now!

    • 22John Harrison December 5th, 2017

      You should write that book – you’ve a contribution to make based on practical experience and knowledge garnered in the field (no pun intended).

    • 23Rosewood Farm's Rob December 5th, 2017

      1. which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?

      “Grassland soil profiles contain about twice as much organic matter that is more uniformly distributed through the profile than forest soils under similar environmental conditions. “

      http://passel.unl.edu/pages/informationmodule.php?idinformationmodule=1130447040&topicorder=6&maxto=8

      And wetlands are even better;

      “Peatlands in particular store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.“

      https://www.ramsar.org/sites/default/files/fs_9_drr_eng_22fev.pdf

      Bearing in mind that peatlands make up a much smaller percentage of the Earth’s surface than forests, on a per acre basis peatlands hold 20x the carbon or forests.

      2. methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?

      Using Annie’s own figures from Tolhursts carbon audit and DEFRA emissions figures, we sequester 459t of carbon every year and we emit (a high estimate, due to the herd profile) 12t of C. Assuming that 459t of carbon were to remain in the atmosphere as CO2 you would have 1377t, convert the 16t of CH4 with a GWP of 84 over 20 years (again Annie’s figures) gives 1344t CO2e – so minus 33t of CO2e.

      There are also other ways to reduce emissions

      Thank you for this Annie – http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn-blogs/tara-garnett/blog-post-tara-garnett-why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isn%E2%80%99t-going-help-fight I’ll look at that. Anyone else any opposing views on this?

      3. the land issue. If we can produce more food from the same amount of land by growing plants, then we can free up more land to revert to nature (of course whether it actually will revert to nature is a political question, but we’re just talking theoretically at the moment). What are the implications of that as regards climate change and biodiversity (not forgetting the additional resources that can be harvested from woodland)?

      Let’s not kid ourselves, land use is not a political issue that needs resolving for the efficienies to work. If veganic agriculture were as efficient as is suggested then even without political will, veganic farmers would be able to afford to buy/rent ex-livestock farms, crop 5% of the land and ‘rewild’ the remaining 95%. This doesn’t happen in real life, most stockless farms are small and predominately cultivated landscapes.

      In terms of biodiversity, agri-environment schemes often promote the reintroduction of grazing livestock to sensitive habitats and arable landscapes in order to boost biodiversity. There are no incentives to reintroduce cultivation to pastoral landscapes as cultivation is rarely a means to improve biodiversity.

      4. Our focus is both sustainability and democracy, and they’re closely linked. We favour an economy of small businesses, self-employment, co-operatives and commons, rather than one dominated by large corporations with undue political influence and an agenda of perpetual growth and wealth concentration. So we’d like to see more independent smallholdings (as well as other types of businesses in the food production / distribution sector). Does having some animals on their smallholdings make their business more financially viable? If so, then it’s something we need to take into consideration.

      The fact that humans ever domesticated farm livestock is a strong suggestion that livestock are integral to a sustainable food system. By comparison it is much easier to hunt wild animals for meat than it is to care for and feed farmed animals, so there must have been other incentives for domestication, these likely include dairy and draught but also animals are an effective way to recycle waste products and also to utilise gluts of food to preserve them for consumption in the winter months.

      “The media often reports how consumers’ choices can contribute to sustainable development, like through a vegetarian diet; however, erroneous information is provided regarding livestock feed requirements,”

      https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/more-fuel-for-the-foodfeed-debate-new-study-indicates-livestock-production-is-a-much-smaller-challenge-to-global-food-security-than-often-reported

      The corporate food manufacturing industry is moving away from relatively expensive animal products towards cheaper ingredients from which they can maintain a higher profit margin. It makes little sense to continue using expensive meat as they have already exhausted the potential to make meat any cheaper.

    • 24Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Dave, in a rush – I hadn’t seen your response and am totally running out of time. Please see my long response to Greg with many references that you can read.

      Once again, whatever happened before this man-made climate change is totally irrelevant to our current situation. Any added emission pushes us into tipping points that will make this planet inhabitable. Any cow, sheep or goat adds methane as they digest and breathe (as well as nitrous oxide through their manure, and CO2) – and methane and nitrous oxide are far more potent greenhouse gases than CO2. Farm animals emit a lot more than wild ruminants as they are always juvenile, growing fast and fat, consuming and thus emitting a lot as they digest, then killed. How on Earth do you get the idea there would be “no extra methane”? It makes no sense! Each animal is like one or rather many cars being driven for tens of thousands of miles!

      “At what scale do the greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, become a problem?” At any scale! The scale doesn’t matter! Whether one sheep is alone in your back garden or in a flock of 5,000 sheep, it will emit roughly the same amount of methane and nitrous oxide that will be contributing to climate change!

      Please, please read ‘Grazed and Confused’ (produced by a generally pro-livestock organisation!). If I had the time (and if I knew you’d read what I posted!!) I could send you plenty more testimonies from ecologists showing that yes, some grazed land can sequester some carbon under some circumstances but never for very long and never enough to in any way offset the enteric emissions (enteric = from ruminants’ digestion).

      The claim made by so many livestock farmers about huge grazed lands sequestration potentials is essentially bullshit but people are desperate to believe something positive about their habits. I’ll send more when I get a chance but please start by reading what I have already sent!

      “If someone mows the grass to fertilise their trees, they’re using energy, probably fossil fuels, or their time and effort, unnecessarily. Animals can do the mowing”: Animals are far less efficient at fertilising than using the grass directly and similarly for providing food – the space is much better used without them. And as to the CO2 for mowing – it will be be far less than the highly potent methane and nitrous oxide from the grazing animal (and you will need extra CO2 for the animal too – if only to take it to the abattoir or get rid of its carcass, or the vet, or its feed, or refrigeration of its meat, etc etc)
      You keep saying that you don’t want to talk about health but I do (together with thousands of scientists, as previously shown). Many health experts are comparing the current situation with respect to the dangers of consuming animal protein with that of tobacco some decades ago, when a majority of people were adamant that smoking just a little was fine. We’ve got a gigantic health issue happening and it’s highly irresponsible, I feel, not to draw attention to the true causes of it – if only because the health burden is a massive part of sustainability issues.

      “Which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?” Forest, of course, by a very, very long way! There is clear consensus on that. Trees sequester more CO2 and for much longer, and we still haven’t found any more reliable way of storing CO2! There are plenty of CO2 offsetting schemes involving tree planting. Have you ever heard of one involving pastures? That would be nonsense. A lot of grazed grassland doesn’t sequester at all, being in fact net emitter of CO2. And when grassland do sequester it’s never a fixed status and the soil gets saturated fast. So Monbiot’s vision (shared by many others) to reduce livestock farming as much as possible to free land for rewilding (thus reforesting) is not just about biodiversity but very much also about the best way to store carbon.

      “Methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?” Yes absolutely, overall yes it does (and nitrous oxide)! Dave, please read the references sent – to Greg here but also on the previous thread to John. It’s not my opinion that matters, is for valid information to be aired and shared (peer-reviewed studies, non-biased sources, etc). I have no vested interest in this whatsoever. Just like Monbiot, I am totally prepared to change my opinion if the evidence demands it. I just love life and want to defend it and there is misinformation everywhere. A livestock farmer will not be keen to accept information that is highly inconvenient to him or her!

    • 25Dave Darby December 5th, 2017

      Annie

      First, what response to Greg? I can’t see one, and there’s nothing in the spam folder.

      I’m not going to be able to get back to this until this evening, or possibly tomorrow morning, but I promise I will look at sources (peer-reviewed or with references to peer-reviewed studies) from both sides and come back with more questions.

    • 26Rosewood Farm's Rob December 5th, 2017

      “The claim made by so many livestock farmers about huge grazed lands sequestration potentials is essentially bullshit but people are desperate to believe something positive about their habits. I’ll send more when I get a chance but please start by reading what I have already sent! ”

      You are hilarious – you quoted the figures on Tolly’s grasslands, which amounted to 9% of his total sequestration. How can you say it’s bs when a livestock farmer claims it, but not when a veg farmer does?

    • 27John Harrison December 5th, 2017

      It’s self evident that moving to a vegan diet will vastly increase methane emissions. Vegans need to eat a lot of beans to provide protein and whilst beans are good for the heart, everyone knows they make you fart – thereby sending methane out! ?

    • 28Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Responding in several parts – Part 1

      The ‘fleet of cars’ analogy might be a stretch… or not, depending on figures used. Lamb and mutton are mostly shown to be even worse than beef for the climate, and the analogy of a fleet of cars certainly holds true for a cow. We’ve already seen Monbiot’s calculation of 1 kg of lamb protein corresponding to 749 kg CO2-e – more than a transatlantic flight.

      I’ve also already referred to the extensive “Grazed and Confused” report which has examined more than 300 relevant studies and other evidence and categorically concluded that, overall, carbon sequestration on pastures cannot offset livestock’s emissions, despite countless claims by the meat industry that it can (http://www.fcrn.org.uk/fcrn-blogs/tara-garnett/blog-post-tara-garnett-why-eating-grass-fed-beef-isn%E2%80%99t-going-help-fight.)

      And yes, Greg, agroforestry is excellent, and the more trees and other perennials the better, but without ruminants is a lot better still (as shown in my previous comments with Woodleaf Farm and Tolhurst Organic as examples),

      For the car/animal analogy, below are some studies that all use an outdated (too low) Global Warming Potential (GWP) figure for methane – i.e. its equivalence with CO2. The most recent GWP figures for methane are 86 and 84, with and without climate-carbon feedback respectively, for a 20 year horizon (from IPCC). This horizon is arguably far more relevant now than the 100 year horizon mostly used. For the latter the figures are 28 and 34, in any case higher than figures used by scientists below, which tend to be 20 or 23 (and these values are likely to be increased again soon, as they have been for each successive IPCC report). So basically the calculations shown below are very conservative.

      I then list a number of other scientific opinions on the topic – so please do not accuse me of ‘wrong opinions’ – they are not mine!

