Horse News

The U.N. and “Livestock’s Long Shadow”

Original Story by Debbie Coffey from the PPJ Gazette

Wild Horses Degrading the Range: Neigh or more accurately, MOO!

In 2006, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Livestock Environment and Development (LEAD), supported by US AID and the World Bank, put out a 416 page report titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow.”  Statements made in this document should make American ranchers and farmers look for the United Nation’s long shadow over their land and water.

We’ll start off with some points the FAO made in the report, then some of their solutions (which, by the way, seem a lot like communism).  Then I’ll tell you why I think this report is, pardon the pun, bullshit.


“The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. 

The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.”

“The environmental impact per unit of livestock production must be cut by half,  just to avoid increasing the level of damage beyond its present level.”

LAND DEGRADATION“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. The total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet. In addition, the total area dedicated to feedcrop production amounts to 33 percent of total arable land. In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.”

ATMOSPHERE and CLIMATE – “With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race.  The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent.”

WATER – “The world is moving towards increasing problems of freshwater shortage, scarcity and Depletion…The livetock sector is a key player in increasing water use, accounting for over 8 percent of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feedcrops…in the United States, with the world’s fourth largest land area, livestock are responsible for an estimated 55 percent of erosion and sediment, 37 percent of pesticide use, 50 percent of antibioticuse, and a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources. Livestock also affect the replenishment of freshwater by compacting soil, reducing infiltration degrading the banks of watercourses, drying up floodplains and lowering water tables.  Livestock’s contribution to deforestation also increases runoff and reduces dry season flows.”

BIODIVERSITY“Livestock now account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife. Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species.”

“…livestock actually detract more from total food supply than they provide.  Livestock now consume more human edible protein than they produce. In fact, livestock consume 77 million tonnes of protein contained in feedstuff that could potentially be used for human nutrition…”


“Many producers will need to find alternative livelihoods.” 

“Small family-based livestock producers will find it increasingly difficult to stay in the market, unless effective organizational arrangements, such as contract farming or cooperatives, can be designed and used… the loss of competitiveness requires policy interventions, not necessarily to maintain smallholder involvement in agriculture, but to provide opportunities for finding livelihoods outside the agricultural sector and to enable an orderly transition.” 

“By restricting access to grazing land, for example, land and related feed resources become relatively scarce, so technical change will move towards making more efficient use of these resources…The same applies to all other natural resources that feed into the livestock production process, such as water or nutrients. Likewise, new costs associated with… livestock production, such as emissions of ammonia or other forms of waste, will lead to increased efforts towards their avoidance.”

“Most frequently natural resources are free or underpriced, which leads to overexploitation and pollution. Often perverse subsidies directly encourage livestock producers to engage in environmentally damaging activities… One requirement for prices to influence behaviour is that there should be secure and if possible tradable rights to water, land, use of common land and waste sinks.”

“Public policies need to protect and enhance public goods, including the environment. The rationale for public policy intervention is based on the concept of market failures. These arise because many local and global ecosystems are public goods or “commons,” and the negative environmental impacts that livestock have on them are “externalities” that arise because individual economic decisions usually consider only private individual costs and benefits.”

“Achieving greater efficiency in irrigation in the broader sense may mean giving up water to other sectors where it has higher value uses, even if sometimes that implies reducing the value of agricultural output.”

“…the removal of subsidies has been shown to have a strong potential to correct some of the environmental damage caused by livestock production.” 


The United Nation’s FAO, along with its CODEX ALIMENTARIUS, has been PUSHING ANIMAL CLONING FOR YEARS.  So this issue isn’t about too many animals on the earth, or the environment, or feeding the hungry – it’s most likely about who owns the patents for the cloned animals and biotechnology, and who will own and control all food (and people, land and resources) in the future.

FAO issued a statement about cloned animals:

“The statement was published in March 2000 on the occasion of the ‘Codex Alimentarius Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology’ meeting in Japan.

Biotechnology provides powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture…When appropriately integrated with other technologies for the production of food, agricultural products and services, biotechnology can be of significant assistance in meeting the needs of an expanding and increasingly urbanized population in the next millennium.”

(Apparently, this urbanized population would be increased after they run small farmers and ranchers off their land and force them to find “alternative livelihoods.”)


On the U.S.D.A website, there is a page with an “International Overview” stating “All of agriculture has become global. For example, the success of the U.S. farm sector is increasingly dependent on our ability to trade and compete with other nations. Similarly, the science of agriculture depends on international research partnerships to address national issues of food safety, sustainability, resource management, biotechnology, and crop and livestock disease prevention.

