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rainbowgardener
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I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years now. While I believe that it is a healthier way to live for people, my reason for doing it is that it is clearly healthier for the planet. The main reason we are busy cutting down thousands of acres of Amazon rain forest daily is to try to ranch cattle on them for McDonald's.... It takes roughly 10 pounds of vegetable protein to produce 1 pound of animal protein (less for smaller animals like chicken, more for cattle). Also:

To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer." https://www.vegsource.com/articles/pimentel_water.htm

Then there's the methane they give off and the huge ponds of wastes in factory farms....
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garden5
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OK, Apple, the answer's on a previous page so you can rejoin the thread, now :lol:.

RBG, though not a vegetarian myself, I do think you are the healthier for your choice of diet. When you look at how our commercial meats are processed, it really does make you want to give them up. Also, there are quite a few reports coming out linking a large consumption of red meats to the possibility of contracting cancer.

Oh, and I hear your poultry zoning dilemma, Apple. I, too, would like some egg layers.
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sciencegal
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rainbowgardener wrote:To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer."
That's baloney. I raise a few beef steers or heifers every year. I put much more water on my small garden every day than my cattle drink.

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If I'm understanding the article, they are basing the water on irrigation. How much water it takes to grow hay and grain.
the data we had indicated that a beef animal consumed 100 kg of hay and 4 kg of grain per 1 kg of beef produced. Using the basic rule that it takes about 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of hay and grain, thus about 100,000 liters were required to produce the 1 kg of beef.
My relatives in North Dakota grow thousands of acres of grains. Wheat, canola, flax, etc... No irrigation. I believe it's called dry land farming.

Here on the island we raise meat livestock on pasture. Here again no irrigation. We have a average rain fall of 25". These same 25" of rain fall on my vegetable garden. So how can this be part of the formula.

The article didn't have enough information for me. They always seem to base meat production on the worse case scenario. CAFO ( Confined Animal Feeding Operations)

Eric

garden5
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sciencegal wrote:
rainbowgardener wrote:To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer."
That's baloney. I raise a few beef steers or heifers every year. I put much more water on my small garden every day than my cattle drink.

I think RBG may have been referring to commercially farmed cattle.
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DoubleDogFarm
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How, as a vegetarian, do you feel about paying astronomical water rates when your lifestyle choices mean you're likely consuming a fraction of the water each month that your meat-eating friends are guzzling each day?
This is another quote from the end of the article.

What about the water used to grow soy bean and the other grains we humans consume. The tone of the question above, makes me feel the story is bias.

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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The article's tone probably is biased, vegetarians do get a bit defensive at time. And it likely is talking about the "worst case scenario," the huge commercial farms. and CAFO's But that is where most of the beef that most Americans eat comes from. So it's not wrong, even though we can say there is another way and beef can be raised a different way.

Yes it takes water to raise the soybeans I eat. But the point is I eat them. I don't feed them to cattle, where it takes 10 pounds of them to make one pound of beef.
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sciencegal
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The majority of US beef cattle are free ranged. You cannot make any money raising cattle on hay or other feed that you bring them. Beef cattle breeds can subsist on low quality forage and little water. When old enough, they are brought off the range to feed lots where they are quickly fattened on grain. This is the negative part of cattle ranching because the grain makes the cattle sick and why many people are turning to grass fed. However, the cost of grass fed is extremely high. Also, grass fed beef, although much healthier, is leaner than grain fed which many people do not like.

Now, dairy cattle are a different story. That's why I also produce my own milk from grass fed goats.

I once read that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian it would require farming every inch of soil on the planet to feed them.

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rainbowgardener
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sciencegal wrote:
I once read that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian it would require farming every inch of soil on the planet to feed them.
You may have read that, but it doesn't make any sense. Eating lower on the food chain is way more efficient. Remember that ten pounds of vegetable protein to make one pound of animal protein?

I would like to see a citation about how the majority of cattle are farmed, but even if you are right about them being free ranged, that takes up huge amounts of land.

Here's something from wiki:

A 400-page United Nations report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that cattle farming is "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases".[39] The production of cattle to feed and clothe humans stresses ecosystems around the world,[38] and is assessed to be one of the top three environmental problems in the world on a local to global scale.[40]
The report, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the environmental damage from sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are cited as the greatest adverse impact with respect to climate change as well as species extinction. The report concludes that, unless changes are made, the massive damage reckoned to be due to livestock may more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle

vegetables take in greenhouse gases instead of giving them off....
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sciencegal
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rainbowgardener wrote:
sciencegal wrote:
I once read that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian it would require farming every inch of soil on the planet to feed them.
You may have read that, but it doesn't make any sense. Eating lower on the food chain is way more efficient. Remember that ten pounds of vegetable protein to make one pound of animal protein?
Remember that humans are animals so they also have to make pounds of animal protein out of plant protein in order to grow and survive. But, unlike ruminants such as cows, goats, and sheep, a vegetarian human must get all of their protein from the plant so will have a higher requirement than a strict herbivore for those pounds of plant protein.

Ruminants get most of their protein from digestion of rumen bacteria, not from plants. These bacteria are unique in that they can make use of plant cellulose, breaking it down and fermenting it for their own use. The byproducts of this fermentation in turn provides energy for the animal as well as all of its B vitamins and protein. Ruminants can live very nicely on very little plant protein. In fact studies were done on mature ruminants fed diets with no protein and they did just fine for a long time.

Plant cellulose (which consists of long chains of glucose molecules) is completely wasted on humans and other single stomached omnivores because they do not have the enzymes to break it down. Humans are much less efficient at using plants as food than ruminant herbivores -- they have to eat much more to get the same results. I'd like to see a human grow from 50 pounds at birth to close to 1000 pounds at 14 months old on grass alone.

When a creature that exists at the top of the food chain (a primary consumer which produces no food itself) eats only those organisms at the bottom of the food chain bypassing the natural steps of the food chain supply, the efficiency of converting food to energy is lost. I can't see how this saves the planet.
rainbowgardener wrote: I would like to see a citation about how the majority of cattle are farmed, but even if you are right about them being free ranged, that takes up huge amounts of land.
I don't have a citation, I just live in the west in the middle of cattle country so I see, experience and understand how much these animals eat and drink and how the land is used. Cattle are free-ranged on private, state and federal land (millions of square miles of it). The ranchers pay for grazing leases. If you want to accuse domestic grazers of causing climate change it would be hard to explain how the massive herds of buffalo, antelope, deer and elk would not have caused the same problem when they existed in herds of millions on US plains (far more than the number of cattle that now graze on the same land) hundreds of years ago.

In fact a ruminant that feeds on grass produces little methane and their rumens have a type of bacteria that utilizes the tiny amount of methane produced. Ruminants fed on grain produce more methane which escapes into the atmosphere.

Much of the science behind the global warming (climate change) scare is flawed, the data often hyper-inflated and not without its own political agendas (erosion of private property rights and other individual freedoms among them).

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