Showing posts with label Meat Climate Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meat Climate Change. Show all posts

Pandemics Ahead

Pandemics Ahead is a series of articles looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters. The articles are excerpts from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

See also Meat Society, a series exploring issues related to curbing demand for animal products, an important climate change solution for individuals and nations alike, especially in Western states where meat and diary consumption dwarfs other regions. See also our COVID-19 Meat Pandemic Bibliography with a categorized listing of Online News and Reports (March to June, 2020).

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Manure and Disease

Pandemics Ahead: Number 10 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

According to the US EPA, food animal waste has polluted in excess of 27,000 miles of rivers and contaminated groundwater in dozens of states. In addition, the EPA determined that nitrate is the most widespread agricultural contaminant in drinking water wells, and estimates that 4.5 million people are exposed to elevated nitrate levels from wells.(923)

Tens of thousands of miles of rivers in the US, Europe, and Asia are polluted each year. In the US, approximately 40% of fresh water is deemed unfit for drinking or recreational use because of contamination by dangerous microorganisms, pesticides, and fertilizers. Upwards of 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure. Each year, waterborne diseases cause 940,000 infections and 900 deaths. And, pathogenic Escherichia coli and related food-borne pathogens account for 76 million infections and 5,000 deaths.(924)

Also, using human waste as fertilizer might be making humans infertile. Eating flesh from animals grazed on land treated with commonly-used “human sewage sludge-derived fertilizer” might have serious implications for pregnant women and the future reproductive health of their unborn children. Chemical contaminants in human-based manure can mimic sex hormones and disrupt ovary development, with the potential for long-term damage to adult female fertility.(925)

After a severe rainstorm in 1993, an outbreak of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee's drinking water supply caused 100 deaths, sickened 430,000 people, and produced $37 million in lost wages and productivity. Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina may have spawned outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida, killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss, and other cognitive problems in local people.(926)

In 1995 an eight-acre pig-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst, spilling 25 million gallons (9.4m liters) of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres (570 sq mi) of coastal wetlands. In 2011, an Illinois pig farm spilled 200,000 gallons (757,000 liters) of manure into a creek, killing over 110,000 fish.(927)

In February 2014, in Michigan’s Allegan County, a storm-water system failure at a cow milk farm with a 1-million-gallon (3.8m liters) manure lagoon spilled manure into nearby waterways, creating a visible plume five miles (8 km) long. In Canton, Minnesota, a wall on an above-ground manure storage tank broke in April 2013, spilling roughly 1 million gallons of manure.

In one of the largest cases of manure pollution, an estimated 15 million gallons (57m liters) of manure, water, and other matter spilled in 2010 into a slough that drains into the Snohomish River in Washington state, when a berm on a cow's milk farm’s manure lagoon failed. In 2005, 3 million gallons (11m liters) of manure spilled from a New York cow milk farm into a river, killing thousands of fish.

Chapter 25: WASTE POLLUTION, page 240 
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Mass Extinction

Pandemics Ahead: Number 7 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

Of all the species that have populated Earth at some time over the past 3.5 billion years, in excess of 95% have vanished, many of them in spectacular die-offs called mass extinctions. The permanent loss of large numbers of species over a relatively short period of geological time is known as a mass extinction. According to the fossil record, there have been five mass extinctions due to alterations in Earth's environment and atmosphere. Over half of all life on earth has been wiped out, repeatedly, during the past 500 million years. One cause is an oxygen-depleted ocean spewing poisonous gas as a result of planetary heating. 

The natural background extinction rate for mammals and birds is one species lost every 500 to 1,000 years.(869) Species extinction is occurring at 100 times the natural rate, and is expected to accelerate to between 1,000 and 10,000 times in the coming decades.(870) The current rate of extinction may already be as high as 10,000 times the natural rate.(871) At the upper annual rate of 0.7%, thousands of species are disappearing each year. If that trend continues, it could lead to a loss of 75% of species, or mass extinction, by 2200.

According to the UNEP, the Earth is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of life. This is due to neoliberal development policies and practices, which are based on reductionist, short-sighted, utilitarian views of nature. About 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate.

The current rate of biodiversity loss is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago. And the losses are occurring all over the planet, from the South Pacific to the Arctic and from the deserts of Africa to mountaintops and valleys of the Himalayas.(872) Precious life is being loss in the oceans, land and air. Up to 50% of known vertebrate species died off in the last 50 years. And, the remaining 50% could die off in the next 40 years. Threatened with extinction are 33% of reef-building corals, fresh-water mollusks, sharks, and rays. Plus, 25% of plants and mammals, 20% of reptiles, and 14% of birds.(873)

Of 3,000 wild species tracked since 1970, the overall decline in wildlife populations was 52%.(874) Once populations drop below 50%, this may culminate in unstoppable, irreversible, cascading extinctions and collapse. Over 75% of species loss is a mass extinction, and the Earth is rapidly approaching this point. The IUCN survey of species threatened with extinction catalogs over 17,000 groups. The list contains one in four mammals, one in three amphibians, and one in eight birds. 