In 2007, the U.S.D.A. signed an agreement with the FAO to support the development of sustainable agriculture (agricultural biotechnology) in developing countries.

U.S.D.A.’s CSREES has been actively promoting animal cloning and biotechnology.  (It’s ironic that the U.S.D.A. also has the National Invasive Species Information Center.)

In a U.S.D.A. Foreign Agricultural Service document, Framework Agreement on Increased Cooperation between U.S.D.A. and the FAO, the U.S.D.A. was to agree to “further USDA’s goal of cooperating with international agricultural organizations in activities that promote and further develop the global agricultural system.  USDA will provide funds and resources to support FAO projects that advance that goal, that advance FAO’s work towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries, and that contribute to the realization of FAO’s programme of work/mid-term strategy as approved by FAO’s Governing Bodies.”

U.S.D.A. was also to agree that No member of the United States Congress will be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement or any subsequent Programme Agreement, or to any benefit arising thereof.”

What about the U.S. Constitution?  What about the American taxpayers, who pay for FAO’s projects while we have cuts to our Social Security?

The U.N.’s Agenda 21 (Chapter 38) states: All agencies of the United Nations system have a key role to play in the implementation of Agenda 21.”  Is the FAO, with the help of the U.S.D.A., implementing Agenda 21 in America?

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I’ve been going to the roundups of our wild horses (the Bureau of Land Management is removing the wild horses from their federally protected Herd Management Areas, then leasing the same land for $2 an acre for oil and gas lease sales, or permitting new mining and mining expansions to foreign owned companies).  Some ranchers think these wild horse roundups will help them gain more grazing for their livestock.  I think the wild horses are the canary in the coal mine.  Ranchers, your cattle and sheep will be next.  As go these American icons that stand as symbols of our freedom, so goes our freedom.      


“Right on the money” articles by Marti Oakley:

Excellent articles by Cassandra Anderson:



Click (HERE) to Visit the PPJ Gazette

23 replies »

  1. I think some of the points are valid. Where they are headed with these findings is what is troubling, as the PPJ points out. Scary, very, very scary.

    Excellent comment “….the canary in the coal mine…” and the absolute truth.


  2. While I am not addressing alterior motives for cloning, many of their statements are true. Raising animals for food is a wasteful, harmful and inefficient way to raise food (it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat). The environmental impact of the waste, the chemicals fed to food animals to keep them from getting sick because they are in confined areas (factory farming and CFO’s), and the water, soil and air pollution data are hard to ignore. The UN is strongly recommending we (as a world) move towards a more plant based diet to conserve food (feed the hungry), and preserve our environment. This should be taken seriously because we cannot continue to polute and expand at these rates. Food animal production is also the leading cause of deforestation. We feed 70% of US grain to food animals. We could wipe out starvation with the grain we feed to food animals. Think about that. This is a huge issue which includes social justice issues, environmental issues, and of course political ones too. If the cattle were removed from the public grazing lands, there would be plenty of room for the mustangs who belong there and have the legal right to be there.


  3. hi Valorie, why isn’t the U.N. coming out about all the fracking and water contamination caused by oil and gas and also water use and contamination by mining? If it did, the BLM wouldn’t be quadrupling the permits for these activities. Look at some of the NEPA projects from BLM field offices. We won’t be able to grow veggies or a stalk of corn without water. Even IF all cattle grazing on public lands ended today, the BLM would still remove all of the wild horses off the public lands. It’s about the land and water. This is a HUGE issue, and I hope you read some of the articles on the LEARN MORE under my article. Best, Debbie


    • PPJ (?) did a big thing on “Water Wars” and RT posted here 5-10 blog posts back….check it out. Good stuff and the UN is talking water too in that previous post.


