Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Can The World Produce Sufficient Food Without Factory Farms?

I don't know the answer to this question but I have done some reading on the subject. It seems there is a lot to debate. In order to feed the number of people on the planet who currently choose to eat meat, eggs, dairy and other animal products, it seems like the "family farm" wouldn't produce adequate supply. Thus, the so-called factory farm with practices that many people seem to at least express some environmental/ethical concern over and at most, abhor. But is it feasible to eliminate them?

Some possible ideas would be for everyone to reduce their consumption of animal products, to encourage more family farming and "backyard" farming, and for those unable to produce their own animal products, to buy from family farms in order to help them stay solvent.

I'm sure there are other ideas, probably better than the ones I listed. Whaddaya got?


jan said...

I was just reading that the wealthier people become as in the developing nations, the more they eat meat. But the fewer children they have. hmmm.

Brent said...

It does seem that as a country we're weird about expecting to have meat at every meal. Even as a regular meat eater (we buy everything free-range now), we still try to have a few meals a day that are's harder though when so many of the "easy" alternatives are so heavily processed that it's not better for you.

I think there will always be a demand for cheap food -- but my hope is that the past 2 generation of people who have completely lost touch with where their food comes from will begin to start taking notice again (recent trends are pointing that they are) and where our food comes from and how it is raised will become more of a factor for us.

Mass farming doesn't necessarily have to mean that it's bad for the environment and for the animals. People have just never cared enough to demand better until very recently.

Anonymous said...

There are too many of us. And as a species we tend to be too fat, too lazy and too wasteful.

We'd rather sit on our fat asses eating cheap, easy, unhealthy fast food than get up and cook - much less raise - our own food.

We need to change at a cultural level if we're going to live sustainably - but as long as processed food is cheap, easy and tasty - I don't think there's much hope that will happen.

CyborgSuzy said...

It's not just the animal protein. Vast monocultures of staple crops like wheat, corn and soy aren't terribly sustainable right now, either. We have to get protein from somewhere, and it's probably better to eat a burger made from a local family farmed cow than a soy patty.

Rinalia said...

I'll admit my preference: veganism. Sure, it's not entirely realistic, but I still think a plant-based diet is a lot more sustainable and can support more human mouths than an animal based diet.

I definitely agree monoculture is detrimental to the environment too, but I wouldn't agree that it is less environmentally friendly than even pasture-fed cow meat (or beef). It's straight from the source, feeds more people than one steer could, uses less water, etc. That's me simplifying the issue a whole lot, of course.

Urban gardening is starting to get a bit more popular and I hope to see more of that occur. There's something really cool about growing your own food, even while living in an urban environment.

Anonymous said...

Put a 25% tax on animal products(meat,cheese,milk eggs butter etc) and put a 25% credit on fruit vegetable and grain products.