      (1) Including CO2 implications of land occupation in LCAs—method and example for livestock products. (2012) And:
      “One Kilogram of Meat as Harmful to the Climate as Driving up to 1600 Kilometres in a car”
      http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/one-kilogram-of-meat-as-harmful-to-the-climate-as-driving-up-to-1600-kilometres-in-a-car-153523045.html

      (2) Nijdam D, Rood T, Westhoek H (2012) The price of protein: review of land use and carbon footprints from life cycle assessments of animal food products and their substitutes. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919212000942
      “1 kg of beef produces 9 to 129 CO2-e
      1 kg of lamb/mutton produces 10 to 150 CO2-e”

      [Using official average 2012-registered UK car emission figures, this makes 1 kg of lamb comparable to 82-1229 driven km, and using up-to-date methane GWP-20 figures, these figures become some three times higher, making 1 kg of lamb equivalent to up to 3687 driven km]

      (3) Food Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the US, Environmental Science & Technology (2008) http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es702969f
      “For the average American household, ‘buying local’ could achieve, at most, around 4−5% reduction in GHG emissions. Shifting less than 1 day per week’s consumption of red meat and/or dairy to other protein sources or a vegetable-based diet could have the same climate impact as buying all household food from local providers.
      A totally ‘localized’ diet reduces GHG emissions per household equivalent to 1600 km/yr driven. Shifting away from red meat and dairy toward chicken/fish/eggs, or a vegetable-based diet, reduces GHG emissions equivalent to 8590 km/yr or 13 000 km/yr respectively.’

      (4) The relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices. Energy Policy (2012) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421511010603
      “Taking the average GHG saving from six vegetarian or vegan dietary scenarios compared with the current UK-average diet gives a potential national GHG saving equivalent to a 50% reduction in current exhaust pipe emissions from the entire UK passenger car fleet”

      (5) Bryngelsson D et al (2016) How can the EU climate targets be met? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919216000129
      “Deep cuts, by 50% or more, in ruminant meat (beef and mutton) consumption is the only dietary change that with high certainty is unavoidable if the EU climate targets are to be met.”

      (6) Centre for Alternative Technology (2014) People Plate and Planet, http://www.zerocarbonbritain.org/images/pdfs/PPPR(OfW).pdf
      “Eliminating meat and dairy products from the UK diet entirely would bring about the greatest GHG emissions reductions – approximately of 43%, or 81 million-tonnes CO2-equivalent per UK population per year. This could be done in a way that would still supply the UK population with adequate kilocalories and protein and provide a good nutritional balance”.

      (7) Bryngelsson D, Hedenus F, Johansson D J A, Azar C and Wirsenius S (2017) How Do Dietary Choices Influence the Energy-System Cost of Stabilizing the Climate? Energies. http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/publication/249276-how-do-dietary-choices-influence-the-energy-system-cost-of-stabilizing-the-climate
      “A phase-out of ruminant products could substantially increase the emission space for CO2 by about 250 GtC, reducing the necessary pace of the energy system transition and cutting the net present value energy-system mitigation costs by 25%, for staying below 2° C”.

      (8) Springmann M, Godfray HCJ, Rayner M and Scarborough P (2016). Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change. PNAS http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/03/16/1523119113.full
      And: ‘Plant-based diets could save millions of lives and dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions’ https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201603_Plant_based_diets
      “Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050. The monetized value of the improvements in health would be comparable with, or exceed, the value of the environmental benefits”

      (9) Wellesley, L., Froggatt, A., Happer, C. (2015) Changing Climate, Changing Diets, Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption. Chatham House. https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/changing-climate-changing-diets
      “Meat is a major driver of climate change. Reducing consumption is critical. Public awareness is low and meat remains off the policy agenda.
      Animal production has significant repercussions on virtually all aspects of environmental well-being. The livestock sector is the leading cause of reduction of biodiversity. Per unit of protein, GHG emissions from beef production are around 150 times those of soy products”.

      (10) Bringezu et al (2014) Assessing Global Land Use: Balancing Consumption with Sustainable Supply. UNEP http://wedocs.unep.org/handle/20.500.11822/8861
      “A global food transition to less meat, or even a complete switch to plant-based protein food, would have a dramatic effect on land use with many other positive implications as well, like increased carbon uptake and substantial reductions of methane and nitrous oxide”.

      (11) Hallström E, Carlsson-Kanyama A and Börjesson P (2014) Effect of dietary change on greenhouse gas emissions and land use demand – The state of knowledge in 2014. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Sector http://lcafood2014.org/papers/99.pdf
      “14 peer-reviewed studies are analysed and 8 types of diets considered. Diets with zero animal-based food are best in terms both of land use demand and greenhouse gas emissions”.

      (12) Richard Waite and Brian Lipinski, Oct 2017, Two rules of thumb to slash your environmental impact. World Resources Institute. http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/10/two-rules-thumb-slash-environmental-impact-your-diet
      “Two rules to dramatically lower the environmental impact of your diet:
      * Eat fewer animal-based foods—especially beef and lamb.
      * Minimize food waste.”

    • 29Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Response Part 2

      (13) Tim Lang, Feb 2016 What would happen if everyone in the UK stopped eating meat https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/what-would-happen-if-everyone-in-the-uk-stopped-eating-meat
      “Cows and sheep are major sources of greenhouse gasses, and we’re using a lot of ‘hidden’ land for them. We’ve made animals not just competitors to us in terms of land use, but also major users of land, resources and indeed food. We have to dramatically reduce animal use in Britain.

      The good things for our diet are actually plants: fruits, vegetables, cereals. And there has been a catastrophic drop in the production of these in Britain. If we stopped eating meat we would have to reinvest and re-skill ourselves in horticulture. And we have to do that anyway, certainly with climate change. When I was a farmer in the uplands on the Pennines, 50 years or so ago, we’d experimented with growing crops in parts where people would say, “Oh, that’s sheep country.” You could grow swedes, turnips, brassicas and potatoes very easily and very well, and historically they did.

      We have to make a very dramatic change in approach very quickly. Industry cannot resolve this. It’s going to have to be consumer culture changes. As a public, we’re going to have to lead the movement towards discussion”.

      (14) Why livestock and the use of manure are unsustainable: : http://growbiointensive.org/FAQ/FAQ_Livestock.html
      “Livestock can fit into a biointensive system, but it usually takes a larger area than growing a vegan diet. Normally it takes about 40,000 sq ft of grazing land for 1 cow/steer (for milk/meat) or 2 goats (for milk/meat/wool), or 2 sheep (for milk/meat/wool). With Grow Biointensive and maximizing the edible calorie output in your diet design, one person’s complete balanced diet can be grown on about 4,000 sq ft—a much smaller area. In 2014, 90% of the world’s people only have access to about 4,500 sq ft of farmable land per person, if they leave an equal area in a wild state to protect plant and animal genetic diversity and the world’s ecosystems! If incorporating livestock, this becomes a challenge”.
      (Also: “Manures can be used for [compost, but] it is best for the fertility of the soil if it is not used at all”).

      (15) Wuerthner G, Crist E and Butler T eds. (2014). Keeping the wild – Against the domestication of the Earth.
      “A landscape grazed by livestock, which often consume the bulk of native plant production, suffers numerous negative consequences for native plants and animals. Native herbivores depend on the same plants that the cows or sheep are eating for food, and other animals depend on native vegetation for cover”.

      (16) Henri de Ruitera, Jennie I. Macdiarmid, Robin B. Matthews, Thomas Kastnerd, Lee R. Lyndf, Pete Smith (2017) Total global agricultural land footprint associated with UK food supply 1986–2011. Global Environmental Change. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378017301176
      “85% of the UK’s total land footprint is associated with meat and dairy production, but only 32% of total calories derive from livestock products. Reducing ruminant product consumption could free up land for other uses, including bio-energy production, forest regrowth, and biodiversity conservation”.

      (17) Environmental groups as climate deniers by George Wuerthner. The Wildlife News, May 2017 http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/05/23/environmental-groups-as-climate-deniers
      “Consumption of meat and dairy is one of the biggest contributors to GHG emissions but few organizations are willing to even discuss this problem, much less advocate for a diet change. Indeed, many groups advocate and promote animal farming, especially if it’s ’local’, as if locally produced GHG emissions are better than ones produced far away. Worse for the environment, many promote ‘grass fed’ beef and dairy as if that somehow negates the environmental impacts of livestock. Ironically, because consumption of grass and other “free range” forage is more difficult for rumen bacteria than converting higher quality forage like corn, silage, or soy into energy, grass-fed beef/dairy cows emit more methane over their lives than more intensively produced beef/dairy.

      Meat/dairy consumption, no matter what the source may be, is counter-productive if your goal is to reduce GHG emissions. But also nothing destroys more biodiversity than growing crops (for livestock feed) and grazing livestock. So the problem of livestock goes beyond climate change: The pollution of water from manure; the trampling of soils and riparian areas by cattle hooves; the removal of forage that would otherwise support native wildlife; the killing of predators to protect domestic animals. The litany of ecological impacts associated with livestock production is long and significant.

      It’s time for environmental/conservation groups to stop being climate deniers and begin to advocate for a change in our diets to help combat global climate change. One cannot be serious about climate change and still be a significant consumer of dairy and meat products”.

      (18) Stoll-Kleemann S and O’Riordan T (2015). The Sustainability Challenges of Our Meat and Dairy Diets. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00139157.2015.1025644
      “The evidence of social and ecological degradation linked to meat and dairy production is overwhelming.

      Diet is a function of habit, of social identity, of the history of personal relationships, and of the subtle manipulation of the advertising and food-linked industries over personal choices. What is particularly pernicious is the manner in which this manipulation is so pervasive and persuasive that it shapes values, behavior, and self-esteem. The consumer is anesthetized from the “wide and the long” repercussions of eating. In the context of these “dark forces,” efforts to raise diet-altering awareness over the wider social and ecological repercussions of livestock production for the most part have landed on stony social and moral ground. This conundrum is underscored by the tendency of researchers of global change not to change their own eating habits, so few provide the illumination of role models for colleagues and students.

      The smoking controversy took 45 years (initiated by massive denial lobbying and science brokering by the tobacco industry) to reach the stage where regulations were put in place to require smokers to inhale out of doors. The ultimate challenge of sustainability science is to grapple with these “dark forces” of interconnected self-replicating power and influence by bringing their moral and ecological dangers into the day-to-day public.”

    • 30Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Dave, Can’t find my response to Greg either so have now re-posted it (or rather just a draft, have lost edits that made improvements but don’t have time to go over). I’m also really short of time so may leave the conversation – I’ll see…. Am really happy if you read refs, and perhaps watch the last videos I sent, including the debate with pro-anti meat arguments… For me it’s all about information rather than opinions!

    • 31Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Hot air indeed!

      A shift to a plant-based diet quickly heals the digestive track and vegans can testify to you that they get on very well with beans, with no side effects. Listen to the doctor:

      “Beans have been christened the musical fruit, but could it just be a lot of hot air? A randomized controlled crossover study published last week, “Perceptions of flatulence from bean consumption among adults in 3 feeding studies,” concluded “People’s concerns about excessive flatulence from eating beans may be exaggerated.”