The number is actually 50% higher because the survival of 6,300 non-threatened species depends on the existence of the threatened species cataloged. These figures may be much larger since only an extremely small proportion of possible and known species has been evaluated for threatened status. For land extinctions, the spread of agriculture has been the main driver, while overfishing and pollution have affected sealife. Species across land, rivers and seas are being decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats. The fastest decline among the animal populations was in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970.

The biggest declines in animal numbers were in developing nations. Conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements, but the big declines in wildlife in rich nations occurred long ago. Even so, biodiversity is still in decline in developed countries. Case in point, farmland birds in the UK, such as gray partridge, have declined by 50% between 1970 and 2012, mainly due to an intensification in farming. 

In effect, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife loss to the global South. This represents yet another aspect of global neocolonialism. Over a third of all the products of deforestation, such as animal carcass and soy for livestock feed, were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008. A 2°C (3.6°F) rise in warming may cause 15% to 40% of species becoming extinct.(875) If one species becomes extinct, this can have a chain-effect on others it interacts with. And, the extinction of a keystone species may cause a cascade of further extinctions. 

Around US$25 billion is needed annually to achieve effective global conservation.(876) Biodiversity-related aid has been falling, and in 2002, five agencies spent only US$1.5 billion on conserving biodiversity. The World Bank, Global Environment Facility, IUCN, Nature Conservancy, and Wildlife Conservation Society spent half of this aid in the US alone.

At COP21 in Paris, Germany, Norway and the UK pledged to support rainforest conservation efforts with about $1 billion per year through 2020. While this is a great start, a sum of $10 billion per year is needed to fully protect the 1.5 billion acres of tropical rainforest remaining. This commitment level from the developed world is a good start, given tropical forest's potential to lower global warming. Conversion to alternatives to fossil fuels is necessary but will cost trillions of dollars. Conservation requires just a fraction of that total.

Chapter 23: 6TH MASS EXTINCTION, pg 227 
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Biodiversity and Livestock

Pandemics Ahead: Number 6 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

Human carnivory is the single greatest threat to biodiversity.(863) Animal carcass and feedstock production are expanding quickly in biodiversity-rich developing countries. The sheer quantity of animals being raised for human consumption poses an enormous threat to the Earth's biodiversity. Livestock occupies up to 75% of all agricultural lands, 30% of Earth's land surface, and 20% of the total terrestrial animal biomass.(864)

The land area dedicated to producing domesticates was once habitat for wildlife. In 306 of the 825 terrestrial eco-regions, livestock is identified as "a current threat." And, 23 of Conservation International's 35 "global hotspots for biodiversity," characterized by serious levels of habitat loss, are affected by food animal production.(865) Much of the biodiversity loss due to agriculture is occurring in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and South-East Asia. 

Forests are either logged or burned to make room for grasslands, and often the area needed is extensive. Ruminant production can erode biodiversity through a dozen processes, namely (i) forest loss and degradation, (ii) land-use intensification, (iii) exotic plant invasions, (iv) soil erosion, (v) persecution of large predators, and (vi) competition with wildlife for resources. Deforestation can in turn create (vii) fragmentation, allowing only patches of habitat for species to live. If patches are distant and small, then (viii) gene flow is reduced and (ix) there will be a greater chance for invasive species to intrude. Fencing to convert an open range into ranches can (x) cut the migration routes of wild animals, and (xi) keep them away from waterholes. On top of this, (xii) fencing can trigger overgrazing by cattle. Also, hunting, fishing and other forms of exploitation are a major factor in declines in wildlife populations.(866)

The threat of extinction also affects food animals. Over 17% of the world's 8,774 agricultural breeds risk extinction. This is mostly due to the increasing worldwide use of non-native breeds and the neglect of breeds that are not “competitive” on the global market. Native food animals do not produce as much flesh, milk, eggs or other goods as the most popular commercial breeds.(867) There are a shocking 1,458 potential extinctions of all breeds of agricultural animals like cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens, due to disease, climate change, neglect, and inbreeding. Already 100 food animal breeds went extinct in this century.

Carbon footprints can serve as an approximate indicator of the environmental impact of domesticate production. One team comparing the carbon footprint (CF) and the volume of GHGs (greenhouse gas) emitted during the lifecycle of pig, chicken, and cow carcass production, discovered that how biodiversity is affected varies.(868) There can be contrasting effects from intensification. Higher intensities of production can allow larger areas to be left in its natural state. On the other hand, intensification involves greater use of pesticides, fertilizers, and monocropping locally, which threatens biodiversity around feed crops.

