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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:07 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Ann Vole wrote:
Wayne Stollings wrote:
OK. There were ~613,733,000 acres being used for grazing in the US in 2007
yeah, there is actually a fairly low percentage of agricultural land suitable for growing human food. A vast majority of it is used for purposes that leave the land looking rather similar to the wild state including grazing, lumber forests, palm oil forests, rubber tree plantations and bamboo forests. Other then the few Asian people who think palm oil has special healing properties, most of that palm oil goes to non-food uses of vegetable oil (palm oil tastes unique). So, the vast majority of agricultural land is not for human food and thus increasing humans just means more of that land will have grazing animals on it. Much of the prairies around my area cannot grow crops due to the soil being too sandy and too dry. Grazing has to be done carefully or the grass gets killed and it does not grow back... sand dune time.

If the land is used for grazing, and ranchers shoot or poison unwanted animals, especially predators, that is not land that is in its natural ecological state. And the animals brought in to graze the land are often not suited for the natural vegetation in the location. The percentage of the entire biosphere's primary production that's been appropriated for human purposes (it doesn't matter much if it's stuff we're eating or not) is a staggering 40%. How much of this planet's ecosystems can be devoted to our purposes before we have hit the point where the system cannot maintain itself? No one knows, but we may find out in a matter of decades.
The Flow of Energy: Primary Production to Higher Trophic Levels
This gives us 58.1/149.6, or nearly 40% of potential terrestrial production (about 25 % of terrestrial + aquatic production). Caveat: These estimates are based on best available data and are approximate. They probably give the correct order of magnitude.
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globa ... yflow.html



Technically, since humans are natural and in following their natural tendancies can and do change ecological systems, anything the humans do would be natural and the resulting situation therefore natural.

Of course, this line of discussion is another deflection because the crops grown for any diet by humans would also alter the "natural" ecological system too. In fact, grazing usage can have a much lower impact than any other usage of land.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:27 am 
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right to left wrote:
If the land is used for grazing, and ranchers shoot or poison unwanted animals, especially predators, that is not land that is in its natural ecological state. And the animals brought in to graze the land are often not suited for the natural vegetation in the location. The percentage of the entire biosphere's primary production that's been appropriated for human purposes (it doesn't matter much if it's stuff we're eating or not) is a staggering 40%. How much of this planet's ecosystems can be devoted to our purposes before we have hit the point where the system cannot maintain itself? No one knows, but we may find out in a matter of decades.
The Flow of Energy: Primary Production to Higher Trophic Levels
This gives us 58.1/149.6, or nearly 40% of potential terrestrial production (about 25 % of terrestrial + aquatic production). Caveat: These estimates are based on best available data and are approximate. They probably give the correct order of magnitude.
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globa ... yflow.html
I quite agree that ALL land use by humans is detrimental to wildlife BUT that is not the topic of the thread. The thread is about the effect of water shortages on the price of meat that may force the world into vegan diets. My point towards that topic is that the amount of land used for human food vegetation is limited and will not expand so the price of vegan foods will be going up fast but for meat production, there is still opportunities of expansion even in drought and flood conditions that kills grain crop yields. A further point is that grazing land is also limited (but not as much) so ALL food will get more expensive based on population numbers (even with no water shortages). So... water shortages will cause starvation but will not increase the vegan portion of human diets (except for those people getting food aid... they will get grain as it is easier to air-drop into war zones)

Also note that your 40% from the link you provided and the quote is about CO2 production so has little bearing on land use (which should be about 85% from what I have read on the topic... 15% for cultivated crops and that is not removing corn and soy used for biofuels and grains used for animal feed... adding that stuff would bring the number into the low 90s of percent for non-vegan food use of land by humans. Is that good for the planet... no but as far as making people go vegan on that less then 10% of land as population expands is an obvious "not going to happen".


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Ann Vole wrote:
I quite agree that ALL land use by humans is detrimental to wildlife BUT that is not the topic of the thread. The thread is about the effect of water shortages on the price of meat that may force the world into vegan diets. My point towards that topic is that the amount of land used for human food vegetation is limited and will not expand so the price of vegan foods will be going up fast but for meat production, there is still opportunities of expansion even in drought and flood conditions that kills grain crop yields. A further point is that grazing land is also limited (but not as much) so ALL food will get more expensive based on population numbers (even with no water shortages). So... water shortages will cause starvation but will not increase the vegan portion of human diets (except for those people getting food aid... they will get grain as it is easier to air-drop into war zones)

I think we can take it as a given that virtually all food prices will rise in the coming years. And a lot of that is going to be the result of our changing climate. I've noticed previously, that aside from 2007, every other year over the last ten, has fallen short of projected world grain harvests. There is always a reason: drought in Australia/then floods, drought in Russia, and this year it's North America's turn, but the pattern seems to be clear that one or more of the major food producing regions in the world will get hit with extreme weather that destroys grain yields. And climate forecasters tell us that things will likely get worse in the coming years!