      Noting that “An increasing body of research and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks,” they started people on pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or vegetarian baked (navy) beans. During the first week, 35% reported increased flatulence but that fell to 15% by week three, 5% by week five, and 3% by week eight. Much of the bad rap for beans grew out of short-term studies in the 60’s that didn’t account for our body’s ability to adapt.

      Long-term, most people bulking up on high-fiber foods do not appear to have significantly increased problems with gas. In the beginning, though, “A little bit of extra flatulence,” reads the Harvard Health Letter, “could be an indication that you’re eating the way you should!” The buoyancy of floating stools from trapped gasses can in fact be seen as a sign of adequate fiber intake. The indigestible sugars in beans that make it down to our colon may even function as prebiotics to feed our good bacteria and make for a healthier colon”. (More here: https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/12/05/beans-and-gas-clearing-the-air/ )

      Read about the multiple advantages of a diet rich in beans here:

      “Loma Linda researchers have proposed swapping beef for beans. Producing equivalent amounts of protein from beans requires just a fraction of the resources needed to make beef. One study found that compared with beef, beans require just one-twentieth of land usage per unit of protein consumed. And when it comes to water, kidney beans require just a tenth of the water needed to produce beef. Even better, ditching the meat all together in favor of plant-based foods reduces an individual’s food-related water footprint by nearly 60 percent.

      As an added benefit, it turns out that what’s good for the planet is also good for our health. As a dietitian, beans are one of the superfoods I always recommend to my patients. Beans are packed with protein, but unlike animal products, they’re low in the fat, saturated fat and cholesterol linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight problems, dementia, and even some types of cancer.

      Beans are also packed with fiber, an important nutrient 97 percent of Americans fall short on. Fiber, which is only found in plant foods, can help control weight, lower cholesterol and even fight off cancer. Fiber also helps control blood glucose, which may be why studies show that beans could play a key role in stemming our growing type 2 diabetes epidemic.

      In addition to being versatile—take your pick from black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, navy, soy, and more—beans are also easy on the wallet. A pound of pinto beans runs for about $1.20, while a pound of lean ground beef now costs $5.70.

      Choosing more plant-based foods is an astonishingly simple solution to so many of our nation’s problems. As the mother of a toddler, I’m concerned. Unless something changes, our next generation—predicted to be the first to face a shorter life expectancy than their parents—is in trouble. Already, about a third of children today are overweight or obese, and a third will eventually develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes. By the time today’s kids reach adulthood, projections show that health care spending will account for a third of our GDP. On top of that, they face the ever-increasing threat of global warming, fading air quality, flooding, and all of the health problems that accompany these disasters.

      By simply incorporating more plant foods into our diets, we could exponentially find solutions for all of these problems without waiting for our leaders or policies to catch up with us. Our children’s health and the planet are worth it.” (More here: http://www.alternet.org/environment/how-you-can-help-save-planet-and-yourself-simply-substituting-beans-beef ).

      And read about the wonderful potentials for UK farmers of growing more beans here: https://www.robhopkins.net/2017/12/04/545/

    • 32Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      I wrote “The claim about HUGE grazed lands sequestration potentials”.

      Livestock guru Allan Savory (who made a few mistakes in his life, including organising the killing of 20,000 elephants – yes, 20,000 elephants – thinking they were to blame for overgrazing, then realised he was wrong!) has famously said in a highly popular video that holistic grazing could reverse climate change. And despite being clearly proved wrong again and again, he continues to have a vast amount of followers.

      Here are a few relevant studies (and of course the report ‘Grazed and Confused’ lists more than 300)

      (1) Nordborg M (2016) Holistic Management – A critical review of Allan Savory’s grazing method. EPOK – Centre for Organic Food and Farming https://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/centrb/epok/dokument/holisticmanagement_review.pdf
      “To date, no review study has concluded that holistic grazing is superior to conventional or continuous grazing. Some claims concerning holistic grazing are directly at odds with scientific knowledge, e.g., the causes of land degradation and the relationship between cattle and atmospheric methane concentrations.
      The idea that ruminant populations have historically been ‘very large’ appears to be pure speculation.
      It is likely that the emissions of methane outweigh any positive effects associated with increased soil carbon storage as a result of improved grazing management. The soil carbon storage potential does not exceed 0.8 tonnes of C per ha and year (according to an estimate based on very optimistic assumptions), thus less than 5% of the emissions of carbon since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Thus holistic grazing cannot reverse climate change”.

      (2) Carter J, et al (2014), Holistic Management: Misinformation on the Science of Grazed Ecosystems, International Journal of Biodiversity, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/163431/
      “Research indicates that not only does Holistic Management not produce results superior to conventional season-long grazing, but also that stocking rate, rest, and livestock exclusion represent the best mechanisms for restoring grassland productivity, ecological condition, and sustainability. Various studies indicate livestock grazing reduces biodiversity of native species and degrades riparian areas, with nearly all studies finding livestock exclusion to be the most effective, reliable means to restore degraded riparian areas. Claims of the benefits of HM or other grazing systems should be validated by quantitative, scientifically valid studies.

      Ecologically, the application of Holistic Management principles of trampling and intensive foraging are as detrimental to plants, soils, water storage, and plant productivity as are conventional grazing systems. Contrary to claims made that HM will reverse climate change, the scientific evidence is that global greenhouse gas emissions are vastly larger than the capacity of worldwide grasslands and deserts to store the carbon emitted each year”.

      (3) Briske DD, Ash AJ, Derner JD, Huntsinger L (2014) Commentary: A critical assessment of the policy endorsement for holistic management. Agricultural Systems. https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/1354/92.%20Briske%20et%20al%20%202014%20Agricultural%20Systems.pdf
      “The vast majority of experimental evidence does not support claims of enhanced ecological benefits in Intensive Rotational Grazing compared to other grazing strategies, including the capacity to increase storage of soil organic carbon”.

      (4) Briske DD, Bestelmeye BT, Brown JR, Fuhlendorf SD, Wayne Polley, H (2013) The Savory method cannot green deserts of reverse climate change. Rangelands. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270218921_The_Savory_Method_Can_Not_Green_Deserts_or_Reverse_Climate_Change

      (5) James McWilliams (2013) Slate Piece on Earth Day. http://james-mcwilliams.com/?p=3681
      “The best thing we can do to any ecosystem is leave it well alone. Back off, human! Removing domesticated animals from the planet is the best way we can do this. Livestock emit more GHG emissions than cars. They use more water than any other aspect of agriculture. They trample potentially healthy land into hardpan. They take up most of the globe’s agrictultural area. They are a menace to the environment and no amount of theorizing about how herds and predators once kept carbon-sequestering grasslands safe and healthy will rectify the reality that the reason those grasslands are no longer safe and healthy is because humans domesticated animals to eat them”.

      Rob, you seem to be showing much interest in soil carbon sequestration potentials, which always involve a lot of estimations for a large area because the conditions vary so much from one spot to another and from one moment to the next (and remain relatively short-term) when you told me you did not want the emissions from your farm measured because that involved too many estimations! It is not difficult to measure or accurately estimate methane emissions from cattle – there are various techniques for that, including the very accurate respiration chamber. It’s a very different matter for the soil on hundreds of acres! On Tolhurst’s farm I imagine they could take a fair number of very real samples and have them analysed, as well as presumably account for the density of trees planted. And the difference between Tolhurst and yourself, in this case, is that Tolly is not just happy but very keen to have measurements, estimations and any other types of studies undertaken on his farm – which makes me more inclined to trust results obtained there.

    • 33Greg Hickin December 5th, 2017

      Well Anne again you quote Monbiots numbers while completely ignoring the later work done by the same researchers using the same model which I posted in the comment. So I’ll post it AGAIN.
      “18 months later the same author, Professor Gareth Edwards-Jones, published a much larger more comprehensive study of 20 upland farms in the Cambrian Mountains. This was published as a CCW policy research report in September 2010. This gives quite a different – in some cases completely polar opposite, picture to the one George has painted.

      On three of the 20 farms where the study took place, the production of cattle and sheep caused a net sequestration of Carbon. Yes, that’s right. Producing lamb and beef can actually lead to the storage of Carbon.”
      https://anewnatureblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/the-answer-lies-in-the-soil/

      Whole farms can be net carbon sinks. Which makes the ghg emissions argument redundant. It’s not the cow it’s the how.
      As for the fcrn grazed and confused report it makes some valid points about at which point the carbon sequestration in grasslands hits an equilibrium between emissions and sequestration but not having read all of it I can only make a few critiques.

      1). Her carbon accounting is based on research looking at degraded soils, so she’s under accounting for the amount of carbon soil can contain. This goes to the soil science since when soil health is improves and fungi is increased, carbon capture increases and more of that carbon is retained
      2). She’s under accounting again for the transition of shallow rooted annuals to long rooted perennials. Here more carbon can be captured deeper into the soil
      3). She’s under accounting for the amount of land that has been degraded.
      This means, that for many places and large areas of land it will take considerable amount of time to reach equilibrium. A 75 to 125 year timeline where carbon is being drawn down affords more time to transition off of the true culprit of emissions, and that’s fossil fuels. Remember too ruminants are recycling current carbon, whereas fossil fuel are pumping carbon that was last in the atmosphere 400 million years ago what Garnett also fails to recognize is that you can build more soil. And that additional soil can hold more carbon. Instead of building new soil, we’re rapidly losing soil. If you rely on geological processes alone, it takes hundreds of years to increase top soil from the bottom up. But if you use well managed ruminants you can rebuild soil organic matter very quickly for the top down. Lands that were once 8% organic matter are now 1% organic matter or less. Not only can you rebuild that lost 7% but you can exceed it…to 10, 12, 14%. according to Dr. Kris Nichols and other more progressive thinking soil scientists .
      4)In Garnett’s report there is no mention of soil biology, mycorhizal fungi or glomalin it also doesn’t reference any of the latest research.

      http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.refs

      Now I haven’t got time to counter every article you’ve posted so I’ll just use the first one.
      “A recent Austrian and Dutch study shows that the production of one kilogram of beef in Brazil produces 335 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2), which corresponds roughly to the emissions of driving an average European car for more than 1600 kilometres. Even Dutch beef still amounts to 22 kilogram CO2 or 111 kilometres in a car.”

