Sunday, March 27, 2005

Don't Let us Go Extinct! Pleae keep us, breed us and eat those of us you must in order to perpetuate us!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Why Preserve Domestic Livestock Breeds?

Cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, asses (and others) all have breeds that are only alive today because of their symbiotic relationship with humans. In short, they are domestic livestock and their survival is dependent upon humans keeping and breeding them.

Over the centuries farmers, the world over, have bred and nurtured hundreds of different breeds of each of these species. They occasionally cross bred the different breeds (of say pigs) in order to keep the genetics strong and to ensure the ultimate survival of the species.

Therefore, this variety of domestic livestock breeds is our genetic inheritance and it is paramount to the ultimate survival of the different species themselves. On top of that, our domestic livestock hold a very important place in sustainable agriculture. They not only provide a way to turn marginal (rocky, hilly, forested) land and waste agricultural products into a food source for humans but they also provide an organic source of fertilizer for crop plants. Thus, in the face of ever increasing fossil fuels (the source of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides) this genetic variety is critical to agricultures’ future (our food supply) and thus to the very survival of mankind.

However, today we have fewer and fewer small farms, to propagate and care for the diverse breeds, while the larger modern “mega” farms keep only one or two breeds of each species. With this scenario, all it would take is a disease to infect one particular breed and (with no other breeds to fall back on) the species will become extinct! Just picture a world without pigs, chickens, sheep, cows and (even) horses and understand that this could happen if we do not act now!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Animal Activists May Actually Cause Animal Extinctions!

*We all love rabbits and it may seem cruel to kill and eat them and certain animal rights activists would make it illegal to do this. But I wish they would think through the end consequences of this, for both the rabbits and for humankind, before pushing such an agenda.

The fact is that domestic animals must be kept & bred by humans or they will go extinct! A hundred years ago, with 95% of Americans living on farms, every area kept and bred it's own distinct breeds of pigs, chickens, horses, cattle, rabbits, etc.... But, because most farming is done today by huge "mega-farmers", who only keeps one or two breeds of each of these farm animals, many breeds of domestic livestock go extinct every year. To make matters worse, fewer people enter into raising & breeding them because of the expense, time involvement & pressure from activists! Because of this, we are loosing our rich genetic inheritance to extinction. Keep in mind that animal extinction is not limited to wild animals!

In order to maintain a specific breed, domestic animals must produce offspring, from which the best (a small fraction) are kept for breeding. So what becomes of the remaining offspring? The only humane, & financially practical, plan is to butcher them for humans to eat. Would these activists (who purport to "love these animals so much") prefer these animals never be born (extinction) instead of have a purpose for humans?

I have heard the theory of converting the land, currently being used for grazing by (or production of food for) domestic livestock, to grain & vegetable crops for direct human consumption. This flawed theory fails to take into consideration the facts that;

1. Most domestic livestock are grazed primarily on hilly, rocky, forested & non-irrigated land. Should we chop down forests to plant grain crops? Should we plow hillsides, exposing top soil to erosion? Should we tap into our (already strained) natural water sources to irrigate vegetable crops?

2. Most grain crops fed to livestock are crops not fit for human consumption. The mold content is to high, it sprouted in the field before harvested or it’s an agricultural by-product that humans don’t eat (like corn stalks, straw, etc…). Should we waste these resources instead of converting them to high quality protein for people?

Plus, what is the logical conclusion to taking all the food away from animals? EXTINCTION! Thus, the true end goal of these activists is the extinction of our domestic animals! Most of them do not seem to understand that, but rather just want to do the right thing for the animals. However, because most are city people they do not understand the realities of domestic animal care & breeding nor the very important part they play in sustainable agriculture.

Along with the realization that chemical farming is not sustainable, and with more and more farmers making the transition back to traditional sustainable farming methods, the important role of domestic livestock [to sustainable agriculture] is becoming increasingly apparent. The manures, that the animals produce, plus the effects of proper grazing, do away with the farmers' needs for chemical fertilizers and herbicides. Without our domestic livestock animals, humankinds' transition back to sustainable agriculture would be very difficult (if not impossible)

I raise, butcher & eat meat rabbits but if activists have their way I'd have to stop and thus I would also stop keeping and breeding them altogether as I could not afford the luxury of keeping them as just pets. Thus moving this breed one step closer to extinction! "So what", they might say, "we don't need meat animals anyway?" But the reality is, if we allow our rich heritage of livestock breed diversity to dwindle to just a few "pet" breeds, when an infection comes along ("when" not "if") and wipes these out, we will have no genetic diversity to fall back on. Thus the entire species would become extinct! No more domestic pigs, rabbits, etc..! We need the genetic diversity and, to keep it, people need to be able to breed, butcher & eat the domestic animals, including rabbits!