  4. Excellent article by Debbie. Anyone that takes figures and statistics spewed out by the FAO or the UN as unadulterated truth probably would also believe BLM range assessments and wild herd counts used to justify removal of tens of thousands of mustangs and burros. Huge bureacratic organizations do not hesitate to invent statistics or formulea for producing them that serve to further an agenda that, if or when adopted will result in more power accruing to that organization. Sorry, but that is historical fact.
    This “study” by the FAO is totally self serving and designed to play on peoples’ fear of pending starvation unless they bow down and let the UN save them from their folly. What is the bottom line of the FAO solution? More control of individuals and nations, Where and how people would be allowed to live and even more crucially, what and how much they would be permitted to eat. Control the production and distribution of food and you have control of the population. Simple. And how do you do that? One step at a time while people are asleep or easily misled by fear mongering and scary statistics published by governments that claim to only be concerned with the welfare of individuals. They DO NOT CARE about you or saving the environment! They are only interested controlling you. They want docile subjects that will keep working and producing for them. Raise your hand if you can spell NWO and understand what it would ultimately turn in to then spell dictatorship.
    There isn’t time, space, or reader indulgence to say much more here but if humans don’t stop trying to adjust Nature to operate the way they think it should …. So it takes X lbs of grain to produce X lbs of meat. Well guess what, that is the way that animal was designed and created by an intelligence much higher than any mortal human will ever attain. And grain or other vegetation being fed to food animals ultimately becomes food for humans. Those who want to protest the inefficiency of that transfer of energy is free to stop eating whatever they want to. Just don’t try to force everyone else to follow the same path unless they so choose. History will tell what that ultimately leads so.


  5. Don’t forget all of the “feed” crops that are now being used for alternate fuels such as ethanol. If the powers that be were concerned about feeding the hungry, they would not be using food for fuel. While the horse advocates and ranchers are fighting one another, the government is systematically selling our public lands to foreign interests.


  6. Thank you Debbie…as always, right on point! We have all suspected that there is much more to this than we realized.


  7. Some people should do their homework before replying. I have a degree in Animal Science, and I have studied this industry for 20 years. Growing animals for food is an inefficient way to raise food – FACT. Factory farming is hurting our environment- FACT. Eating animals is also hurting our health- FACT. If you want to get mad a someone— get mad at our government for providing corporate WELFARE to the meat and dairy industry by allowing them to buy corn and soy CHEAP so that they can produce meat cheap. The meat and dairy industry LIES to the public telling us how healthy their fat laden, cholesterol laden, toxic antibiotic laced product is. Talk about people being asleep. I love how anytime anyone talks about meat in this country people start saying we shouldn’t PUSH ideas on other people. REALITY is REALITY. No one is telling you what to eat, just stating the facts and the fact is that the UN could care less what WE do. I guess no one is interested in preserving our planet, feeding starving people or caring about what happens to animals? Selfish concerns are what get us into messes over and over again. Remember the stock market crash? The banks collapsing? We have to think about the others on this planet too….


    • Perhaps some people are a little sensitive and some comments were misinterpreted. There was no intent to criticize points made as most were very valid as are your additional ones below. Certainly any anger is directed at our government policies and the monumental mess they have created and not at any individuals sharing information here. No one was trying to defend the status quo because it is indefensible and it is correct that we have been lied to for decades, Each person’s viewpoint here is valued. Just one thing, as an organization the UN does care about eventually gaining control over people. They are totally corrupt and this FAO appears to be laying the groundwork for proposing more regulations regarding food production.


  8. Hey, for those of you wanting to educate yourself about this complex issue, there are lots of resources including:
    Food, Inc.
    Forks over Knives
    Peaceable Kingdom
    The China Study


  9. One more thing…..when we fight for our mustangs and for horses to be safe from brutal slaughter…you must realize that we are fighting the biggest INDUSTRY in our country… the meat and dairy industry. They are our biggest opponents. Why? Simple…they want their cattle to roam public lands. They know that if we condemn horse slaughter because it’s inhumane, they know eventually we would have to extend that belief to other animals like cows and pigs. This is what we are up against, and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the public records of who’s lining who’s pockets in congress. The meat and dairy industry OWN our government. You are right when you say that if they control the food industry they control the people. That is true, and they have us by the balls. They also control the many farmers and suppliers and exploit and abuse them too. This is a huge social justice issue.


    • I’d say energy and mining are the most powerful….and usually, both are invested some way in corporate Ag.

      Can’t remember the exact title, but “Diet for a Small Planet” was pretty good on this subject decades ago. Another one is “Fields without Dreams” (small, family farm v. corporate factory farms, Ag loan and subsidy system).

      The UN is about one of the most corrupt orgs in the world….they can’t handle money or programs or peacekeeping worth a diddly damn.


  10. One has to wonder whether there are waring factions within the U.N. We DO know that we are seeing an erosion of individual rights. Small farmers and ranchers are fighting for their lives right now. Control the food supply and you control EVERYTHING. The world is filled with people who are just fighting to survive. I think that most of us, here, are trying to get at the truth, which is often well hidden. Each bit of information that is uncovered leads to more questions. We are sifting through a lot of information.