      Now that larger number is for Brazilian beef and no one is going to advocate for clearing rainforest for cattle but as always there is a false equivalence here. You can’t use a full life cycle analysis of Beef and then compare it just tail pipe emissions. It’s like me building a 20000 tonnes lead lined nuclear powered cow made from aluminium, steel and concrete that shits nuclear waste and pisses acid rain and belches a combination of diesel and petrol exhaust and then me pointing at a cow in a field and saying ” mine’s better for the environment because that one burps methane ” .
      It’s an apple for basketball comparison and is readily used by most vegans , it’s false.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/7509978/UN-admits-flaw-in-report-on-meat-and-climate-change.html

      Frankly I rather spend my time encouraging the 98% of people who eat meat to support Agroecological farmers and draw down that excess carbon put into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
      Happy world soils day!
      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/opinion/sunday/soil-power-the-dirty-way-to-a-green-planet.html?referer=https://t.co/lZbMG3KO2q

    • 34Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 5th, 2017

      “The ‘fleet of cars’ analogy might be a stretch… or not, depending on figures used. Lamb and mutton are mostly shown to be even worse than beef for the climate, and the analogy of a fleet of cars certainly holds true for a cow. We’ve already seen Monbiot’s calculation of 1 kg of lamb protein corresponding to 749 kg CO2-e – more than a transatlantic flight.”

      Annie, I challenge you to complete an experiment based upon this statement. We’ll each spend a day in a garage-sized room. In my room I will be joined by a (live) sheep, a young lamb as you claim it will be emitting most, and in yours will be a running lawn mower (I don’t think we’d fit a fleet of cars in a garage and Tolly uses a lawn mower instead of sheep so it seems a fair comparison). After 12 hours we’ll get a Doctor to check out the health effects on each of us. Are you up for that?

    • 35Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 5th, 2017

      “Livestock guru Allan Savory (who made a few mistakes in his life, including organising the killing of 20,000 elephants – yes, 20,000 elephants – thinking they were to blame for overgrazing, then realised he was wrong!)”

      Surely you would have supported that cull, given that in doing so he saved 10,000 tonnes of methane going into the atmosphere every year?

    • 36Annie Leymarie December 5th, 2017

      Greg, I’d love to have more time to dwell here but really don’t ! I re-quoted Monbiot because I haven’t seen him make any correction – he did say that these were high figures and there is indeed a wide range, as you can see from all the other studies I have sent (and I could send more, time allowing). He also explained that he checked with the researcher who confirmed the data was correct. Monbiot is in close contact with Miles King (I follow both), who writes on the post you mention that “he holds George in very high regard”. Monbiot keeps looking at the evidence and certainly hasn’t recently changed his mind about the impacts of ruminants, on the contrary he is becoming increasing radical (viz his recent article “good-bye and good riddance to livestock farming”).

      There is one interesting comment under Miles’ post. It says:
      “Not sure I fully follow your distinctions between “good” and “bad” uplands, but having looked at the 2009 paper there is a recognition that “case study farm 2” is very different from the other, its extensive production system appearing to have a very high carbon footprint per kg of lamb produced:
      “Most of the emissions arise from the organic soil, and are outside the control of the farmer. In addition this farm has adopted much of the environmental advice given to farmers over the last 25 years. The low stocking rate is perhaps the most obvious indicator of this. However, when viewed from the perspective of a carbon footprint this low stocking rate relates to low production efficiency, which then delivers high GHG emissions per functional unit. THIS HIGHLIGHTS THE POTENTIAL CONFLICT BETWEEN CARBON EFFICIENCIES AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL OBJECTIVES”.
      Hmmm – probably why I steer clear of discussions about GHG, climate change and sloppy peat. The bottom line for me is that I don’t eat sheep meat anyway, nor grouse, and so the sheepwrecked moorland immediately above my house has nothing to offer me, and especially this morning when I had a stream running through my garden because of surface run off!
      I noticed someone had hash tagged their comment on George’s article with “#justlostallcredibility”. I’m afraid, apart from the usual loonies, this type of judgement has been creeping into the comments on his recent articles. (…)”

      I have today posted a number of other ecologists’ opinions on soil carbon sequestration in a response to Rob on this thread. Please go and have a look!

      There are many more, such as this post from the Sierra Club, well worth a read:
      Christopher Ketcham in Sierra, Feb 2017. Allan Savory’s Holistic Management theory falls short on science
      https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2017-2-march-april/feature/allan-savory-says-more-cows-land-will-reverse-climate-change.

      And this one:
      Mike Hudak, 2015 Claims that Livestock Grazing Enhances Soil Sequestration of Atmospheric Carbon
      are Outweighed by Methane Emissions from Enteric Fermentation: A Closer Look at Franzluebbers and Stuedemann (2009) http://mikehudak.com/Articles/FranzluebbersAndStuedemannCritique.html

      In addition, several recent studies have shown that we cannot rely on soil carbon sequestration potentials:

      Yuje He et al (2016) Radiocarbon constraints imply reduced carbon uptake by soils during the 21st century. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4273
      “Soil is the largest terrestrial carbon reservoir and may influence the sign and magnitude of carbon cycle–climate feedbacks. Many Earth system models (ESMs) estimate a significant soil carbon sink by 2100, yet the underlying carbon dynamics determining this response have not been systematically tested against observations.
      We used Carbon 14 data from 157 globally distributed soil profiles sampled to 1-meter depth to show that ESMs underestimated the mean age of soil carbon by a factor of more than six. Consequently, ESMs overestimated the carbon sequestration potential of soils by a factor of nearly two.”

      And:
      Griscom B W et al (2017). Natural Climate Solutions. PNAS. http://www.pnas.org/content/114/44/11645.abstract
      “Feedbacks from climate change on terrestrial carbon stocks are uncertain. Increases in temperature, drought, fire, and pest outbreaks could negatively impact photosynthesis and carbon storage, while CO2 fertilization has positive effects. Unchecked climate change could reverse terrestrial carbon sinks by midcentury and erode the long-term climate benefits of natural carbon solutions. Thus, climate change puts terrestrial carbon stocks at risk”

      The ‘Grazed and Confused’ report has been a long-term project by more than 20 scientists and several organisations, who have examined a vast quantity of evidence over several years. It’s not just one author as you imply when you write ‘She’…

      I’ve had a look at the 2016 study by Teague et al. It’s the usual great vagueness, and wishful thinking. Teague works for the Savory Institute and has been criticised lots of times by ecologists, including for not matching his data – when he has some – with his conclusions. So for instance:

      David D. Briske, Brandon T. Bestelmeyer and Joel R. Brown. (2014) “Savory’s Unsubstantiated Claims Should Not Be Confused With Multipaddock Grazing.” Rangelands 36:1, 39–42. 1-Feb-2014, Page 40
      “The claims that Mr Savory stated in the TED video are even unsupported by the data of Teague and colleagues that is frequently referenced by Savory advocates. These data indicate that 1) soils under multipaddock rotation had similar soil carbon stocks, runoff rates, sediment loss rates, and infiltration rates compared to ungrazed rangeland and 2) the amount of bare ground and peak standing crop biomass were not statistically distinguishable between multipaddock rotation and ungrazed rangeland. These comparative responses indicate that long-term ungrazed rangeland was not degrading, was not impaired with regard to infiltration and runoff, and stored the same amounts of carbon as rangelands that were managed with what is presumably the Savory method”. Etc etc.

      And:

      Nordborg M (2016) Holistic Management – A critical review of Allan Savory’s grazing method. EPOK – Centre for Organic Food and Farming https://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/centrb/epok/dokument/holisticmanagement_review.pdf
      Re Teague et al. (2011): the latter found no difference in standing crop biomass between holistic pastures and land that was not grazed at all.
      Re Teague et al. (2013): The hypothesis that “holistic grazing can be superior to continuous grazing when it is carried out to achieve as good results as possible at the farm level” is problematic since it is difficult to refute and hard to test.
      Re Teague et al (2016), The authors fail to mention 1) the commercial, spatial, and institutional feasibility of such dramatically different production systems, and 2) the reliability and widespread applicability of the few studies on carbon sequestration through special grazing management on which their work is based.

      I’ve had a look at New York Times article you recommend: It says “Some scientists remain skeptical of regenerative agriculture, arguing that its impact will be small or will work only with certain soils. It also faces significant obstacles, such as a scarcity of research funding”. The problem will not getting funding is that there is no serious research to fund!

      Of course I agree that it is essential to rebuild soils, that enriching soils and capturing carbon tend to go together and that the topic is important. But so many experts have now shown that the claim that ‘regenerative’ management could offset all the problems caused by livestock is, on the whole, pure fantasy.

      Oh and the 2010 Telegraph article: in response to that I could send a full encyclopedia!

    • 37Dave Darby December 5th, 2017

      So to recap so far, I listed the things that I’d like to find out about:

      1. which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?

      2. methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?

      3. the land issue. If we can produce more food from the same amount of land by growing plants, then we can free up more land to revert to nature (of course whether it actually will revert to nature is a political question, but we’re just talking theoretically at the moment). What are the implications of that as regards climate change and biodiversity (not forgetting the additional resources that can be harvested from woodland)?

      4. Our focus is both sustainability and democracy, and they’re closely linked. We favour an economy of small businesses, self-employment, co-operatives and commons, rather than one dominated by large corporations with undue political influence and an agenda of perpetual growth and wealth concentration. So we’d like to see more independent smallholdings (as well as other types of businesses in the food production / distribution sector). Does having some animals on their smallholdings make their business more financially viable? If so, then it’s something we need to take into consideration.

      And I did ask for links to sources of information on this, so I’m not complaining, but so far there are 56 links in the comments. If, say, it takes on average, half an hour to do justice to an article / study / video, then I’ve got 23 hours of material to plough through. I can do that, but obviously I’m not going to get anywhere for a while. Could people maybe just send through their best link on any or all of the questions above? But just one each? Meanwhile I’ll try to look at as many of the links posted as possible.

    • 38Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 5th, 2017

      How come you’re too ‘short of time’ to respond to the simplest of questions yet manage to find time to regurgitate texts? (though I acknowledge that you haven’t read them all before posting, due to the glaring errors such as the UK fruit & veg imports)

    • 39Dave Darby December 5th, 2017

      Annie,

      1. ‘Once again, whatever happened before this man-made climate change is totally irrelevant to our current situation. Any added emission…. etc.’

      and

      ‘“At what scale do the greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, become a problem?” At any scale!…. etc.’