I didn't find my previous debate going anywhere that could answer the question of why, if there's so much pasture lands available for livestock, did we get caught up in the system of feedlot industrial agriculture - where cows, pigs and chickens are stuck in front of supplies of corn, soy and other mostly grain-sourced animal feeds. Why wasn't all this pasture land taken advantage of previously, since it could cut the amount of feed stocks needed by the producers?

I'm still lost on the concept that feeding an intermediary (cows, pigs, chickens) plant food is just as efficient as humans eating a plant-sourced diet directly. Seems like a violation of the laws of physics.
Quote:
Also note that your 40% from the link you provided and the quote is about CO2 production so has little bearing on land use (which should be about 85% from what I have read on the topic... 15% for cultivated crops and that is not removing corn and soy used for biofuels and grains used for animal feed... adding that stuff would bring the number into the low 90s of percent for non-vegan food use of land by humans. Is that good for the planet... no but as far as making people go vegan on that less then 10% of land as population expands is an obvious "not going to happen".

From what I understood, the estimated 40% use of land-based primary production by humans was referring to the percentage of plants and other photosynthesizing organisms that break down CO2 in the atmosphere to make organic molecules:
As a brief review, we recognize that some organisms are capable of synthesizing organic molecules from inorganic precursors, and of storing biochemical energy in the process. These are called autotrophs, meaning "self-feeding." Autotrophs also are referred to as primary producers. Organisms able to manufacture complex organic molecules from simple inorganic compounds (water, CO2, nutrients) include plants, some protists, and some bacteria. The process by which they do this usually is photosynthesis, and as its name implies, photosynthesis requires light
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globa ... yflow.html

If 40% of the Earth's land photosynthesis is diverted to human interests, that would be an indicator of how large the human-controlled segment of the biosphere is today. It provides a better understanding of why the rate of extinctions is increasing so rapidly when we consider how much the human consumption of primary production has increased. The biosphere available for the other millions of plant and animal species keeps shrinking. We will discover after the fact how much of that natural environment is necessary for us to survive as a species.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Wayne Stollings wrote:
Technically, since humans are natural and in following their natural tendancies can and do change ecological systems, anything the humans do would be natural and the resulting situation therefore natural.

Of course, this line of discussion is another deflection because the crops grown for any diet by humans would also alter the "natural" ecological system too. In fact, grazing usage can have a much lower impact than any other usage of land.

We aren't natural when we put so much in the way of the migrations that allowed the majority of animal species to survive sudden changes like the PETM 55 million years ago. All of the cities, roads, highways, monoculture farms and fenced-off pasture lands crowds other animals into smaller and smaller spaces and acts as barriers to migration. The next PETM...likely what we are heading into right now, will kill off all the species that are stuck in their present tiny ecological niches. And then there is the other problem that our way of farming creates an overabundance of a few select plant and animal species, so that they take up too much of available growing spaces.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:09 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Ann Vole wrote:
I quite agree that ALL land use by humans is detrimental to wildlife BUT that is not the topic of the thread. The thread is about the effect of water shortages on the price of meat that may force the world into vegan diets. My point towards that topic is that the amount of land used for human food vegetation is limited and will not expand so the price of vegan foods will be going up fast but for meat production, there is still opportunities of expansion even in drought and flood conditions that kills grain crop yields. A further point is that grazing land is also limited (but not as much) so ALL food will get more expensive based on population numbers (even with no water shortages). So... water shortages will cause starvation but will not increase the vegan portion of human diets (except for those people getting food aid... they will get grain as it is easier to air-drop into war zones)

I think we can take it as a given that virtually all food prices will rise in the coming years. And a lot of that is going to be the result of our changing climate. I've noticed previously, that aside from 2007, every other year over the last ten, has fallen short of projected world grain harvests. There is always a reason: drought in Australia/then floods, drought in Russia, and this year it's North America's turn, but the pattern seems to be clear that one or more of the major food producing regions in the world will get hit with extreme weather that destroys grain yields. And climate forecasters tell us that things will likely get worse in the coming years!