  11. Yes, Louie, and it’s really easy to stick your head in the sand and not pay any attention. In the US, the average American is more concerned with what Paris Hilton is wearing than the real issues. If we want to leave anything to our children, we have to pay attention, get the facts and try to make good choices. The truth is scary, that is for sure. We have to move towards more sustainable agriculture, and there is a movement to get back to small farmers and farms. I am a farmer too– Hay farming. We also have to look out for our health and welfare and not believe everything we read and hear. Proactive is the way to go, but you do have to sift through lots of information. A return to some common sense (if there is any left) is neccessary for all our survival.


  12. Here’s the link to Debbie’s PPJ “Water Wars”:

    Actually, I think this is the UN water link, but both are worth reading/rereading:

    The UN couldn’t fight it’s way out of a wet paper bag….they would committee it to death and in the meantime, embezzle all the funds.


  13. The UN report does correctly signal that the overemphasis on livestock production is causing enormous problems for the survival of life on Earth. Now how this basic and irrefutible fact is dealt with, how each one of us and each culture responds to this, will vary. But the fact that we had better respond and immediately in a way that cancels out the deleterious effects of so much absurd emphasis on livestock is also irrefutible. Vegetarians and particularly vegans will find much justification in this report.


  14. All of the posts are so right on. Americans have truly been asleep at the wheel while most have accepted the BS and rhetoric coming from the Ag industry. Gee, I wonder why we have a bunch of fat is not only the sedimentary life with the tv and computer games, but the hormones injected in some of the animals to blow them up to get them to slaughter as quick as possible. How about the antibiotics? Why is it that some antibiotics are failing to work? It is a silent immunity. Can anyone in the Ag business be trusted? How about feeding animals off of the remains of other dead animals? Sounds disgusting? I wish I could grow my own veggies beyond the northern growing season. I don’t push my opinions on others, but do some research on your own and you may have a change of mind. Who really owns and operates our country? Its time for Americans to take back this country. And it starts with this issue. Corruption is so deep seated, its unbelievable. But we have an opportunity to save our Mustangs & Burros. We must push for SB 1176 which will provide protection for our wild horses, burros and domestic equines. Its too bad that we couldn’t put clusters of people together all over the country to file charges against the BLM as individual Americans.


  15. Thank you Craig and Gail. While I don’t trust the UN or any other Ag or governmental agency, alot of what the UN says is true. We have to take a hard look at our food system which has been getting worse and worse the last 10-20 years. They will put anything in our food and they get away with it. It is literally not safe to eat. They do grind up dead chickens and feed them to cows. They grind up dead dogs and cats and feed them to other dogs and cats. The list of underhanded and nasty things they do in the name of “progress” is staggering. We need to start investigating and learning more so that we can do something about it. We are all getting screwed…..:(


  16. From Debbie Coffey
    Valorie, you seem to have missed the point of this article. Which is that WHILE the U.N. says livestock is bad for the environment, they are PUSHING CLONED livestock.


    • I got it…and that isn’t the only point (cloning) that rankled my hackles about the UN report.

      What I did say is that they (UN) did get many points right; the use of that info is what disturbs me greatly.

      I also said many aspects of the UN (money management, effectiveness, enforcement) are well below acceptable, competent standards for humans and the environment.

      The water article at PPJ was relevatory and informative.

      Keep up the good work….going to Reno?


    • p.s.

      “………The United Nation’s FAO, along with its CODEX ALIMENTARIUS, has been PUSHING ANIMAL CLONING FOR YEARS. So this issue isn’t about too many animals on the earth, or the environment, or feeding the hungry – it’s most likely about who owns the patents for the cloned animals and biotechnology, and who will own and control all food (and people, land and resources) in the future……”

      Uhhh..yeah, it’s is exactly with what you disagree, specifically with sentence number 2 for me. Yes, I understand that it isn’t the most important point to you and that cloning advocacy is a contradiction and the sore point with you. But I take the reverse position, livestock production is a foundation in the problem of food, food safety and the so-called global economy (which is basically an excuse for corporate rape and control of world food markets….to include water) with a ton of “energy” soothing, hypnotizing speak to boot.


  17. I didn’t miss the subject matter, I just don’t think cloning will be cost effective ANY time soon. Why would an industry that only cares about the bottom line spend more money producing animals when they are doing it cheap now? Cloning is very expensive and it would add a lot of cost onto the bottom line. It’s kind of like, why would you do in vitro fertilization when you can get pregnant the old fashioned way?


    • But it is getting cheaper because of time, space and handling issues.

      Many species producers have been using IVF, manipulated insemination, etc for decades.


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