      You really don’t understand what I’m trying to say here, so I’ll try one more time, and if you still don’t get it, I’m going to have to just move on. But – I’m agreeing with you, and I’m disagreeing with Rob, until and unless it’s shown that I’m wrong. Too much meat is produced and consumed, so let’s massively reduce it. OK so far? I’m on your side on this one, until convinced otherwise.

      So – what do we reduce it to? You say to zero. But I’m saying that there have always been wild animals, munching away on seedlings (etc.) and creating methane. If the number of animals on farms is the same as the animals that used to be wild, on the same land, that can’t possibly be unsustainable, can it? Still with me? Maybe you aren’t, because you talked about more methane being produced per animal on farms, because they’re mostly young animals, as though wild animals don’t breed – every year. I don’t buy that argument – at all, but even if I did, let’s reduce the number of farm animals a bit more, until it’s in equilibrium – ie. the same amount of methane (CO2, NO etc.) is being released by animals as used to be released before there was agriculture. All I’m doing is trying to find a baseline, for a number of animals on farms that is sustainable. There has to be a number, because if there isn’t, then wild herbivores are unsustainable, which is patent nonsense. Still with me?

      2. ‘you still haven’t shown me any of the studies which you claim “refute that eating a lot of meat can cause health problems’

      Not on this thread. I’ve got too many links already, looking at carbon sequestration and methane emissions. Plus I’m not talking about eating a lot of meat. My current position is that people should eat a lot less meat – perhaps twice a month. Can we move on from this one too, so that we can focus on the main question at the top of this article? I’m happy for you to write a blog article for us on the health benefits of not eating meat – but later.

      3. ‘Animals are far less efficient at fertilising than using the grass directly and similarly for providing food – the space is much better used without them. ‘

      You’re not listening on this point either. It’s not about how good their fertiliser is – that’s just a side-bonus to the fact that more food can be produced from orchard land if you graze animals underneath the trees, and smallholders can get more vital income. Never mind their emissions – see 1. above. Plus the impact of mowers is not just the fuels burnt. It’s the mines that produced their metals, the factories that smelt the metals, the trucks that deliver the mowers, the shops that sell the mowers, the electricity used in all parts of the process, the voltage lost in transmission – and so on. Plus the time required to do the mowing. Animals do it for you.

      4. ‘“Which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?” Forest, of course, by a very, very long way!’

      This is more like it. Can you give me your best link on that? Otherwise I have to trawl through 56 links, which will take an awfully long time.

      5. ‘and we still haven’t found any more reliable way of storing CO2’

      Cut the trees down, build houses with them, plant more trees. I’m with you on this one too.

      6. ‘“Methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?” Yes absolutely, overall yes it does (and nitrous oxide)! Dave, please read the references sent – to Greg here but also on the previous thread to John.’

      Great again – and again, could you filter for me, and send me your best link, because if you include the previous thread as well, there are well over 100 links to plough through.

      7. ‘It’s not my opinion that matters, is for valid information to be aired and shared (peer-reviewed studies, non-biased sources, etc).’

      and

      ‘A livestock farmer will not be keen to accept information that is highly inconvenient to him or her!’

      I agree with those points.

      8. ‘I am totally prepared to change my opinion if the evidence demands it.’

      Me too. And at the moment I agree with you that we have to reduce meat consumption, and to me, it seems clear that forest sequesters more carbon than grassland (although ‘seems clear’ doesn’t cut it – I need to look at the evidence). Plus I love trees – they provide habitat (claims that grassland contains more biodiversity than woodland haven’t convinced me either, so again, I need to look at the evidence), and they can provide a resource – firewood, timber for building and green woodworking, charcoal, wild food, and pork if you run pigs in them.

      Where I disagree with you is that the ideal number of animals on farms is zero, because before farms, there were wild herbivores, and in some places, enormous herds of ruminant herbivores, that have long since been wiped out.

      I want to find the number of animals on farms at which it becomes unsustainable. I’m going to have to roll my sleeves up and plough through those links, and maybe try to group them into the (entirely contradictory, I’m sure) results they’ve come up with.

      But please, everyone, if you could – a) post your best link that answers the questions below, and b) don’t post any new links.

      1. which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?
      2. methane from livestock – does it override the carbon sequestration of grassland?
      3. if we can produce more food from the same amount of land by growing plants, then we could (as long as the will is there) free up more land to revert to nature. What are the implications of that as regards climate change and biodiversity (not forgetting the additional resources that can be harvested from woodland)?
      4. Does having some animals on smallholdings make them more financially viable?

    • 40Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 6th, 2017

      1. Well I don’t have a specific link that answers your question (other than the one I posted previously, which noone has passed comment on) but here are some figures on UK grassland carbon; http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/articles/2016/huge-carbon-stores-under-grasslands-discovered/ (2,000,000,000 us ton)

      “They found 60 per cent of the UK’s total soil carbon stored in grasslands – which cover around a third of UK land surface – is between 30cm and 1 metres deep, and also that this deep carbon is sensitive to the way land has been farmed.”

      2000000000 us ton = 1814369480 tonnes

      Here are some more figures provided by the forestry commission for carbon stored in our forests; https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-7m8fge (150,000,000 tonnes)

      UK Forest area; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/datablog/2009/sep/02/total-forest-area-by-country (2,845,000 hectares)

      UK Land area; http://world.bymap.org/LandArea.html 241,930 km2 = 24,193,000 hectares

      24,193,000 x 0.33 = 7,983,690 hectares of grassland

      2bn t / 7983690 = 250.51 t/ha in grasslands

      150m t / 2845000 ha = 52.72 t/ha in forests

    • 41Annie Leymarie December 6th, 2017

      Dave, I shall gallop through this then must quit for now, or probably for good.. Too many other things to do!

      How do you define sustainable? That can last? We’re on a course for a 3.2° C increase (conservative estimate – and all the recent estimates have been exceeded) within the next generation – a complete change of conditions for life on this planet, unbearable for most humans and animals. In this current scenario, nothing whatsoever is sustainable for our grand-children! Everything will change dramatically.

      How can we compare the land and its inhabitants now and pre-agriculture? At the end of this comment I quote an expert (M Nordborg) who answers your question much better than I can Just in my own lifetime human population has tripled and wildlife population has a lot more than halved. The sixth mass extinction (or biological annihilation) is happening at breath-taking speed. Meanwhile livestock population is doubling up twice as fast as human population. And no, farm animals are not like wild animals. Look at the picture of the cows on your website, with their immense udders – nothing like a wild animal and neither are their methane emissions!

      I understand that it’s difficult to envisage huge changes in our food production and consumption habits. But either we make changes fast or we’re out – and changing our food habits is probably one of the easiest things we can do! I’m not saying ‘zero livestock’ but as few as possible! Apart from tradition and profit for farmers – which I grant you, is a big one. – there just aren’t justifications for them! At least not here in England. None of them holds ground. Even profit. Look at the sudden rush in investments in all kinds of fake meat, look at how more and more millenials are turning vegan. Especially with Brexit, I truly believe that there is fantastic potential for plant crops: fruit, berries, all kinds of grains, a wide range of vegs, nuts, edible seeds, mushroom etc to be produced here.

      What else do you think we need livestock for? Wool? We could use hair from humans, dogs and cats, currently going to the landfill, for instance, or plenty of plant fibres! Leather? We’re already making ‘it’ from various waste plant material: banana skins, non-edible mushroom, pineapple skins, etc. If you don’t want to mow your orchard, scythe it! Grow camomile instead of grass! You only need narrow paths and can plant companion nitrogen-fixing plants right to the base of trees as soon as they are a few years old. Or instead of the usual pets, keep a few miniature ponies or donkeys (they’re not ruminants). Can we not use our imagination? A nice friend of mine is Rob Hopkins and I love his latest blog post – quite relevant to our enquiries, with farmers discovering that they can bypass livestock to turn feed into food. It’s here: https://www.robhopkins.net/2017/12/04/545/.

      You want simple answers but some of your questions can’t have them. You write about equilibrium but it’s never static, always a wild dance on Earth and surely now more so now than ever. Read about the Gaia theory! (e.g. https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/learning-resources/gaia-and-climate-change).

      “More food can be produced from orchard land if you graze animals underneath the trees”. No! You are removing resources from the land. I have a certificate from a two-week vegan permaculture course when we focused a lot on an orchard with no animals. It was more like a forest garden, full of layers of edible plants all around, producing far, far more than would have done with livestock (and I also co-created two forest gardens, again with no livestock). I’d love you to read this article. It’s relevant and at some point explains well why livestock farming has built-in unsustainability: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2017-2-march-april/feature/allan-savory-says-more-cows-land-will-reverse-climate-change

      “Which sequesters most carbon – grazed grassland or forest?” It’s definitely forests. Here you go, two of my friends can explain here:
      http://www.compassionatespirit.com/wpblog/2016/03/08/the-lifestyle-carbon-dividend-questions-and-answers/

      I’m so glad you love trees too. Without livestock, think of the millions we could plant, storing carbon and hosting biodiversity!

      Re sequestration: I’ve sent yet more links to others but you’ll get a good idea if you read the link given above (Sierra Club), or the one below after the quote

      “There were enormous herds of ruminant herbivores” You too have been listening to Savory and co!!
      Here’s the truth:

      “The idea that ruminant populations have historically been ‘very large’ appears to be pure speculation. Available estimates indicate that the global population of wild ruminants has decreased during the past 500 years, but if both domestic and wild ruminants are considered (cattle, buffaloes, horses and wild ruminants), the population has increased by more than a factor 6 during the past 500 years. During the same period, the number of cattle alone increased by more than a factor of 20. (…) LASSEY 92007) SHOWED THAT THE INCREASING CONCENTRATION OF METHANE IN THE ATMOSPHERE CAN LARGELY BE ATTRIBUTED T THE WORLD’S INCREASING LIVESTOCK POPULATINO. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation of cattle are at least 15 times higher than methane emissions from the global population of wild ruminants (own estimate based on IPCC, 2013,pp. 507 and Crutzen et al. 1986).
      (…) The global population of domestic ruminant livestock currently exceeds 3.8 billion animals, of which 1.5 billion cattle, and 2.3 billion sheep, goats, horses and buffaloes (FAOSTAT). By comparison, in 1900, there were around 1.4 billion livestock animals (cattle, sheep, goats, horses and buffaloes, according to the HYDE database). The global population of cattle, buffaloes and horses in the Middle Ages (around year 1500) has been estimated to 130 million animals, based on Subak (1994), no data are available for sheep and goats. Concerning wild ruminants, the global population in present times has been estimated to 75 million animals (Hackmann & Spain, 2010). In historic times, the population in North America pre-European settlement (Hristov, 2012), and in Africa around the year 1500 (elephant, wildebeest and giraffe, based on Subak, 1994) has been estimated to 165 million animals in total. These estimates suggest that the global population of large ruminants (cattle, buffaloes, horses and wild ruminants combined) increased by more than a factor 6 during the past 500 years. During the same period, the number of cattle alone increased by more than a factor of 20. At present, the global population of domestic ruminants is approximately 50 times larger than the global population of wild ruminants.”