I didn't find my previous debate going anywhere that could answer the question of why, if there's so much pasture lands available for livestock, did we get caught up in the system of feedlot industrial agriculture - where cows, pigs and chickens are stuck in front of supplies of corn, soy and other mostly grain-sourced animal feeds. Why wasn't all this pasture land taken advantage of previously, since it could cut the amount of feed stocks needed by the producers?


It is used. The pasture is used for the young animals and for those who are not sent to feed lots. The consumers like the marbling of the meat created by grain feeding.

Quote:
I'm still lost on the concept that feeding an intermediary (cows, pigs, chickens) plant food is just as efficient as humans eating a plant-sourced diet directly.


That might be due to you missing the point that the feed provided the animals is such that humans cannot consume it.

Quote:
Seems like a violation of the laws of physics.


Only if you can violate the laws of biology and expect humans to digest celluose.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:14 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Wayne Stollings wrote:
Technically, since humans are natural and in following their natural tendancies can and do change ecological systems, anything the humans do would be natural and the resulting situation therefore natural.

Of course, this line of discussion is another deflection because the crops grown for any diet by humans would also alter the "natural" ecological system too. In fact, grazing usage can have a much lower impact than any other usage of land.

We aren't natural when we put so much in the way of the migrations that allowed the majority of animal species to survive sudden changes like the PETM 55 million years ago.


Odd definition of natural. So mountain ranges, rivers, seas, oceans, lakes, swamps, and the like are not natural too?

Quote:
All of the cities, roads, highways, monoculture farms and fenced-off pasture lands crowds other animals into smaller and smaller spaces and acts as barriers to migration.


That is the natural actions of humanity to build ... just as it is natural for beavers to create dams and create ponds, swamps, and other types of flooded lands.

Quote:
The next PETM...likely what we are heading into right now, will kill off all the species that are stuck in their present tiny ecological niches. And then there is the other problem that our way of farming creates an overabundance of a few select plant and animal species, so that they take up too much of available growing spaces.


We could kill off a few billion people so we did not need that food, but without the removal of the people there will still be the need for that food.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:03 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Ann Vole wrote:
Wayne Stollings wrote:
OK. There were ~613,733,000 acres being used for grazing in the US in 2007
yeah, there is actually a fairly low percentage of agricultural land suitable for growing human food. A vast majority of it is used for purposes that leave the land looking rather similar to the wild state including grazing, lumber forests, palm oil forests, rubber tree plantations and bamboo forests. Other then the few Asian people who think palm oil has special healing properties, most of that palm oil goes to non-food uses of vegetable oil (palm oil tastes unique). So, the vast majority of agricultural land is not for human food and thus increasing humans just means more of that land will have grazing animals on it. Much of the prairies around my area cannot grow crops due to the soil being too sandy and too dry. Grazing has to be done carefully or the grass gets killed and it does not grow back... sand dune time.

If the land is used for grazing, and ranchers shoot or poison unwanted animals, especially predators, that is not land that is in its natural ecological state. And the animals brought in to graze the land are often not suited for the natural vegetation in the location. The percentage of the entire biosphere's primary production that's been appropriated for human purposes (it doesn't matter much if it's stuff we're eating or not) is a staggering 40%. How much of this planet's ecosystems can be devoted to our purposes before we have hit the point where the system cannot maintain itself? No one knows, but we may find out in a matter of decades.
The Flow of Energy: Primary Production to Higher Trophic Levels
This gives us 58.1/149.6, or nearly 40% of potential terrestrial production (about 25 % of terrestrial + aquatic production). Caveat: These estimates are based on best available data and are approximate. They probably give the correct order of magnitude.
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globa ... yflow.html



