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Sustainable meat, undercover videos, Clinton speaks truth and hunting dog research

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Are the benefits and possibilities of “environmentally sustainable” meat production overblown?

Are the benefits and possibilities of “environmentally sustainable” meat production overblown?

Those who favor “grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured options” over industrial animal production have several issues to address, said James McWilliams in a recent New York Times op-ed. No fan of industrial animal production, McWilliams nonetheless concludes that the practices listed above are “ultimately a poor substitute for industrial production. Although these smaller systems appear to be environmentally sustainable, considerable evidence suggests otherwise.”

Butting heads with several advocates of the animal/earth-friendly practices, McWilliams points to their consequences and unanswered criticisms. Among them: increased methane emissions, land-use issues, nutrient and manure management.

Farmers could exploit “animals only for their manure, allowing them to live out the entirety of their lives on the farm, all the while doing their own breeding and growing of feed” writes McWilliams. “But they’d better have a trust fund.”

Read the piece here.

A trust fund might also be needed to pay whistleblowers’ legal bills if Missouri House legislation passes. Aimed at undercover activists, the proposed law would make it illegal to “produce or distribute photos, videos or audio recordings of the activities at an agricultural facility without the consent of the owner,” according to reports.

Those weary of surreptitiously-obtained videos of unsanitary conditions and distressed animals bound for slaughter have been the impetus for the bill.

See more here.

Taking a break from international travels, on April 14, President Clinton was at the University of Arkansas to speak on agricultural, food and life sciences. Providing no comfort to those who will be impacted by a new farm bill, Clinton said he was "shocked to realize how little people in Washington, in both parties, knew about agriculture."

For more, see here.

Hunters – especially those who enjoy watching dogs work – should take a quick look at a recent study conducted among indigenous Central American subsistence hunters in the rainforest.

Researchers have found that while on the hunt “older and male dogs seem to enjoy better success rates than do younger and female dogs. Also, dogs are more suited to wildlife sustainability than other hunting options. Hunters with firearms tend to disproportionately hunt prey that lives in trees, including slow-breeding primates, whereas hunters with dogs tend to harvest relatively fast-breeding animals.”

For more, see here.

Further “as both male and female dogs reach three years of age, they tend to increase their hunting success and produce greater harvests.”

Does that also hold true for hunting dogs here in the United States? I’d ask my border collie mix, but he’s too busy chasing squirrels in the backyard.

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