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Agreed on the breeding thing. The only animals bred worse than modern production livestock are cosmetic/conformation show animals. Jeez... there are actually chickens that need to be AI'd because their feathers are too fluffy... they get in the way of the rooster's business.
These chickens aren't particularly good for egg production, nor are they particularly good for meat production, so why in the HECK would anyone waste their time AIing a chicken that wasn't good for anything?
>with things like "free range,"
Gamey, and tough.
All milk cows are "grass fed". Hay is their primary diet.
Allow me to clarify. I look for:
>"organic" on the labels...
Not sustainable at this point.
It's called "voting with your dollar." Same reason I don't buy Microsoft products. ;)
Mivox, the problems with this term is WIND and NATURE, and the hybrid crops. Certainly in britain with the GM crops, the reality was a crop within a 50 mile radius around genectically modified crops could be infested with GM pollenation. Hence it was stopped. I was under the reasoning that GM is big style in the US - everywhere.
to counter those disgusting 2 miles of I-5 (major north/south highway in california) where the harris ranch is located.
You can smell that ranch miles before you see it. The stench in enough to make you gag with the windows rolled up just driving by on the freeway. Those poor cows are just piled right on top of each other there in the stockyard, living in their own waste.
a crop within a 50 mile radius around genectically modified crops could be infested with GM pollenation. Hence it was stopped. I was under the reasoning that GM is big style in the US - everywhere.
Oh heck... I'm just hoping for non-chemical fertilizers. There aren't any proper reporting laws about GMO crops, so I wouldn't even know how to avoid all of them... though I am inclined to buy products that say "Non-GMO" on them. I forgot to add that to my list. ;)
A second company, plants a field of corn. Sprays it with a half rate of Roundup. It finds the plants that survives. Flies the seed of those plants to South America in the fall. and repeats the same test. In just 8 generations (about 3 years). They have plants that can survive the spray of Roundup.
Which one of the above is Geneticaly modified corn?
The above did happen exactly as that with both Roundup corn and BT corn (which causes corn moths not to reproduce).
The first took nearly 10 years to develop (1 actually, and 9 years to get through fda/usda regulation). The second hit the market in 4.
The second is so called "natural selection" and the same process has gone on with 100% of your food for 8 to 10,000 years. You can't buy food that isn't genetically modified. You would have to go to some other planet to find food that has not been manipulated. Just about anything they can do in the lab, they can do in nature.
>non chemical fertilzers
hmmm. How can a fertilizer be chemical without being chemical. Manure? Chemical. Composit? Chemical. Fert is nitrogen, potash, potasium, and trace elements/minerals.
Were actually thinking more towards nasty herbicides and pesticides? Everyone hates those - most of all - farmers. Unfortunatly, it just isn't economically feasible to grow 'organic' foods on a mass scale today. The planet would starve if we tried it on any type of large scale. The small farms where it does work today, only works because they can charge more for it. Those economies are slowly fading away as more get into it.
Farms today have never used less chemicals. Part of that changes is due to precision farming. Instead of having to broadcast spray a whole feild for weeds, they can now spot treat the area, and often for the specific weed. Using GPS systems and guidance systems also stands to reduce over usage of fertilizer that can cause higher localized levels of nitrogen in ground water.
Farms today have never used less chemicals.
Ya wanna modify that statement or shall I go all picky with ya;)
I don't argue with farmers about how they raise their animals - its their business, they know it best and the wouldn't thank me for my arguments anyway. They are business men and differently motivated - we would never be able to reasch common ground on these issues.
I do argue that we should be given a clearly informed choice of what we eat - that is MY business.
Once we have a choice we can vote with our stomachs.
We had a few nasty scares like BSE, foot and mouth etc and the end result was that 'organic' (Ok, organic-ish) foods started to appear more often. It just took a little time for it it reach critical mass, but 'organic' (yeah, yeah -ish) IS now sustainable in the UK.
The consumer. Yup, with the exception of a few shining souls like mivox, WE are to blame. Since the advent of the supermarket, and refrigeration, consumers have been demanding a greater variety of foodstuffs at ever lower prices. Supermarkets evolved as an economic response to consumer pressure, and refrigeration has extended shelf life (fish used to be part of the diet of persons living within about a max of 50 miles of large scale source of piscine fauna previously, either the sea or a large lake), which has enormously expanded our choice of foods. Obviously other developments have had an impact, but those 2 are the big ones.
As for the "organic" movement, it's essentially an economic effect again. As the standard of living rises in the West, we become less concerned about the simple mechanics of not starving and more interested in the aesthetics of food. To quote shamelessly from the late Douglas Adams :
The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question 'How can we eat?' the second by the question 'Why do we eat?' and the third by the question 'Where shall we have lunch?'
Western civilisation is currently passing out of Phase II, and into Phase III. Organic farming techniques have taken hold not because we have any real concern for the animals, but because we are concerned for ourselves. We eat organic eggs, because they are tastier, not because the chickens are happier. If we really wanted chickens to be happy, why did we develop battery farming in the first place? Because it made the produce cheaper. And why are we gradually moving away from it now? Because price is no longer the overriding consideration that it once was.
The food scares that 4eyes refers to merely reinforced the already emerging trend to forgo the cheapest possible price in return for the security blanket of seeing the word "organic" or its equivalent on the packaging somewhere. We want to feel that our food is good for us somehow, so we demand free range eggs, grass fed cows etc, etc. The fact that even in those happy states, we are essentially exploiting every other species on Earth solely for our own benefit seems to escape all but the hardest core of the vegan contingent. What seems to escape them is that all life exploits its environment to one degree or another. We are just very good at it.
Once humans rose above the level of being a hunter-gatherer and began to deliberatly cultivate crops and livestock, food supply and quality became issues. The Emperors of Rome (the successful ones, anyway) spent more time worrying about the price of bread than the performance of the legions. Marie Anoinette quite literally lost her head for lacking a proper appreciation of the importance of maintaining a reliable food supply at an affordable price. Current farming trands, organic or not, merely reflect the purchasing decisions of that faceless creature "The Consumer". If Americans want to eat cheap steak, they have to put up with intensive beef ranches. Tough
If rich bankers in Kent want to eat food that makes them feel good about "doing their bit for the environment", then organic farm shops do well. As for GM, puh-leeze. As BT points out, humans have been practising genetic modification programs since before we could write. Depending on the strictness of your definition, you could make a case for the flint speartip being the crudest form of GM
As for GM, puh-leeze.
Its not the GM that I object to tts the devious financial motivation behind some of the latest GM that is scary - terminator genes for example.
Old style breeding techniques were fairly slow and unlikely to cause a major problem. Latest techniques have the potential to spiral out of control if not tightly regulated by a body that has no financial interest in the outcome.
I am pro-GM research, but its not safe in the hands of corporations - but then what is?