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Meet Horatio and Primrose two new additions to the Ahimsa herd. They are happy little calves and are looking forward to playing in the fields once spring arrives. Eventually Primrose will become a milking cow. Horatio will start training as a working ox when he gets to around three.
The organic advocate group The Soil Association says Organic Farming adopts a practical model for producing climate friendly food.
“This is because it is less dependent on oil-based fertilizers and pesticides and confers resilience in the face of climatic extremes. It also stores higher levels of carbon in the soil, and as a result if organic farming was common practise in the UK, we could offset at least 23% of agriculture’s greenhouse emissions.”
Using all organic products, a small UK company is paving the way for small businesses to not only come back, but succeed.
In these unstable economic times, this small company “What on Earth” appears to be flourishing.
Company Co-Founder and sales director Jeremy Jaffe puts the success down to the fact that the firm supplies smaller independent stores, rather than large, chain supermarkets.
The small London based company reports a very successful year, with an almost 50% increase in revenue from just below 3 million to 5 million last year.
Indeed, in 2011 it delivered more than half a million organic-based products to it’s customers. All organic, the company began 13 years ago with a humble organic pizza.
It has grown, grounded by an ethical and environmentally concious culture.
In the workplace, company director Jaffe says “We have very simple principles and always look for the simplest and most uncomplicated options-and they are often the best and most ethically-minded.”
In these sad days of Mega Dairies, Factory Farms and massive super-scale supermarkets, who complain bitterly of financial losses, this small, independent ethically minded company is a breath of fresh air.
Let us hope that this bodes well for the future.
Smaller, ethically and environmentally minded companies can exist alongside the giants. In fact it seems, they can thrive!
Here are some of our beautiful ladies peacefully grazing at our farm in Kent.
Universally Cows are seen as an emblem or symbol of peace. The word “bucolic” which refers to a pastoral scene, comes from the Greek word “boukolos”, which translates to cowherd.
Unlike most mammals, Cows do not fight over food, they are not generally agressive and even when being herded into slaughterhouses, to be killed for food, they simply look sad and don’t try to fight back.
They are often sociable, and form lasting friendships, prefering to spend more time with some Cows than others. They are known to be very affectionate to their caretakers, and those who take care of Cows seem to take on this quality too.
An afternoon spent watching the graceful, unhurrying grazing of a herd of Cows almost leaves us sleepy with peace and contentment. Feeding them some lettuce, apples and other tidbits can be addictive, as is their gracious company.
Our herd, live peaceful and safe lives. The threat of being sent to slaughter does not hang over them and they are not just a number. I sponsor a Cow named Tilly. Being part of a slaughter-free herd means that Tilly will live out her life naturally. She will not be pregnant most of her life, with babies torn from her shortly after birth. Her calves will join the dairy herd if female and be trained as oxen if male. Don’t tell me her milk does not get it’s sweetness from her life of contentment.
And then there’s the cultivation of friends. Tilly has one or two best girlfriends to chew the cud with. Her life is ordered, with purpose and the pace is slow.
Sometimes I envy her.
"Please stop killing us for meat, before it's too late."
In a recent National Geographic article, Charles Mann announced: ”Soil degradation is putting the future of the global population at risk.”
Civil unrest in Latin America, Asia and Africa have now been attributed to a lack of food and/or affordable food, as a result of poor soil.
In other countries such as Australia, and the nations of Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara, cattle grazing and feed-crop production on marginal lands; contribute substancially to desertification. Basically we’re adding chemicals to soil to mass produce feed for meat animals, and systematically killing the soil for future generations.
“Overgrazing and the intensive production of feed grain for cattle, and other meat animals results in high levels of soil erosion” according to Alan B. Durning of the World Watch Institute 1986.
So I’ve just said it, Alan Durning was saying it in 1986 and many other people have warned us since. Why does it feel that no one is listening? Perhaps we’re not speaking loud enough. Perhaps we’re being drowned out by the noise of the latest “must have” electronic gizmo or advertisements for “stuff” and recipes that more often than not, include meat to stuff ourselves with.
Right now the ads are everywhere for Turkey orders for the upcoming xmas holidays. These poor birds, days numbered are painfully hobbling about packed, often filthy holding cells. They limp on broken legs, because they’ve been bred to be plump and “juicy” and their spindly legs simply cannot support the weight needed for the dinner table. The grain they’re fed cripples not only these sad birds, but the future of our planet.
By 2030, the Earth’s population will reach 8.3 billion. But in what will we be growing food?