      From: Nordborg M (2016) Holistic Management – A critical review of Allan Savory’s grazing method. EPOK – Centre for Organic Food and Farming https://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/centrb/epok/dokument/holisticmanagement_review.pdf

      Someone else who knows a lot about historical and current wildlife population is Vaclav Smil: Planet of the Cows, IEEE Spectrum, March 2017 http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/environment/planet-of-the-cows

      And if you haven’t yet, read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – that too has plenty of relevant facts on this…

      “if we can produce more food from the same amount of land by growing plants, then we could (as long as the will is there) free up more land to revert to nature. What are the implications of that as regards climate change and biodiversity (not forgetting the additional resources that can be harvested from woodland): Implications are EXCELLENT! This is the plan! Eureka! You get it! Best for us, best for the climate, best for biodiversity, all round best! The will is there, let’s do it! 

    • 42Dave Darby December 6th, 2017

      I’m going to come back to all your points later Annie, and compare your links (please, only the ones I’ve asked for – it’s overwhelming), but just for now I want to test whether you’re really arguing in favour of just sustainability (which I’m sure you are), or also from a position that it’s wrong to kill animals – which is not what I’m asking.

      You say: ‘keep a few miniature ponies or donkeys (they’re not ruminants)’, which completely contradicts everything you said about forest gardens etc. But, instead of keeping ponies or donkeys, which will in effect be pets, and die of old age, which is the equivalent of raising a crop and then letting it rot – how about keeping pigs (which aren’t ruminants either) in orchards, but then eating them?

    • 43John Harrison December 6th, 2017

      Most scientists agree, I think, that the rise in CO2 started with the industrial revolution. At that time Britain had a lot of sheep and quite a few cows as well. I really think this endless debate over cow farts is a red herring. The global problem is caused by burning fossil fuels.
      Carbon sequestration through pasture management could potentially make a realistic contribution but the bulk of modern agriculture is based on asset stripping the land to maximise short term gains. Sustainable regenerative agriculture doesn’t just raise animals for profit, it uses them as part of the system. Grazing the pasture down with sheep and cattle, following on with poultry has been shown to result in better quality of pasture and an increase in topsoil depth.
      Managed properly (that’s the critical phrase) livestock are not just sustainable but positive.

    • 44Rosewood Farm's Rob December 6th, 2017

      I think it’s blatantly clear where Annie is coming from, she’s an abolitionist pretending that she cares about the environment. Even her major points contradict eachother in the same paragraph;

      “Apart from tradition and profit for farmers – which I grant you, is a big one. – there just aren’t justifications for them! At least not here in England. None of them holds ground. Even profit.”

      On the one hand she claims we’re making big profits, and then back-tracks and says we aren’t.

      It’s just like her saying that meat eating is making us obese despite it containing fewer calories than plants.

      Pastoralism is declining partly through a lack of profits and partly because of higher profits in the processed food industry (also many legislative changes which are gradually pushing us towards a less self-reliant, more consumerist society). I’ve said ‘more meat’ but also ‘fed on biodiverse pastures’. I’m not interested in promoting meat (or veg) that is not adding positively to either food waste, soil regeneration or biodiversity.

      If ever you’re in Yorkshire, Dave, you’re welcome to visit us in the Lower Derwent Valley and see the effect of changes on the landscape first hand.

    • 45Annie Leymarie December 6th, 2017

      Very fast – am super busy

      Yet another report published this week, involving many scientists from 130 science organisations, makes it very clear that agricultural/ecological sustainability and human health are entangled.

      For now am just reading an announcement about it on a farming/livestock website, so not the best source for objectivity, but it nonetheless stresses that:
      . “A decrease in the consumption of animal protein could be important for both health and the environment.
      . The authors call for policy-makers to tackle the perverse price incentives to consume high-calorie diets and to introduce new incentives for affordable nutrition.
      . More clarity is needed about how to measure sustainability related to consumption of healthy diets.”
      (https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/europe-will-need-to-change-its-diet-to-address-climate-change-and-health-report-36376960.html )

      Re your other comments: Sorry but I can’t spoon feed information. I am already doing my very best to short-list just some refs among many more, and to extract the most important sentence each time. As I have said many times, my main mission is to fight prevailing misinformation, which we are inundated in. So I have to show that correct information is abundant too, if one cares to look (and given time, I could provide perhaps better links but this has been time-consuming enough)!

      You are (presumably?) paid to lead or take part in an organisation promoting and informing on low impact living. You should be the one informing me – poor individual with just curiosity for these issues (and writing in a foreign language – I am French)! I got involved in a very long debate with Rob because I just saw, in passing through all the info I get every day, that a low-impact-living organisation was saying they were keen to promote a large beef farm encouraging its customers – and the whole world – to eat more meat. It shocked me!

      You haven’t answered my question about your definition of sustainability – a now-meaningless word that every industry uses these days to justify absolutely anything. What do YOU mean by it?

      Re killing: I have also already explained that ethical enquiries need to be based on a foundation of clear facts: Nazis decided to kill Jews because they were ‘inferior’, just as we had enslaved Africans because they were ‘inferior’. It took a lot of courageous people to fight such misinformation and change the culture. Ethical and socio-economic issues are intertwined. We can’t oversimplify the field because it suits the conclusions we want to reach and then claim to have made a thorough enquiry!

      Anyway – please explain where I am contradicting myself about ponies or donkeys?

      Mostly because they are fed meat, our dogs and cats have a huge eco-footprint.

      See for instance:
      “In the US, dogs and cats consume about 19% of the amount of dietary energy that humans do and 33% of the animal-derived energy. They produce about 30%, by mass, as much faeces as Americans and through their diet, constitute about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides”.
      Gregory S. Okin (2017) Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLOS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

      Or:
      “If Americans’ 163 million Fidos and Felixes constituted a separate country, their fluffy nation would rank fifth in global meat consumption, behind only Russia, Brazil, the United States and China. And it all has to go somewhere — America’s pets produce about 5.1 million tons of feces in a year, as much as 90 million Americans”.
      (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-truth-about-cats-and-dogs-environmental-impact)

      So by replacing some dogs and cats with some (preferably small) non-ruminant herbivores, you shrink that impact!

      Ponies versus pigs: Pigs don’t graze so they won’t be mowing your orchard but making a right mess but still, let’s pretend they do, or that they are a new magical breed of non-methane-emitting sheep: It is precisely because pigs are removed to be eaten that livestock farming is such a damaging extractive industry: each time you remove an animal to eat it you take a big chunk of the local ecological resources and use a small amount to feed yourself but waste far more – adding more greenhouse gases and pollution in the process. Rob didn’t like the fact I quoted him writing that “most UK offal now goes to China, although an awful lot is also incinerated, as it isn’t worth removing” but he never explained what he and his slaughterhouse do with the vast quantities of offals, carcarsses, hides, hooves, horns (though most cattle have their buds/horns removed) etc. (to be honest, at this point I’m not interested in his input. His last recent comment to me here showed that he hadn’t yet understood that the major methane emissions are from ruminants rather than other herbivores, so I’m done debating).

      So: your pig carcass is likely to be dealt with at a slaughterhouse (if only because of Health and Safety rules) and end up in an incinerator. Then you start again with another pig, and another, and another, and another…

      If instead of say, some 60 or more pigs/sheep devouring the environment (because for profit you have to make them grow fast and kill them young) you keep one miniature poney for 30 years, then bury it in the orchard (which I believe you can, as you would a dog, since it hasn’t been butchered), it has behaved as a wild animal – being fed from the local ecology and then returned to it, whilst fulfilling its function of providing much psychological and physical wellbeing to humans around him (it’s well proven that companion animals are good for our health) whilst mowing your orchard if you like the look of a well-mowed orchard – with little emissions to be too worried about!

      Pigs in woodland: I’d much rather have large areas of more genuine wilderness and some wild boars (with possible restricted hunting for those who really really can’t do without ‘real’ meat, now that fake meat is becoming readily available, with a high price to pay for that hunting). Pigs’ emissions are much smaller than ruminants but still high. I also keep having to bring in the health issues, whether you like or not, because they are so relevant! If profit is such a key factor (and I don’t deny it is!) would you agree to farmers growing poppies in greenhouses and supplying heroin? I don’t really want an answer (it’s clearly illegal) but more reflection. Most pork ends up as ham, bacon and sausages and processed meat is in the same category as tobacco as carcinogen, i.e. the top category (+ plenty of other risk factors). This just cannot be ignored. We can’t sell packets of cigarettes saying ‘please smoke two ciggies a week at most’ so we can’t promote and sell meat with a warning that it should be consumed no more than twice a month – even if that’s the strategy you’re personally happy with and believe is safe (quite debatable).

      PS I may sound harsh sometimes, as I’m rushing, but it’s been a delight debating with you compared to previous interlocutors. A bow to you for keeping an open mind!

    • 46Annie Leymarie December 6th, 2017

      About past megafauna, also this:

      “According to Prof. Anthony Barnosky, a paleo-biologist from UC Berkeley, the biomass of ALL the wild megafauna from 10K-100K years ago was 200 Million metric tons (Mt). Today, there are 7.4 billion humans, each weighing an average of 68 kgs, constituting a biomass of 500Mt for our one species alone, while the total biomass of ALL wild megafauna has been decimated to less than 40Mt. Clearly, the human population is too much for the Earth to support on a long-term basis. In addition, we are extracting almost FIVE times as much food for our domestic animals as we eat ourselves”.
      Sailesh Rao in Climate Healers http://www.climatehealers.org/blog/

      And I meant to extract one sentence from a previous ref I sent:
      “On average, native forests sequester more than ten times as much carbon per unit area compared to grasslands or pasture lands.”

    • 47Dave Darby December 6th, 2017

      ‘PS I may sound harsh sometimes, as I’m rushing, but it’s been a delight debating with you compared to previous interlocutors. A bow to you for keeping an open mind!’