The CF of livestock acts as an indicator of acidification and eutrophication, as well. Improving the efficiency of nitrogen will lead to less eutrophying and acidifying substances being released into the environment, and to lower GHG pollution in N2O form. GHG mitigation strategies based on reduced livestock consumption likewise creates less acidification and eutrophication. Diminished GHG outflows due to lower food animal intake mean less land is required for feed production, so CF can act as a proxy for land use also. Although there are inconsistencies between CF of livestock and environmental impacts, CF can be used as part of the current momentum of carbon footprinting and pricing.

Chapter 23: 6TH MASS EXTINCTION, pg 226. Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Chicken Diseases

Pandemics Ahead: Number 5 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

In the UK, up to 19 million broiler chickens die in their sheds each year from heart failure. In the case of no ventilation due to a power failure during a heat wave, upwards of 20,000 chickens can die in a short period of time.(998) Chickens are susceptible to several parasites, like lice, mites, ticks, fleas, and intestinal worms, as well as other diseases.(999)

In epizoology, an epizootic is a disease that appears as new cases in a given animal population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is "expected" based on recent experience. That is, an epizootic represents a sharp elevation in the incidence rate. In contrast to an epizootic, common diseases that occur at a constant but relatively high rate in the population are said to be "enzootic,” like influenza virus in some bird populations. An epidemic is the analogous term applied to human populations. High population density is a major contributing factor to epizootics and vast amounts of antibiotics are used to keep diseases at bay in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operation), with varying success.

These are dozens of common diseases that affect chickens, including (i) Avian influenza or bird flu, a virus; (ii) Histomoniasis or Blackhead disease, a protozoal parasite; and (iii) Botulism, a toxin. There is also (iv) Campylobacteriosis caused by tissue injury in the gut; (v) Coccidiosis, a parasite; (vi) Dermanyssus gallinae or red mite, a parasite; (vii) Erysipelas, a bacteria; and (viii) Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome caused by high-energy food.

Besides, there is (ix) Fowl Cholera; (x) Fowl pox; (xi) Fowl Typhoid; (xii) Infectious Bronchitis, a virus; (xiii) Infectious Coryza, a bacteria; and (xiv) Necrotic Enteritis, a bacteria. In addition, there is (xv) Peritonitis caused by infection in abdomen from egg yolk; (xvi) Prolapse; (xvii) Pullorum or Salmonella, a bacteria; (xviii) Squamous cell carcinoma, cancer; (xix) Toxoplasmosis, protozoal parasite; (xx) Ulcerative Enteritis, a bacteria; and numerous others.

Diseases are critical to each individual food animal's health, as well as the industry overall because they often affect an animal's efficiency at converting feed to protein. These diseases can severely affect an animal's diet and efficiency. They can infect wild populations or jump the species barrier and infect humans and other nonhuman animals. Infections may lead to medical intervention, loss of the bird, and/or spread of disease, which proliferates GHG (greenhouse gas) pollution.

Chapter 27: PANZOOTIC, page 258.     Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Industrial Chicken

Pandemics Ahead: Number 2 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

Chicken, once a distant third to cattle and pig carcass, is now the most popular animal flesh in the US. The average American eats almost 84 pounds of chicken a year, more than twice the amount eaten in 1970. In 2007, 8.9 billion chickens were raised and sold as food in the US, a remarkable jump of more than 1,400% since 1950.(996)

Chicken farms have mushroomed in size. In 2006, a typical broiler operation produced an average of 605,000 birds in vast buildings of 20,000 square feet or more. Meanwhile, the number of individual farms raising chickens for food has plummeted by 98% in just 50 years. The industrialization and consolidation of the chicken business in the US have concentrated production in the 'Broiler Belt.' In this area, which extends from eastern Texas through the southeastern US and north to Maryland and Delaware, chickens outnumber people by as much as 400 to 1.

The waste produced by these concentrated poultry operations raises serious concerns about treatment and disposal, particularly along the shores of the largest estuary system in the US, the Chesapeake Bay. The 523 million chickens produced each year in just Maryland and Delaware generate roughly 42 million cubic feet (1.2bn liter) of chicken waste, enough to fill the dome of the US Capitol about 50 times, or almost once a week.

Industrial chicken production is the fastest growing and most quickly transforming segment of the highly globalized livestock industry. In 2010, there were 20 billion chickens, making them the world’s most numerous bird species By 2020, 124 million tonnes (273 billion lb) of chicken will be produced globally – a spike of 25% in just 10 years.

China’s production enlargement will be highest, a 37% upsurge compared to 2010. Brazil will be close behind at 28%. Below-average growth is forecast for the USA, at 16%, and the EU, at 4%.(997) The most striking climb in demand for chicken will take place in South Asia, where it is expected to jump greater than seven-fold by 2050. This extraordinary expansion is fueled by demand in India, where consumption is expected to climb nearly ten-fold, from 1.05mt to 9.92mt (2.3 billion to 21.8 billion lb) a year.

