Re: the "waste" problem - While excess manure may be produced
in certain areas of confinement livestock production, particularly
hogs and poultry, a decentralized, more pasture-based livestock
production system would not have that problem. Also, I envision
a sustainable system as one in which livestock and crops are
integrated on the same farm or at least in the same farming area
where crops could benefit form manure applications as well as
rotation to grass crops. (Rotating a peanut field to a grass crop
for 4 - 7 years reduces some diseases to a point where control with
chemical fungicides may not be needed.) You need something use the
grass - livestock!
Crop waste utilization - Having livestock and crops in close
proximity also permits grazing of crop waste and using crop by-
products. (Hogging down corn; cattle grazing cotton, soybean, or
other stubble; using cotton gin waste, peanut hulls as a feed
Having a forage crop grown on the land reduces soil erosion
as compared to conventionally tilled row crops. Also forages add
beneficial organic matter to the soil.
As has already been mentioned, livestock can use land that
would be unsuitable for row crops because of slope, elevation,
fertility, accessibility, climate, terrain, etc.
If you are going to have milk cows, milk goats, and laying
hens to provide us with these "non-meat" protein sources, what do
you do with all the excess male animals? You need only a limited
number for breeding purposes, and last time I checked, even
technology was having a hard time significantly modifying the 50-
50 male-female ratio.
Human tooth structure is designed to eat both meat and veggies
- we don't have the extensive grinding tooth structure like
ruminants; our teeth are really more like carnivores. Our other
primate relatives also seem to be omnivorous (although they find
insects an appetizing protein source).
Besides, I like meat. As far as health risks are concerned,
as I understand it, the risk is associated with fat. As long as
we use low-fat cooking methods, don't overfinish our meat animals,
and emphasize (and reward farmers for producing) lean carcasses,
meat is an excellent, easily digested, concentrated source of
vitamins, minerals, and protein. So if any individual wants to eat
a more vegetarian diet, that is fine. I'll take my steak and lamb
chops as part of a varied, balanced diet.
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.
-- Marjorie Rayburn E-Mail : mrayburn@chowan Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone : (919) 482-8431