      Annie – the same to you. We’re just trying to get to the bottom of things. Well, I am. And any friend of Larch is a friend of mine – seriously. But I wish you’d listen – I mean that in the nicest possible way. I started this new thread because the old one became overwhelmed. Now you’re overwhelming this one with information and links. Let’s debate, openly, rather than throw links at each other.

      I’m still getting round to your previous post.

    • 48Dave Darby December 6th, 2017

      And actually, Rob and Annie. There’s no need to get personal with each other. To each of you I’d say there’s absolutely no doubt that the other one is coming from a good place. I’ve never been more certain of anything. I really want to thank you both for bringing expertise to this. It’s a challenge to narrow things down. I wish I could up the pace a bit, but I’ve got other challenges, that are pulling at me. But this is really valuable stuff.

    • 49Rosewood Farm's Rob December 6th, 2017

      “I got involved in a very long debate with Rob because I just saw, in passing through all the info I get every day, that a low-impact-living organisation was saying they were keen to promote a large beef farm encouraging its customers – and the whole world – to eat more meat. It shocked me!”

      Can I just point out that Rosewood is far, far away from a “a large beef farm” – I think perhaps your biggest mistake is to not realise what you are speaking out against.

    • 50Rosewood Farm's Rob December 6th, 2017

      We’ll see, I thought that at first too but as time has gone on I’m not so sure. Live and let live, as they say, doesn’t seem to apply to pastoralists.

    • 51Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 6th, 2017

      Harsh is fine, it’s your reluctance to stick to the truth that is the problem.

      “Rob didn’t like the fact I quoted him writing that “most UK offal now goes to China, although an awful lot is also incinerated, as it isn’t worth removing” but he never explained what he and his slaughterhouse do with the vast quantities of offals, carcarsses, hides, hooves, horns (though most cattle have their buds/horns removed) etc. (to be honest, at this point I’m not interested in his input. His last recent comment to me here showed that he hadn’t yet understood that the major methane emissions are from ruminants rather than other herbivores, so I’m done debating).”

      I answered you at the time about the offal – I sell it to people, in the UK, to eat. Carcasses, likewise, are sold to people to eat. Hides are processed for leather where possible, or sold by the abattoir for processing. Hooves; some go for archaeological research, others are rendered if left with the abattoir. Horns are kept for making things out of.

      Please read my posts rather than ignoring them then you wouldn’t be able to claim ignorance. Please also proof-read your own posts, it will help make your points consistent and credible.

    • 52Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 6th, 2017

      However, I extend the same invitation to you as I did to Dave and see the effects of a decline in livestock farming first-hand.
      You said that you’d like to see more nature reserves – on that we both agree, and this is one of the best so I think you’d like it too. It may be a nature reserve but it’s also a productive landscape and when farming and nature works together they can be mutually beneficial.

      I raised the point about offal being incinerated or sent to China because people don’t realise that we could eat more meat without increasing the number of farmed animals in this country. I thought you would be on board with that but all you’ve done is use it as an excuse to criticise me.

    • 53Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 6th, 2017

      A good summary of the situation IMO. Before we had fossil fuels livestock were essential and it is since we have felt able to live without them that we value them less and consider them disposable to us, a worthy sacrifice in order to keep on burning more fossil fuels.

    • 54Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 6th, 2017

      Are Pigs eating our food? http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-12-06/are-pigs-eating-our-food/

    • 55Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      You may be wasting food even if you’re not throwing it away http://blog.ucsusa.org/doug-boucher/ways-we-waste-food

    • 56Andrew Rollinson December 7th, 2017

      The problem here appears to be that this thread is mixing the concepts of sustainability/energy efficiency, the carbon cycle, global warming, and biodiversity, plus some others. You will never get clarity. Annie said, and I agree, that you need to define what you mean by “sustainability”, and I think that I can explain this without using any hyperlinks or quotes.
      “Sustainability” is connected with energy use. Although no-one knows what energy is, it is some universal force that manifests itself in various forms that have the capacity to move and transform matter. It (energy) cannot be created or destroyed but just transforms from one thing to another. This is the first law of thermodynamics. But there is a caveat to this first law which is that every time there is energy transfer, some amount must be lost to the surroundings (the second law of thermodynamics).
      The earth receives energy each day from the sun. But the sun is running down and ultimately its energy provision will cease (by the second law). Until then, the energy that we receive either heats up the earth during the day and is lost again at night, or it is captured and stored by plants by way of the information in their DNA. When herbivores eat these plants, there is inefficiency, and energy is lost to the universe as a consequence, and again when a carnivore eats a herbivore. This is energy transfer between “trophic levels”. So, vegetarian and vegan living is “more sustainable” than animal farming and eating meat.
      The carbon cycle is related to this as it is energy which drives chemical reactions, but it is too complex to determine. On trying to elucidate the other concepts, I wish you luck. But, I still concur with Annie, and do not think that others should resort to insults here.

      I mentioned it before to Dave, but we need a peer reviewed journal of Low Impact Living.

    • 57Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 7th, 2017

      Exactly;

      “Also, spared land doesn’t help if that land isn’t managed in a way that contributes to a healthier environment.”

      We need to address this issue – it’s important that we switch to methods of production that don’t actively harm the land it does use, but also protects the land it doesn’t. Simply saying ‘it’s not my problem, I’m not the one responsible for that land’ isn’t enough.

      Equally, not eating certain foods doesn’t help the edible livestock feed issue (though it is only 14% of the total livestock feed, it is still significant) unless you are actively diverting those feeds to the human food chain. Expecting bread to be the lovely fluffy sliced white loaves we see on supermarket shelves is the pinnacle of a highly selective food system in which we, humans, are reserved the very best food.

    • 58Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 7th, 2017

      As I said to you in the previous thread Andrew, there is more to life than feeding humans, and as Annie’s last link says, we waste food (and therefore energy) in a highly selective food system.

      As a biologist thermodynamics doesn’t encompass ‘sustainability’ which is;

      “the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely.”

      I also agree with you about the insults & lies, it is most distracting from the debate we are supposed to be having.

    • 59Andrew Rollinson December 7th, 2017

      And as I said to you in the previous thread Rob, when I was prompted to respond after you had begun to get unpleasant towards Annie, your conclusions to others’ comments don’t follow the same premise – non sequitur.

    • 60John Harrison - Allotment Gardening December 7th, 2017

      You know, I think Dave’s too tolerant and polite at times. There’s always some diversions in a discussion (like this) but if you allow them to go too far then the discussion loses its value.
      Annie obviously has a passionately held position but pounding everyone with links of dubious quality doesn’t really help. Rob’s comments are coming from an opposed position that I don’t fully subscribe to either btw.

    • 61Rosewood Farm's Rob December 7th, 2017

      Unpleasant – Would you like to back up that accussation?

      For the record you were prompted to respond to the conversation with; “Rob, in response to your latest comment about Annie, only one person here has displayed ignorance about animal biology, and it is you.”

      After I had said; “I wasn’t ‘angered’ by your wilful ignorance about animal biology and the dairy industry so much as exasperated by your resistance to information and logic.”

      If you’re referring to the use of the word ‘ignorance’ as being unpleasant but it isn’t, it’s a descriptive word and we are all ignorant of many things, you & I included.

      This was in response to her insistence that AI is a technique for increasing the fucundity of farmed animals. I asked you at the time;

      “If you would prefer to take up this debate and discuss how exactly AI increases the fecundity of farmed cattle then let’s hear it?”

      If you’d like to continue this, please do, but I think you know as well as I do that the evidence doesn’t exist to support Annie’s point.

    • 62Rosewood Farm December 7th, 2017

      Just to reiterate my position – Dave originally suggested that eating less meat was necessary to encourage farmers, like myself, to adopt more sustainable production methods. I disagreed with this because eating less meat *may* (or may not) be a consequence of more sustainable production methods but it is not a requirement for them to be initiated.

    • 63Dave Darby December 7th, 2017

      This thread has become loaded with links again. I promise I’ll get to the sustainability of meat production, but at the moment, the sticking point is the ethics of eating animals, which is way below the level of the question in this article. So I’ve gone back to basics here – whether it’s ok to live in the wild and to harvest animals for food. https://www.lowimpact.org/it-cant-possibly-be-a-bad-thing-to-live-in-the-wild-and-to-harvest-both-plants-and-animals-for-food/

    • 64Dave Darby December 7th, 2017

      Although, Andrew, I think a peer-reviewed journal of low-impact living would be a superb thing, to work out exactly what is and isn’t sustainable.

    • 65Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      Dave, can I ask you why you are interested in sustainability – in this case, of meat production, but also generally?

    • 66Dave Darby December 7th, 2017

      Sure – to prevent a species, that has got to the point that it can build an internet and have debates on it about sustainability, from becoming extinct. I think that would be a tremendous shame – especially if we take lots of other species with us.
      It might not be a shame – it might be totally irrelevant. But there might be some point behind it all that we don’t know about yet.

    • 67Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      I’m with you entirely. We care for the future, we have values, we are pulled towards what is right, fair, beautiful and sensible for the next generations as well as ours and we want to defend these values! This is ethics. The concept of sustainability is rooted in ethics, they cannot be separated!

    • 68Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      Thanks Andrew – much appreciated!

      Re trophic levels – which of course I also mentioned many times – Rob replied this to me:

      “So let me get this right – livestock are inefficient because they consume more and produce less calories yet they are simultaneously responsible for us all consuming too many calories, go figure.”

      Re artificial insemination, which Rob has repeatedly accused me of getting wrong, because he says it’s not about “increasing the fucundity” [sic – there might be a Freudian slip there], I had written:

      “95% of dairy cows are artificially inseminated because farmers want to make sure they are pregnant for much of their short lives whilst also lactating, and they also want to go against their natural cycles of giving birth in the warm season so that they produce most milk when humans want it most – in the winter.”

      I’d still love to know (from an unbiased source) if this isn’t the case!

      It’s great to know that Dave “sells all his carcasses for people to eat”. Fancy a bull’s tibia for breakfast? A femur? A skull? A humerus? A scapula? They’re all there for us to devour (though not advertised).

      I’ll leave it here. Thanks so much Andrew for this short therapeutic exchange!

    • 69Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      Andrew, you seem to be an expert in energy, and in particular gas! I’d love your frank opinion on something. The two top UK energy companies focusing on renewables are (as far as I know) Good Energy and Ecotricity – and both produce (or buy) a certain amount of biogas. Good energy has been promoting the use of large biodigesters on big dairy farms, where they put all the slurry, the unsold milk and other waste (and they seem to be now also including other forms of waste). Ecotricity has started producing biogas by directly using grass from marginal lands – the kind of marginal lands that we keep being told are only suitable for grazing. Of course Ecotricity’s boss, Dale VInce, champions plant-based diets and has put a whole football club onto such a diet, with much success so far. But let’s put aside his own position on the matter. What do you think is more ecologically (and perhaps economically) efficient?

