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.
THIS FAO REPORT STATES:
“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…”
THE SOLUTIONS THAT FAO SUGGESTS:
“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.”
WHY FAO’S REPORT IS BULLSHIT:
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.”)
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE – INTERNATIONAL OVERVIEW
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.
TO LEARN MORE:
“Right on the money” articles by Marti Oakley:
Excellent articles by Cassandra Anderson:
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