According to the FAO, this is due to rising per capita consumption rather than the growing human population. Most growth in demand comes from urban areas - double that in rural regions. Nevertheless, animal consumption in India is relatively small and per person it is less than one-tenth of the quantity consumed in China.

People prefer chicken to other types of carcass for many reasons, such as lower price and cultural preference. Producing chicken is cheaper than other types of domesticates, although disease and culling are widespread and growing. The cost of chicken production will rise along with feed, but chickens are more efficient feed converters than other livestock.

Unlike cow carcass and pig flesh, there are few religious or cultural limitations to eating chicken. Plus, food animal consumption is expected to rise in countries where people culturally prefer eating chicken. As a result, production facilities and processing will become increasingly concentrated with attendant panzootic risks.

In December 2012, Chinese national television exposed the “instant chicken” scandal associated with Liuhe, one of the country’s top chicken producers. Liuhe is a subsidiary of New Hope, the biggest feed company in China and one of the largest in the world. As many as 18 antibiotics were discovered in “cocktails” mixed into the feed to accelerate the growth of broilers. These birds could grow from 30 grams (1 oz) to 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) in a matter of 40 days.

Liuhe is one of KFC’s major suppliers. Repercussions from the scandal forced Yum Brands, KFC’s parent company, to admit that excessive drug residues had been observed in “some” chicken supplied by Liuhe in 2010. The scandal caused widespread outrage in the Chinese media, and KFC’s sales plunged. KFC responded by exerting further controls over its supply chain. The animal-processing company now owns all the inputs, controls the land and water resources, and employs the workers who produce the chickens, essentially turning farms into factories.

China is intensifying its chicken production, despite the widespread emergence of avian flu. First detected in 1996 in farmed geese in southern China, this disease has since spread to 60 countries. Since 2004, China has reported avian flu outbreaks every year except 2011.

Chapter 27: PANZOOTIC, page 257.     Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Regs to Nowhere

Pandemics Ahead: Number 1 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

In 1906, Upton Sinclair's seminal book, The Jungle, first brought the shocking details of the animal industry to the forefront of US national attention. A national outcry prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to task the USDA with the inspection of animal carcasses and slaughterhouses.(988) When Congress first addressed food safety issues, it concentrated on the meat processing industry with the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 that required meat processing to be continuously inspected. The US food processing sector is now extensively regulated by state and federal agencies.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011. The law grants FDA a number of new powers, like mandatory recall authority, which the agency has sought for many years. Notably, federal law still does not prohibit the sale of animal-based products that are infected with pathogens. In particular, it is not illegal for TFCs (transnational food corporations) to sell chicken products polluted with salmonella. Oddly, the USDA does not have the authority to shut down an animal-based agribusiness that fails too many tests. It can only step up inspections.

The USDA has pledged repeatedly to set limits for the most dangerous pathogens, salmonella and campylobacter, in animal-based products. Salmonella and campylobacter live in the guts of animals and can contaminate raw flesh when animals are slaughtered. The USDA's current expectation is that less than 44.6% of a plant’s ground chicken and 49.9% of a plant’s ground turkey should be infected with Salmonella.(989) This means around half of the total animal carcass production can be dangerously toxic and still be approved for consumption.

On January 21, 2015, the USDA finally proposed new testing standards for chicken and turkey aimed at reducing rates of salmonella and other bacteria. The proposed rules aim to reduce contaminant levels by about half, to 25% of tested samples.(990) This is still a dangerous amount of bacteria.

The USDA is not requiring chicken processors to take specific steps to reduce dangerous pathogens in their products. Instead, it is proposing limits on the number of chicken samples that can test positive for salmonella and campylobacter before a facility is deemed to have failed the standards. One of the agency's pilot program allows pig carcass producers to ramp up the speed of processing lines by 20% and cut the number of USDA safety inspectors at each plant in half, replacing them with private inspectors. This program fails to stop contamination, and USDA has allowed other countries to use equivalent methods in plants producing red meat for export to the US.(991)

The USDA's own report determined that livestock “plants have repeatedly violated the same regulations with little or no consequence.” And that inspectors did not “take enforcement actions against plants that violated food safety regulations.”(992)

Meat recalls due to contamination have become so commonplace that when the USDA announced in 2008 the recall of 143 million pounds (65m kg) of ground cow carcass, the largest recall in history, it hardly sparked much interest. Around 50 million pounds (22m kg) of that cow flesh went into school lunches and federal food programs for the poor and elderly.(993)

Livestock production creates a multitude of health issues for people and animals. In the US, chicken products contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella, cause a larger number of deaths than any other food product.(994) Numerous illnesses can quickly become life-threatening for food animals trapped in CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operation), and can spread rapidly under massed confinement.(995)

Chapter 27: PANZOOTIC, page 256.     Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Pandemics Ahead: Number 4 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

A panzootic is an epizootic or an outbreak of an infectious disease of animals, that spreads across a large region, like a continent, or even worldwide. The equivalent in human populations is called a pandemic. A panzootic can start when three conditions have been met: (a) the emergence of a disease new to the population; (b) the agent infects a species and causes serious illness; and (c) the agent spreads easily and sustainably among animals. 