Over the past few centuries, mainly due to meat production, the USA has lost about 2/3 of it’s topsoil. And they consider themselves a super power? What of the rest of the world?
I wonder how many people would enjoy tucking into their Sunday roast beef quite as much, if a tag came with it announcing:
“One pound of beef from cattle raised on feedlots, represents the loss of 35lbs worth of topsoil. But hey, it’s traditional right, don’t worry about it. Enjoy!”
”Viral Storm: the dawn of a new Pandemic Age.” written by Nathan Wolfe is a true wakeup call.
Little do many of us realise that our modern way of living with it’s emphasis on factory farming, constant long-distance travel and over-used antibiotics, is creating a powder keg of destruction for our future.
The new movie “Contagion” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslett is actually loosely based on the research in Nathan’s book. Modern life has certainly made us more, not less vulnerable to a global pandemic.
Wolfe recounts the story of the first “bird flu” in 2003. A young boy brings home a sick chicken and dies 11 days later, drowning in his own fluids, beginning a global pandemic of epic proportions. Transmission of animal to human microbes, is the source of most global pandemics.
Although in his role as “Director of Global Forecasting” Wolfe goes all over the world hunting possible contagions; however despite that he says factory farms are actually a closer, more dangerous threat.
Since 2000 global meat production has risen by 20%. Using massive doses of antibiotics diseases to livestock have lessened, but new, more deadly viruses have emerged such as bird-flu, foot and mouth, and mad cow disease. Worldwatch state that, “cramped filthy conditions, in factory farms contribute to antibiotic resistance, making it more difficult to treat human as well as animal diseases.” Terrifyingly 80% of all antibiotics used, in 2009 were administered to animals, leaving just 20% to humans.
Industrial killing farms for meat animals contain over one billion cattle, one billion pigs and shockingly 20 billion chickens at any one time. Is it really a surprise that these factory farms have been described, by experts in their fields as “incubators” for infectious agents that can easily move to human populations, causing a deadly pandemic at any given time.
Perhaps a pandemic of global proportions has to be the only way humans come to their senses and stop slaughtering sentient beings for food? If that is the case, then we as a sentient species are certainly not as intelligent and superior as we believe.
I know many ethical people who agree in principle that slaughtering animals is wrong. Killing them for food also “seems” morally wrong they’ll nod, as they wander into a fast food restaurant and begin chewing on chicken bones or eating ground cows in the form of a greasy burger?
Could it be that they don’t equate the cooked “meat” they’re happily munching; with the terrified, screaming being, fighting hopelessly for it’s life that the “meat” was, days previously?
Vedic literature, 5000 years old states, “One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals.” Srimad Bhagavatam 7: 14-9
The Christian Bible also states “Thou shalt not kill.” Interestingly, it was not translated “Thou shalt not murder thy fellow man.” “Killing” seems to be talking about “all.”
A committed veggie I know happily states that meat eaters “should” be allowed to eat meat. He then adds, as long as they slaughter it themselves of course. There are very few (actually hardly any) meat-eating friends I know, who would be capable of this. That’s his point I suppose, but perhaps we can convert simply by the aroma, taste and uniqueness of meat-free food, rather than by trying to shock?
Many years ago another vegetarian friend prided himself on arriving to dinner, then announcing he was “Vegetarian” before the gathering (no doubt from a lofty height.) As there was no food he felt he could eat, he would proceed to munch a raw broccoli or cauliflower from the host’s frig. Meanwhile the company sat with him, self-conciously tucking into the prepared meal, with guilt-ridden apetites. I often wondered why he didn’t quietly tell the host beforehand, that he was veggie, and then offer to bring some food along to share, perhaps as an appetizer? This works very well, and people often ask you for the recipe!
Two cows in our herd are due to give birth in the next few weeks. We eagerly await the arrival of our newest members. If they’re female they’ll eventually join their mothers as dairy cows and the boys will eventually take their places as trained oxen. A quite different outcome than that of most calves. They’re usually sent to slaughter-houses soon after birth. The mother is beside herself with grief and we can only imagine what the baby goes through.
I believe education and not shock or belittlement is the key to moving towards a sustainable, vegetarian planet. When we begin to treat each other, human or other species with respect and appreciation for our uniqueness, we will be on our way. In the words of Steve Best:
“I define terrorism as any intentional act to injure or kill a living, sentient, innocent being for scientific, political or economic purposes.”
I presume “food” is one of the economical purposes he speaks of?