    • 70Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      One reason for me to send links (which of course nobody has to open, they’re mostly there for anyone to check anything, if they want to!) is to show the complexity and multidimensionality of issues, as well as stress where there is clear scientific consensus. For instance I was totally convinced that it was common knowledge that forests are overall far better carbon stores than pastures – a key factor in our discussions on sustainability. I’ve been proven wrong, so what do I do: send more evidence?

      I don’t think it’s realistic to hope for “exact” sustainability formulas for every situation and every timeframe, yet some clear conclusions can be drawn and I am grateful for the on-going enquiries. They have allowed me to update my knowledge and whetted my appetite for more truth, so thank you Dave!

    • 71Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      Hi John, It sounds, from what you write, as though the recent message from 15,364 scientists urging us “to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including drastically diminishing our per capita ­consumption of meat”, to promote plant-based diets and to change some land use from livestock to forested schemes might be one of those deemed by you of dubious quality. All 15,364 scientists have provided their contact details so perhaps you could tell them what you think?

    • 72Annie Leymarie December 7th, 2017

      Hi Dave, Catching up with comments. Links are just like references at the end of a paper – no-one has to open them! Once again, my main aim is to fight misinformation. It’s a big battle, just like the poor 99% climate change scientists having to constantly respond to the super-vocal and very well funded 1% climate deniers who are everywhere in the media – and whatever they do is wrong: too much information, too little information, the wrong type, too technical, not technical enough, too pessimistic, etc.. .

      In the US I have a friend who is also very keen on getting “to the bottom of things”. Today he posted a video responding to accusations that he cherry-picks information. If I could embed a link I would, so that if by any chance you were curious about this guy you could have a quick look. As it is, I can only post the full link but there’s no pressure on you to look (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk4X4lWdUj0 ).

      Finally: I love Larch dearly and hold him in the highest respect. He is truly an admirable man and it’s been a joy and privilege to help him create a forest garden, organise many workshops with him and much else. But we disagreed about… meat. He is a scavenger, eating – he says – mostly meat and dairy that would have been wasted. Sadly I don’t live in the same town as Larch any more but one of the last times we saw each other he invited me for dinner with George Monbiot and another top hero of mine, a man who has organised the planting of well over one million trees, and planted many of those himself – Alan Watson Featherstone of Trees for Life. Alan has been a vegan for many decades and told me at that dinner that he never took any supplement (in theory he should be in a very bad shape because B12 is essential, but clearly he isn’t, or at least wasn’t last year!). George and Alan (and Larch and I) share a passion for rewilding. So yes, any friend of Larch is also a friend of mine and again I want to apologise if I haven’t always been as kind and skillful as I should have been. I am on a steep learning curve tackling such debates when I would previously have felt too vulnerable. I am once again grateful that you gave me the opportunity to learn more, to practice and to make mistakes… My aim is now to (try and) let go of the debates here…

    • 73John Harrison - Allotment Gardening December 7th, 2017

      Well I’m really rushing so you’re very lucky I can spare you the time to reply – there’s so much clickbait to reference that backs up my position and 15,365 scientists agree with me so I’m right and you’re wrong and it doesn’t matter what you say cos’ I’ve got my fingers in my ears and I can’t hear you – lalalalala
      Funny how them pointy head scientifical types have taken this long to see I’m right in that I’ve been actively and provably promoting eating less meat since 2009 (it’s in print but here’s a link – http://www.allotment-garden.org/book/low-cost-living-spend-less/ ). Now why should I waste my time contacting them all to tell them that when I’m really rushing? I’m so busy I can’t even think.

      However – these links should help you make an informed decision

      This proves that eating purely meat and cheese is good for you
      http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a41432/zero-carb-diet-kelly-hogan/

      And this proves how healthy meat is and it can cure asthma and make the lame walk again and raise the dead
      https://zerocarbzen.com/

      And this proves that a pure meat diet is natural and builds a better body
      https://forums.t-nation.com/t/benefit-of-a-meat-only-diet/85924

      And finally I am launching a new product next month with all the benefits of meat but without harming or killing any animals and it’s sustainable and it doesn’t produce any extra carbon or cow farts – Get ready for Soylent Green
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_jGOKYHxaQ

    • 74Dave Darby December 8th, 2017

      Pleasure (I think). I didn’t realise it was going to cause so much trouble.

    • 75Dave Darby December 8th, 2017

      If I didn’t know what a serious person you were, I’d say you were joking.

    • 76Dave Darby December 8th, 2017

      I definitely don’t sell carcasses. Did you mean Rob?

    • 77John Harrison - Allotment Gardening December 8th, 2017

      Being totally serious, I think it’s a real shame that an interesting question has had precious little in the way of relevant answer and has been hijacked to support valid ethical positions that are irrelevant to the discussion defined.
      The factual part of my last post is that I have been promoting eating less meat, but meat sustainably and ethically produced, for years. Our poultry and sheep are managed to have a positive effect on the land as part of a biological system that has started to develop a positive feedback.

    • 78Rosewood Farm's Rob December 8th, 2017

      Links are great but I don’t tend to look for too many of them myself as I’m bound to look (or appear to look) for a bias viewpoint. I much prefer to read other people’s links and find the bits that support my position from them. Most of the evidence I have read over the years that has further reinforced my views has actually come from people who were trying to destroy them.

    • 79Rosewood Farm's Rob December 8th, 2017

      “It’s great to know that Dave “sells all his carcasses for people to eat”. Fancy a bull’s tibia for breakfast? A femur? A skull? A humerus? A scapula? They’re all there for us to devour (though not advertised).”

      Annie, seriously, how many tibias do you want? Femurs? Scapula? Humerous? I sell them all for people to eat and indeed they are very popular. They tend to be advertised as marrow bones and/or stock bones though, as the demand isn’t vastly different between tibias and femurs, for example.

      Early man prized bone marrow highly as a food and split bones are a common find on archaeological sites. Despite the effort it must have taken, with primitive tools, to extract the marrow, they did it.

      Skulls I can’t do because of the BSE regs, even though BSE has not been found in my cattle or breed of cattle, ever, but that’s the law.

      The main reason foods such as bones aren’t widely available in our supermarkets is that modern society has so much food to choose from that most people can’t be bothered preparing bone marrow to eat. Commerically bones tend to be rendered for other, non-food, uses.

    • 80Rosewood Farm's Rob December 8th, 2017

      ““95% of dairy cows are artificially inseminated because farmers want to make sure they are pregnant for much of their short lives whilst also lactating, and they also want to go against their natural cycles of giving birth in the warm season so that they produce most milk when humans want it most – in the winter.”

      I’d still love to know (from an unbiased source) if this isn’t the case!”

      Your caveat that it must be from an ‘unbiased’ source is the problem – anyone with the knowledge will, you say, be biased. That includes anyone working in biology, farming, etc. What you’re actually asking for is for the evidence to come from someone who shares your bias. Perhaps you know a biology teacher who could explain it?

      However, you don’t need a source, just a very basic knowledge of breeding cycles and what AI is. As I said previously (which you ignored and instead tried to turn it into a point about raping women) AI doesn’t do anything that a bull doesn’t. If a cow is served (by AI or naturally) when she isn’t ovulating then the semen would be wasted.

      Cows cycle all year round and the nearest evidence we have for this is the wild Chillingham herd in Northumberland which are not ‘bred’ by humans but simply allowed to live naturally; https://chillinghamwildcattle.com/beasts/the-ladies/

      “The life of the cows is geared towards having calves. On average, about half as many calves are born each year as there are adult females in the herd.

      Calves are born all year round and if you’re lucky you may see a newborn calf, or even an actual birth.”

      You’ll note that only half the cows every year calve, which differs from farmed cattle. This is probably due to the fact that wild cows aren’t fed for production and with a higher quality diet more cows in the Chillingham herd would conceive every year. In my own herd we will give cows a year off if we don’t think they’re fit enough to calve.

      I used to calve the herd in Spring, when there was most grass available for the cows to produce milk for their calves. but then I realised that this wasn’t ideal for the calves or the cows as they were producing loads of milk when the calf was very young, and producing less later in the year when the calves demand increased. Now I calve in winter, right now, as then the spring flush [of grass] coincides with the calfs demands for milk and the autumn flush coincides with the final trimester of pregnancy. It also means that calves can be born when they are inside or grazing close to the farm for winter, making it easier to give individual attention, and the bulls are let in with the cows before they go out in Spring.

      There are genuine welfare problems with the use of AI in cattle breeding though but you’re not mentioning them, so I will assume you are unaware – The biggest problem with AI is that it has allowed farmers to breed from only the ‘best’ bulls in the world, which has created a bottleneck of genetic diversity in modern dairy cattle. As well as concentrating the ‘best’ genes, it also concentrates the worst ones, which impacts upon cow welfare and the ability of modern cattle to adapt to anything but ‘ideal’ conditions.

      Conversely, however, AI can also be used to increase genetic diversity by allowing ‘rare’ genes to be bred to cows throughout the world. The trouble with using bulls to serve cows is that the genes from that bull tend to remain very local, which is good in some respects, as cattle can be adapted to their local environment, but it’s bad in others because farmed cattle are kept in individual herds and bulls aren’t allowed to wander between herds to spread genetics, so it’s up to the farmer to manage breeding well.

    • 81Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 12th, 2017

      The Amazon rainforest responsible for more methane emissions than all the cows put together; http://www.scidev.net/global/biodiversity/news/amazon-trees-are-major-source-of-methane-emissions.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=global%2Fglobal_rss.xml

    • 82Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose December 18th, 2017

      “when you told me you did not want the emissions from your farm measured because that involved too many estimations!”

      More lies – I’d glossed over this at the time but now having revisited it and can see you have no shame in misrepresenting what I have said.

      I’m more than happy to have emissions measured, but an estimation is not a measurement – you use the words interchangeably but they have very different meanings.

      For the sake of argument, however, I have used the estimations you have provided and shown that, based upon these figures, the carbon going into the atmosphere is significantly less than that which goes into the soil. You’re welcome to dispute this, of course, but as you provided the figures I assumed that you regarded them as accurate.

    • 83Rosewood Farm's Robert Rose January 17th, 2018

      https://www.ecowatch.com/nasa-study-methane-spike-2526089909.html “New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas”

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