A disease or condition is not a panzootic merely because it is widespread or kills a large number of animals; it must be infectious as well. Cancer is responsible for a large number of deaths but is not considered a panzootic because the disease is, generally speaking, not infectious.

Cattle plague is a panzootic that recurred throughout history, often accompanying wars and military campaigns. Cattle plague affected Europe especially in the 18th century with three long panzootic from 1709–1720, 1742–1760, and 1768–1786 that devastated thousands of herds. There was a major outbreak covering the whole of Britain in 1865/66. Later in history, an outbreak in the 1890s killed 80 to 90% of all cattle in southern Africa, as well as in the Horn of Africa. A hundred years later, rinderpest outbreak raged across much of Africa in 1982–1984, costing US$500 million in losses.

Avian flu is another zoonotic than can become panzootic. It is feared that if the avian influenza virus combines with a human influenza virus in a bird or a human, the new subtype created could be both highly contagious and highly lethal. 

In 1996, the UK slaughtered 4.4 million cattle to eradicate mad cow disease, while 400,000 were killed in 2001 in Germany. In 2009, Egypt ordered the cull of all pig herds, over 400,000 pigs, to avoid swine flu. In 2014 in the US, seven million piglets, or 10% of piglets born, died due to Porcine diarrhea virus.

In 2014 alone, a list of mass animal deaths contains dozens of incidents across the world. Concerns over avian influenza in South Korea led to 14 million birds being slaughtered in 2014, and 324,000 in China, another 46,000 in North Korea, 112,000 in Japan, 64,000 in Vietnam, 40,000 in Holland, 38,000 in Germany, 20,000 in Hong Kong, and thousands further in Nepal. In northeast China, after 18,000 geese died from H5N6 bird flu, and 69,000 were culled.(1003) 

In Beijing in 2014, 20,000 ducks died suddenly due to avian influenza, while 10,000 chickens died in Malaysia. And in Sweden, 24,000 chickens were slaughtered due to an outbreak of Paramyxovirus type 1 disease. On top of that, in 2014, thousands of chickens died in Indonesia from Boyolali coli disease. Farmers suspect that weather anomalies make their chickens susceptible to the disease.

In June 9, 2015, in excess of 10% of US chickens raised to produce eggs were killed by or because of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The H5N2 virus affected 39 million chickens—at least 33 million of which were laying hens—and 7 million turkeys.(1004)

After the outbreak of BSE in Europe, sanitary regulation required livestock carcasses to be collected from farms, and transformed or destroyed in authorized plants. This generated an unprecedented volume of GHG pollution. In Spain, carcass collection and transport to intermediate and processing plants meant the emission of 77,344 metric tons of CO2 eq. to the atmosphere per year, in addition to annual payments of $50 million to insurance companies. So replacing the ecosystem services provided by scavengers has conservation costs, and unnecessary environmental and economic costs as well.(1005)

Accretionary animal die-offs due to climate change and zoonetic illness in CAFOs will lead to higher CO2 discharges and a larger energy footprint for the industry, making it inefficient and unsustainable to a larger extent. The industry has failed to come to grips with the hazards of extreme weather and climate warming, and is over-using antibiotics on factory farms in a desperate attempt to control disease. Veterinary medicine use is predicted to intensify as disease burdens swell due to varied climate effects.(1006)

Factory farming poses considerable challenges for global warming, environmental and public health, farmers’ livelihoods, and animal welfare. Even as factory farming bears significant responsibility for planetary warming, it also numbers among the industries that will feel the impact of climate change most keenly. Millions of animals die or are culled by animal agribusinesses, and better management can improve livestock survival under climate and disease stress.