Yet every one of those planted seedlings help to clean the air of its carbon footprint while feeding we humans and our food animals after they reach maturity.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:07 pm 
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right to left wrote:
... why, if there's so much pasture lands available for livestock, did we get caught up in the system of feedlot industrial agriculture?
Transportation costs and losses to wildlife. Chickens are "sitting ducks" for almost every wildlife animal out there... even small song birds have been known to kill chickens. Pigs are the most dangerous animal on Earth in terms of human deaths but they are also rather quick to kill piglets. Farming them is a challenge without intensive livestock methods (if you want minimum deaths for maximum profits... most pig farmers go out of business due to the very low profit margins so this is not greed but business survival). Cattle are a bit more pasture friendly but people want juicy stakes rather then dry stringy ones so a fattening up process is required for customer satisfaction. That covers the main meat animals for why we need intensive agriculture. The transportation aspect includes both the live animals going to government-inspected abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and grain that has been rejected for human use. A major grain shipping point in Alberta also has two brands of meat companies in that town and as you might expect, surrounded by feedlots. All done together to save fuel and labor (the biggest expenses) and minimize losses of cattle and pigs in transportation.
right to left wrote:
From what I understood, the estimated 40% use of land-based primary production by humans was referring to the percentage of plants and other photosynthesizing organisms that break down CO2 in the atmosphere to make organic molecules
yes but that is 40% of ALL plant life-created CO2 that is connected to human use... the number I was looking for (and could not find last night) was what percentage of LAND used by humans is used for VEGAN FOOD... different measured variable (want land rather then CO2) and different subgroup (want vegan portion rather then all human use) and different group (want portion of human used land rather a portion of the whole globe's land... or in this case, land and sea). I was not trying to argue anything but just pointing out that the percentage as quoted was not on topic as you were trying to use it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Wayne Stollings wrote:
Odd definition of natural. So mountain ranges, rivers, seas, oceans, lakes, swamps, and the like are not natural too?

Even you should know that a species, any species that is not subject to predation or other effects that could limit its growth is acting outside of the balance of nature....at least for a little while.

At the present time, our consumption of renewable resources is overshooting capacity by at least 50%. Does that sound natural to you? This sort of thing occurs when a species is in a protected area with no natural predators and consumes all the available food until the population crashes. The die-off of a large reindeer herd placed on St. Matthews Island in the Bering Sea during WWII being the modern textbook example of how a population crashes. And until now, the human examples, like Easter Island and the various civilizations that depleted available resources, did not threaten the entire human species because the crises were localized events. But, that is no longer the case as modern civilization and its overuse of resources today is global. There are no undiscovered continents to start over again. So no, except for maybe a few isolated pockets on Earth like the Andaman Islands, there are no significant human populations living anything resembling a sustainable lifestyle....and that is not natural!

Quote:
That is the natural actions of humanity to build ... just as it is natural for beavers to create dams and create ponds, swamps, and other types of flooded lands.
[/quote]
In case you're not aware, a beaver's dam-building can have detrimental effects on other plant and animal life in the woods. The difference is that the beaver is still subject to predation and other natural controls on population growth.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Ann Vole wrote:
Transportation costs and losses to wildlife. Chickens are "sitting ducks" for almost every wildlife animal out there... even small song birds have been known to kill chickens. Pigs are the most dangerous animal on Earth in terms of human deaths but they are also rather quick to kill piglets. Farming them is a challenge without intensive livestock methods (if you want minimum deaths for maximum profits... most pig farmers go out of business due to the very low profit margins so this is not greed but business survival). Cattle are a bit more pasture friendly but people want juicy stakes rather then dry stringy ones so a fattening up process is required for customer satisfaction. That covers the main meat animals for why we need intensive agriculture. The transportation aspect includes both the live animals going to government-inspected abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and grain that has been rejected for human use. A major grain shipping point in Alberta also has two brands of meat companies in that town and as you might expect, surrounded by feedlots. All done together to save fuel and labor (the biggest expenses) and minimize losses of cattle and pigs in transportation.

From what you're saying, except for cattle, pasturing other livestock animals would raise the costs of pork and chicken....which would be a good thing in my opinion, since I believe that meat and dairy products are overly subsidized to our detriment. A truly sustainable system meat and dairy production would shift the average diet more to plant sources as prices reflected real costs of food.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:22 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Wayne Stollings wrote:
Odd definition of natural. So mountain ranges, rivers, seas, oceans, lakes, swamps, and the like are not natural too?

Even you should know that a species, any species that is not subject to predation or other effects that could limit its growth is acting outside of the balance of nature....at least for a little while.


Nom, I should not know that because it is not correct.


Quote:
At the present time, our consumption of renewable resources is overshooting capacity by at least 50%. Does that sound natural to you?


It is for humans and even other animals whose species will over populate until the population crashes due to disease or starvation.

Quote:
This sort of thing occurs when a species is in a protected area with no natural predators and consumes all the available food until the population crashes.


Which would make the process unnatural how?

Quote:
The die-off of a large reindeer herd placed on St. Matthews Island in the Bering Sea during WWII being the modern textbook example of how a population crashes. And until now, the human examples, like Easter Island and the various civilizations that depleted available resources, did not threaten the entire human species because the crises were localized events. But, that is no longer the case as modern civilization and its overuse of resources today is global.


Yes, but that is still a natural situation.

