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Lindsey Kuper

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Would you like death with that? [Mar. 10th, 2006|04:41 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

jwz makes note of an article about a farm worker and his son who died after entering a manure pit on a dairy farm. My comment:

There have been a number of accidents like this. Manure pits are deadly, but they're the de facto way of handling waste in large-scale confinement animal feeding operations, because it's much easier to shoot a high-pressure hose at 25,000 pounds of shit per day than it is to shovel it.

Really, there isn't a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective way to deal with that much manure that close together. Yet another reason why large-scale CAFOs are a Bad Idea.

Here's an article by a Midwestern ag economist about large-scale feeding operations that I recommend taking a look at if you're unaware of the issues involved. It starts off dispassionately enough, but by the end he's talking revolution. It's pretty hard to stay impartial and let-the-free-market-decide after hearing enough stories like this one. I come from several generations of Iowa livestock farmers; believe me, I don't have any qualms about raising animals for food, or about eating animal products in and of itself. But stories like this are the reason I quit buying meat and dairy that aren't sustainably produced.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-03-13 02:54 am (UTC)
more and more i've been realizing: food is politics
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-03-13 11:44 pm (UTC)

You might appreciate "The Oil We Eat":

Agriculture is a recent human experiment. For most of human history, we lived by gathering or killing a broad variety of nature’s offerings. Why humans might have traded this approach for the complexities of agriculture is an interesting and long-debated question, especially because the skeletal evidence clearly indicates that early farmers were more poorly nourished, more disease-ridden and deformed, than their hunter-gatherer contemporaries. Farming did not improve most lives. The evidence that best points to the answer, I think, lies in the difference between early agricultural villages and their pre-agricultural counterparts—the presence not just of grain but of granaries and, more tellingly, of just a few houses significantly larger and more ornate than all the others attached to those granaries. Agriculture was not so much about food as it was about the accumulation of wealth. It benefited some humans, and those people have been in charge ever since.

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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-03-15 12:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! A very good read.
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