A virtues-based approach could improve our thinking and practice regarding animal agriculture, and facilitate a move from livestock production back to animal husbandry. Although of limited value, this approach centers on attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and responsiveness as part of mitigation.(1007)

Chapter 27: PANZOOTIC, page 260.     Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Avian Flu

Pandemics Ahead: Number 3 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial chicken practices. Intensified stocking rates enhance the danger that crowded conditions in chicken farms will allow avian influenza to spread quickly. Waterfowl such as wild ducks are thought to be primary hosts for all bird flu subtypes. Though normally resistant to the viruses, the birds carry them in their intestines and distribute them through feces into the environment, where they infect susceptible domestic birds.(1001)

Sick birds pass the viruses to healthy birds through saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Within a single region, bird flu is transmitted readily from farm to farm via (a) airborne feces-contaminated dust and soil; (b) by contaminated clothing, feed, and equipment; or (c) by wild animals carrying the virus on their bodies. The disease is spread from region to region by migratory birds and through international trade in live birds. Humans who are in close contact with sick birds, like chicken farmers and slaughterhouse workers, are at the greatest danger of becoming infected. Besides chicken, virus-contaminated surfaces and intermediate hosts such as pigs can be sources of infection for humans. 

According to the WHO, 622 people were infected with H5N1 between 2003 and 2013, and about 60% of those individuals died. The majority of human H5N1 infections and deaths occurred in Egypt, Indonesia, and Vietnam.(1002) Small outbreaks of bird flu caused by other subtypes of the virus have occurred in the past. A less severe form of disease associated with H7N7 was reported in the Netherlands in 2003, where it caused one human death but led to the culling of thousands of chickens. Since then the virus has been detected in the country on several occasions.

A Chinese vaccine was made with H5N1 antigens, but chickens still get infected. And there is drift when the virus mutates in response to the antibodies. Now there are five or six versions of H5N1. Keeping wild birds away from domestic birds help to lessen the spread of H5N1. In 2013, a strain of H7N9 capable of causing severe pneumonia and death emerged in China, with the first confirmed cases detected in February that year and dozens of others reported in the following months. It was the first H7N9 outbreak reported in humans.

The medical industry and scientific community recognize the danger. A UN press release states, "Governments, local authorities and international agencies need to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory-farming, commerce in live, and wildlife markets which provide ideal conditions for the virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form..." Still, doctors and bureaucrats may be powerless against the livestock industry.

Chapter 27: PANZOOTIC, page 259.      Previous  |  Home   |  Next

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Carnism and Climate Justice

Carnism and Climate Justice
by Moses Seenarine, 01/16/18

Inclusive wealth is the sum of a community's capital assets, including natural assets like fish or trees, but also human health and education, as well as built assets like roads, buildings and factories. A changing climate can reallocate natural capital, change the value of all forms of capital, and lead to mass redistribution of wealth.

"Inclusive wealth" is shifting out of the temperate zones and toward the poles as global temperatures rise. Climate change is thus taking inclusive wealth from the poor and giving to the rich. This reallocation of resources from the global South to the global North should be an essential part of climate justice.

Climate justice advocates view planetary heating as an ethical issue and scrutinize how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice, particularly environmental justice and social justice. Climate justice is a struggle over land, forest, water, culture, food sovereignty, collective and social rights. It is a struggle that considers “justice” at the basis of any solution. This can mean examining issues such as equality, human rights, collective rights and historical responsibility in relation to environmental degradation and climate warming. Recognizing the fact that those least responsible for climate chaos will experience its greatest impacts is central to climate justice.

Advocates point out that there are racial and class differences in responses to social and environmental disasters, like with Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Katrina culminated in the displacement of 400,000 individuals along the US Gulf Coast and disproportionately affected low-income and minority victims. The groups most vulnerable to the Katrina disaster were the poor, black, brown, elderly, sick, and homeless. Similarly, when Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, 33% of individuals in the storm surge area lived in government-assisted housing, and half of the 40,000 public housing residents of the city were displaced.

Katrina, Sandy, and other disasters show that climate inequalities are horizontal as well as vertical. For example, (i) women face greater endangerment than men; (ii) rural communities are exposed to a larger extent than urban ones; and (iii) groups marginalized because of class, race, ethnicity, migration and other factors are likely to be disproportionately affected.

The global livestock sector is part of the reallocation of the global South's resources to the global North. The food animal industry is a slower and less noticeable environmental disaster than a hurricane, but it is more widespread and involves far greater forms of human and nonhuman animal oppression. Loss of land rights, indigenous dispossession, trafficking and sexual oppression are part and parcel of the livestock sector, so food animal production and consumption are essential climate justice issues. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Where the Left Turns Right: Carnism and Colonialism

Where the Left Turns Right: Carnism and Colonialism
by Moses Seenarine, 01/16/18

Livestock is related to colonialism, racism, and classism. Geologist Tony Weis in his book, The Ecological Hoofprint - The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock, explains how the growth and industrialization of livestock production were instrumental to European colonialism and imperialism, and to worsening human inequality in the present. For centuries, over the course of European colonial domination and expansion worldwide, livestock production enlarged through intention and accident.

Livestock was a profound part of European conquest of thousands of indigenous groups, and their subsequent extraction and under-development policies on local lands. From mining and logging to plantations and trade, livestock was instrumental in land dispossession, indigenous genocide, extraction of minerals, and ecological disaster. In Brazil and elsewhere, the growth of cattle facilitated the colonial economy's expansion into the forests and indigenous communities, and continues to do so in the present-day. 