Quote:
There are no undiscovered continents to start over again. So no, except for maybe a few isolated pockets on Earth like the Andaman Islands, there are no significant human populations living anything resembling a sustainable lifestyle....and that is not natural!


Why is that the "correct" definition of natural? It seems that the large number of people following that course would define it as a natural path, but I am looking at it logically.

Quote:
Quote:
That is the natural actions of humanity to build ... just as it is natural for beavers to create dams and create ponds, swamps, and other types of flooded lands.

In case you're not aware, a beaver's dam-building can have detrimental effects on other plant and animal life in the woods.[/quote]

Yes, and that is natural is it not?

Quote:
The difference is that the beaver is still subject to predation and other natural controls on population growth.


Humans are too. Disease is natural and has limited the population in the past. Starvation and natural disaters are also means by which the populaiton can be controlled. Humans are also subject to the most efficeint predator on the planet .... other humans. War is a wonderful method of population control especially with weapons of mass destruction available in large quantities.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:26 pm 
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right to left wrote:
Ann Vole wrote:
Transportation costs and losses to wildlife. Chickens are "sitting ducks" for almost every wildlife animal out there... even small song birds have been known to kill chickens. Pigs are the most dangerous animal on Earth in terms of human deaths but they are also rather quick to kill piglets. Farming them is a challenge without intensive livestock methods (if you want minimum deaths for maximum profits... most pig farmers go out of business due to the very low profit margins so this is not greed but business survival). Cattle are a bit more pasture friendly but people want juicy stakes rather then dry stringy ones so a fattening up process is required for customer satisfaction. That covers the main meat animals for why we need intensive agriculture. The transportation aspect includes both the live animals going to government-inspected abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and grain that has been rejected for human use. A major grain shipping point in Alberta also has two brands of meat companies in that town and as you might expect, surrounded by feedlots. All done together to save fuel and labor (the biggest expenses) and minimize losses of cattle and pigs in transportation.

From what you're saying, except for cattle, pasturing other livestock animals would raise the costs of pork and chicken....which would be a good thing in my opinion, since I believe that meat and dairy products are overly subsidized to our detriment. A truly sustainable system meat and dairy production would shift the average diet more to plant sources as prices reflected real costs of food.


Unless all subidized effects are removed and then the plant only sources become much more economically unstable too. It is the lack of the crop insurance and the governmental loan assistance subsidy that causes the mass suicide of farmers in various parts of India every year.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Wayne Stollings wrote:
Humans are too. Disease is natural and has limited the population in the past. Starvation and natural disaters are also means by which the populaiton can be controlled. Humans are also subject to the most efficeint predator on the planet .... other humans. War is a wonderful method of population control especially with weapons of mass destruction available in large quantities.

What exactly is your point in all this? Unless you just want to argue that human-created mass extinction is natural!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:41 pm 
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right to left wrote:
From what you're saying, except for cattle, pasturing other livestock animals would raise the costs of pork and chicken....which would be a good thing in my opinion, since I believe that meat and dairy products are overly subsidized to our detriment. A truly sustainable system meat and dairy production would shift the average diet more to plant sources as prices reflected real costs of food.
Here in Canada there is very little government subsidy and most of it is disaster relief for grain production from floods and tornadoes. Because the government-run insurance requires an accountability for the crop losses, the crop must be harvested and sold no matter how poor it is or how damaged from destroyed granaries. This causes a glut in grain unfit for human consumption and suddenly Canada is building more feedlot operations near grain shipping points. My point is that the livestock industry is NOT subsidized in most parts of the world but may benefit from disaster relief for grain farmers who are forced to waste fuel and manpower harvesting garbage to get their insurance payout. I have only worked on one dairy farm (poisoning ground squirrels) so I have no insight in how they are financed but I suspect it also lacks government money in Canada or we would be exporting milk to the USA but we are importing milk instead. As far as chickens and pigs go, it will just be impractical to graze them and always has been... chicken coops have been used to protect chickens for hundreds of years as far back as we have documentation. Pigs were herded by shepherds (like sheep were) in the distant past to protect them (mentioned in the Bible twice) and sheep are only grazed in places where predators are killed (usually with poison) so it is only practical to graze them without protection on wildlife that we now have. Llamas might be a game changer though because a llama will attack and kill individual predators and will stay with herds and flocks of smaller livestock. In warmer countries, goats are the preferred livestock due to their climbing abilities... they can go fast over rocky places that predators cannot follow as fast. Goats do not handle Canadian winters well though.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:30 am 
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Most of the water on the planet is not fresh water which is necessary for plants and animals. It is that supply of fresh water which is decreasing in some areas.

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