[ExI] Paleo diet and sustainability, again

J. Stanton js_exi at gnolls.org
Wed Apr 13 07:00:33 UTC 2011

> On Apr 12, 2011, at 5:44 AM, Dave Sill wrote:
>> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 8:48 PM, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
>>> Wait a second.  To raise cattle takes a lot of agriculture to grow enough
>>> vegetable matter to feed the cattle.
>> Not true. Cattle and other ruminants require no agriculture, just wild
>> forage.
> That is grossly inefficient for the size of the modern appetite for meat.

I do not think the word "efficient" means what you think it means.

Recall that the USA (one of the most productive nations in the world) is 
only 19% arable, and much of that only due to massive 
government-subsidized dams and irrigation projects.  It is maximally 
efficient to graze animals on land that cannot grow crops.

Also, I think Dave knows more about cattle than you or I do :)  I 
learned that lesson earlier.

>> The vast herds of buffalo that used to live in North America,
>> for example, weren't supported by agriculture. I can raise half a
>> dozen cattle on my 10 acres of pasture with no agriculture whatsoever.
> Sure.  Now try to scale it up..

Attempting to "scale up" food production is the cause of most of our 
problems.  It is most efficient and least damaging to grow and consume 
local food grown appropriate to the water, soil, exposure, and shade 
conditions of the land (see: "permaculture").  Yet we heavily subsidize 
industrial-scale farming that strip-mines topsoil, pollutes water, and 
requires massive energy input both for fertilizer and transportation.

Factory farming is destructive whether it produces cows or soybeans.

>>>  The amount of land needed for that is
>>> roughly 17 times as large as that needed for just growing human consumable
>>> vegetable matter on the same land.
>> Citation required.
> No, I have better things to do.

Then I have better things to do than read your posts.

You might consider that what vegetarian propaganda calls the 
"inefficiency" of animals grazing is, in reality, nutrients being 
returned to the land in the form of dung -- which actually *increases* 
the fertility and productivity of the soil vs. the dry, dead grass that 
would otherwise build up...

...and versus human consumption of grains and vegetables, which results 
in those nutrients being flushed into the nearest body of water.

Yes, properly managed grazing *creates* topsoil...which should be common 
sense, or the Serengeti and Great Plains would have blown away into dust 
tens of millions of years ago.  We're currently living on the drawdown 
of the accumulated capital of millions of years of grazing (among other 



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