Unequal consumption of animal-based foods was a critical aspect of colonialism, class differentiation and white supremacy. Eating animal carcass was a prized demonstration of class status in England, first among the nobility and later for emergent capitalist elites. And, progressively, consumption of animal flesh became a strong working class aspiration as well. Across Europe and the globe, progressively, flesh intake's marker of class and privilege is linked to social oppression. By way of illustration, one researcher shows how by exploiting Irish and Scottish workers and land, carcass intake in England was able to dwarf that of the rest of Europe well into the 19th century. 

Sociologist David Nibert centers his analysis on nomadic pastoralism and the development of commercial ranching, and he shows how this practice was largely controlled by elite groups with the rise of capitalism. Nibert links domestication to some of the most critical issues facing the world today, like the depletion of fresh water, topsoil, and oil reserves, global warming, and world hunger. Similar to Weis, Nibert argues that animal-based exploitation was central to the expansion of capitalism and economic elites. 

Nibert explicates four critical connections: (i) the military use of domesticated animals in agrarian society; (ii) livestock's role in the Spanish invasion of the Philippines; (iii) domesticates and indigenous displacement; and (iv) the reign of “cattle kings” in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. 

Rural displacement is commonplace in the industry. In the 1950s, only 25% of the population in Latin America lived in urban areas. This number grew to 40% by the 1980s. And, over this period, the number of landless campesinos more than tripled. By 2007, around 77% of the population were living in urban areas. 

Nibert further links domesticated animals with depletion of finite resources and conflicts at regional and international levels in the present. And, he probes how exploding animal-based food intake is leading to a pandemic of chronic diseases and creates the potential for a global influenza pandemic that may disproportionately affect the poor and disadvantaged.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Eating Responsibly: Meat Causes Food Insecurity

Eating Responsibly: Meat Causes Food Insecurity
by Moses Seenarine, 1/12/18

The modern practice of animal-based agribusiness has implications for food security, inequality, and human health. Humans produce enough calories in the world to feed everyone, even with an accretionary global population. Still and all, according to the UN, around one in eight people in the world is severely malnourished or lack access to food, due to poverty and high food prices. 

While 91% of farmers in the US have crop insurance to cover losses in the event of extreme weather, only 15% of farmers in India are covered. In China, only around 10% of farmers have crop insurance, and just 1% or less in Malawi and most low-income countries. Food security and food sustainability are on a collision course. Reversing direction to avoid this major counterpoint will require extreme downward shifts by large segments of the world's population in their intake of animal carcass, chicken eggs, cow's milk and seafood. 

Given current and future crop projections under a warmer climate, it is wasteful to use highly productive croplands to produce animal feed since this is conducive to exhausting the world's food supply. According to one study, “80 percent of the world’s starving children live in countries where food surpluses are fed to animal that are then killed and eaten by more well-off individuals in developed countries.” 

Similarly, an advocate for dietary change pointed out, “Intensive meat production isn’t just torture for animals. It destroys the environment, and devours great chunks of our raw materials which we import from the global South as animal feed.” This plant-based advocate continued, “Argentina and Brazil are dramatically increasing their soy cultivation, and it's being fed almost exclusively to the animals we slaughter, forcing up land prices. Small farmers are losing their land and livelihoods. That schnitzel on our plates jeopardizes the food security of many people in the global South.” 

Food waste is another mountainous issue since 30% to 50% of food is wasted worldwide. Waste negatively affects global food availability, especially in the US, China, and India. Reducing food waste in these three countries alone could yield food for upwards of 400 million people.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Eating 'Rich': Class and Diet

Eating 'Rich': Class and Diet
by Moses Seenarine 1/10/18

Food security is a problem of distribution, not just production. Around 17% of densely populated India is undernourished, even though per capita flesh consumption is relatively low. In contrast, fewer than 5% of people in the US, where 22% of the world’s cattle is raised, are at risk of going hungry. 

Overall, the clear trend globally is for rising animal consumption among the urban middle class. Eating animal-based meals is a status symbol. Even with India's religious prohibitions and cultural politics against the eating of cow flesh, 'non-veg' has become a status symbol in the thriving cities. On top of this, across the world, people typically eat animals as part of a feast, holiday or celebration. School cafeterias serve animal carcass every day with few plant-based offerings, raising expectations for a daily dose of flesh. 

Even though plants are cheaper, a high-pressure, fast food lifestyle is causing adults to lose their taste for vegetables, and they are forgetting how to cook them. The economic gap between developed and developing countries is reflected in their animal consumption. While people in developed countries fulfill upwards of half, 56%, of their protein needs from animal sources, people in developing countries obtain only 18% in this way. 

