My previous post providing the writing of co-barfly (i.e. esteemed member of the Moon of Alabama community) DeAnander on Sustainable living was successful enough, so I’d thought I’d provide another recent tidbit herebelow.

Again, some cheers for DeAnander’s writing:

Most captive animal husbandry today is done in the minimum footprint possible (to be “efficient” in the use of land and human labour); this means animals are crowded/packed as closely as feasible, which in turn places various stresses on their health and vastly increases the odds on infection, infestation, and epidemic.

We generally compensate for these stresses using technologies like disinfectants, antibiotics, pressure washers, plumbing, filtration, etc. — basically keeping the livestock as close to terminal morbidity as we can w/out actually killing them and losing the investment. (The parallel with slave labour conditions is too obvious, I think, to require any elucidation: the same economic reasoning applies.)

But no one compensates for these insults to the adjacent wild flora and fauna. Without the “heroic measures” we take to enable domesticated livestock to survive the appalling conditions of their captivity, the feral commons are terribly vulnerable to our “farmed pathologies.”

For example, when we flush the waste from our hog farms into lagoons just far enough from the hogs to prevent massive morbidity and mortality among these (valuable) livestock — the stench, hypernutrient and toxic contamination, etc. are merely displaced onto the commons (“non-owned” space like the air, “non-owned” organisms like soil or creek/river biota).

Louse-infested coastal or river fish farms are imho just another example of agribiz-as-usual. The factory model of farming is inherently pathogenic — we deal with it essentially by substituting fossil energy and fossil-based chemicals for human labour and open space.

The only non-pathogenic way to raise livestock (that I know of) is at lower density with a closer approximation of natural conditions — ducks and freshwater fish as symbionts in rice paddy cultivation, for example; free-range grass-fed beeves; pond fish in low enough densities to avoid toxic buildup and maintain a nutrient cycle modeled on naturally-occuring wetlands. No “externalising” should be permitted; any waste product must be a useful input to a downstream process. For example, hog wastes can be consumed happily by Hermetia larvae, whose own wastes are harmless and a good fertiliser; the larvae breed like crazy and will very conveniently crawl out of their feeding bins when near pupation, at which point they can be collected, washed, and fed to chickens… you get the picture.

Closed-cycle (i.e. sane, non-fantastical) non-factory farming implies a lower per-annum per-capita output of animal protein, but of a higher quality, without the “added extra” of devastating the commons. It also implies diversified agriculture, a wider knowledge base (especially about the “lower orders” of insects and other invertebrates and bacteria, fungi, etc.) and less narrow specialisation on the part of the agronomist/farmer — and of course various other challenges to the Taylorist model of monocrop, technocratic management, and dumbed-down labour… topics on which I know I am a bit of a bore, so will stop here 🙂

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