Friday, August 21, 2009

Milk: Does it do everybody good?

According to a study done by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), dairy farming produces weak, starved, lame and infertile cows.

Dairy farmers breed cows for high yields of milk rather than endurance. The cows are kept indoors with zero grazing room and a large majority of their feed is used to produce milk. They become emaciated and weak and are led to premature slaughter.

Compassion in World Farming (CWF), an animal welfare charity in the UK, pleads with consumers to buy organic milk and dairy products.

"For far too long we have been milking cows beyond endurance. We need to breed a robust cow which can produce sustainable amounts of milk on pasture without mining her own body - a cow with a work-life balance," said Phil Brooke, a Welfare Development Manager at CWF.

Other products are available in addition to purchasing organic milk products:
organic soy milk
coconut milk
almond milk
rice milk

For those concerned about calcium-deficiency:

"You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein intake in the diet ,increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, exercising, and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans. You can also use calcium-fortified products such as breakfast cereals and juices, although these products provide more concentrated calcium than is necessary."-Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prius, Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs....Vegetarianism?

“If we want to fight global warming through the food we buy, then one thing’s clear: We have to drastically reduce the meat we consume,” -Tara Garnett of London’s Food Climate Research Network.

According to an article in Audubon Magazine, livestock production is responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gases. These gases are emitted when we burn fossil fuels. Those who eat less meat can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 250 gallons less per year (vegans), or 160 gallons less (vegetarians).

All of the energy used towards the production of chickens, cows and other livestock has the potential to serve dozens of beneficial purposes. It can be as simple as cutting down meat intake to once or twice a week.

Mike Tidwell, the author of the article, discusses buying local and organic, as well. While these practices are good in theory and have the potential to be less harmful, this is not always the case.

Cows and sheep- ruminants- emit harmful gases during their natural digestive process: methane and nitrous oxide. Organic or not, animals continue to emit these gases.

Ironically enough, buying chicken organically can be more harmful than purchasing conventionally-raised chicken. Tidwell's article cites data released in 2007 by Adrian Williams of Cranfield University in England:
"...when all factors are considered, organic, free-range chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming than conventionally raised broiler birds. That’s because “sustainable” chickens take longer to raise, and eat more feed. Worse, organic eggs have a 14 percent higher impact on the climate than eggs from caged chickens."