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS, are five big developing countries. Economic growth in the BRICS is reflected in their animal consumption, and together, they account for 40% of the world’s population. Between 2003 and 2012, BRICS animal consumption rose by 6.3% a year and is expected to rise by another 2.5% a year between 2013 and 2022. 

The upsurge in carnism is due to the expansion in poultry consumption worldwide. Cow carcass is the one category that on a worldwide level showed no gain in consumption levels from 1970-2000. This trend reflects the fact that while cattle consumption rose in developing countries such as China and Brazil, it fell modestly in North America, Oceania, and Europe. 

Chicken consumption in China and India is determined by lifestyle to a larger extent than by population growth. Similarly, in Russia, the world’s biggest cow carcass importer, demand depends on prosperity from oil and gas export revenues, since the population peaked in 1991 at around 150 million. While animal carcass is cheap in Brazil, it is expensive in South Africa. Several economic crises in South Africa have ensured that the rising demand for animal flesh is almost entirely limited to cheaper chicken carcass. 

Between 2005 and 2050, food demand may soar 60 to 100% higher than the FAO's estimate of 50% from 2005/2007 levels. There are many uncertainties, but food projections are more sensitive to socio-economic assumptions than to climate warming or bioenergy scenarios. With higher population and lower economic growth, food consumption per capita drops on average by 10% for crops and 20% for livestock. This shows that a consumption tax on food animals can greatly lower livestock intake and associated climate-altering gases.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement

Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement 
by Moses Seenarine 1/10/18

Land used to grow a billion tons of livestock feed is cultivated as monoculture over vast areas. Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop or plant species over a wide area for consecutive years. In many regions feed crops are grown in mass monocultures and exported worldwide. 

The animal feed business is booming and spreading out rapidly. By way of illustration, in Argentina, soy crops ballooned from 4 million hectares (15k sq mi) in 1988, to 9 million (35k sq mi) in 2000, to 19 million hectares (73k sq mi) in 2012. This is close to a five-fold boost in a little over two decades. Correspondingly, soy production in Argentina went from 10 million tons in 1988, to 20 million in 2000, to 52 million tons in 2012. 

In 2012, soy represented 22% of Argentinian exports, compared to cow carcass and chicken at 3%. Around 25% of the world's soybean exports are from Argentina. Soy production alone is projected to boom by 5 million hectares (19k sq mi) by 2020, to 27 million hectares (104k sq mi) – the area of New Zealand. By 2020, cattle production is likewise predicted to enlarge by 25%. 

Even so, cattle-ranching is already responsible for about half of Brazil’s GHG pollution, involving large amounts of methane, due to the vast numbers of cattle. Feed crop monoculture has caused the displacement of millions of families, and thousands of communities across the global South. 

Multitudes of small-scale farmers have been priced off their land or forced to sell to bigger producers, losing homes and livelihood. Indigenous communities, whose traditional land rights are rarely recognized or respected, are particularly affected. They are powerless to stop the collusion of state, local elites and TFCs usurping their lands and ways of life with the spread of ranching and feed crops. 

There are around 1.5 million small farmers in Paraguay, yet 70% of the land is owned by just 2% of landowners. This extreme form of inequality is fueled by livestock production. Deplorably, the majority of the rural Paraguayan population, largely indigenous, no longer own land and live in extreme poverty. Only 15% of this population has access to safe drinking water and 42% to medical care. Similarly, small farms represent 78% of all farms in Peru but occupy a mere 6% of the country’s agricultural lands. 

Throughout the globe, livestock is a major cause of rising inequality and landlessness. The growing demand for land in South America, Asia and elsewhere is leading to conflicts across many feed-growing regions, with widespread reports of violent attacks on rural communities. Families and whole communities have been forcibly evicted from their homes. Some have had their houses burned, often in the middle of the night. In collusion with livestock and feed producers, the Paraguayan police and security forces have been accused of operating death squads. 

Across the world, the spread of feed plantations has reduced the number of small farms, the tradition source of food for rural communities. Production of corn, rice, oats, and beans has diminished substantially. The upshot has been an escalation in food insecurity. For example, from 1996 and 2003, the amount of people in Argentina lacking a 'basic nutrition basket' rose from 3.7 to 8.7 million. 

Soy farms can cover up to 50,000 hectares (193 sq miles). Large-scale soy production is highly mechanized and profitable. The planting and harvesting are carried out by machines, which means that few people are employed. A mechanized farm has an average of one employee per 200 hectares (500 acres or 0.7 sq mi). Rural unemployment has soared as large farms need little labor. Consequently, rural laborers migrate to cities to look for work, exacerbating urban poverty and unemployment. Basic survival needs fuel a migration crisis and compel displaced Latin American farmers to search of work in the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

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New Release - Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

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