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The world is watching

I was just reading the Vancouver Humane Society newsletter
which announced its Raising the Barn awareness program (www.raisingthebarn.ca) aimed in part at
getting consumers to stop or at least reduce meat consumption.

The campaign focuses on pretty well every type of meat
production — beef, chicken, pigs — and is pushing for five freedoms in
livestock production.

Animals should have:

Freedom from hunger and thirst

Freedom from discomfort

Freedom from pain, injury or disease

Freedom to express normal behavior

Freedom from fear and distress.

The campaign has heading that says” Cattle are crammed into
feed lots where they are fattened on food that makes them sick.”

The campaign also urges consumers to buy organic meat,
poultry and eggs as a better alternative as organic producers are viewed as
using more humane production practices.

Along with animal welfare issues, the VHS website also plays
heavily on the environmental impact of agriculture, which may catch the
attention of consumers who still like to eat meat.

One message on the website says:

 “Livestock
are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious
environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.

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none;text-autospace:none">“When emissions from land use and land use
change are included, the livestock sector accounts for nine percent of CO2
deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of
even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related
nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.
Most of this comes from manure.

“And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of
all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely
produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which
contributes significantly to acid rain.

“Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s
entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of
the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes.
As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of

deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent
of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.”

It is a pretty direct and compelling message
available to a total B.C. Lower Mainland population of about 2.5 million
people, many of which have no idea what a farm looks like.

Lee
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at
[email protected]

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About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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