Sunday, August 16, 2009

Global Warming - Cow Belches and Farts - Paul McCartney?

Hot news yesterday on CNN was an interview with Paul McCartney. He's asking folks to go one day a year without eating meat. Why? To help combat global warming. Those cow farts and belches just produce too much methane gas. How about he asks folks to give up pinto beans for several days a year, surely the gas humans produce impact global warming as well -- I'll have to check on that.

The newscaster went on to quote stats that 18% of the methane gas produced is from livestock, and a mere 13% was the result of all the automobiles running the highways. It seems a cattle rancher driving a hybrid is way more destructive than a suburbanite driving a gas guzzling suburban. Just about every time the news media covers the methane gas produced by livestock, they show a video clip of cattle, generally at pasture. Video footage of a nasty and cattle-crowded feedlot is apparently not their first choice to demonstrate those awful gas producing bovines that are a key culprit in global warming.

How exactly have we reached such a place, such a mode of thinking, in regard to the once highly revered bovine? Certainly their fall from grace in the eyes of liberal Global Warming freaks is vast and immeasurable. I offer you the following words of George-Louis Leclerc, de Buffon, from William Smellie's 1781 English translation, in regard to cattle, or to "The Ox", as they were commonly referred for thousands of years:

But these are not the only advantages which man derives from the ox. Without the aid of this useful animal, both the poor and the opulent would find great difficulty in procuring subsistence; the earth would remain uncultivated; our fields and gardens would become parched and barren. All the labour of the country depends upon him. He is the most advantageous domestic of the farmer. He is the very source and support of agriculture. Formerly the ox constituted the whole riches of mankind; and he is still the basis of the riches of nations, which subsist and flourish in proportion only to the cultivation of their lands and the number of their cattle: For in these all real wealth consists; every other kind, even gold and silver, being only fictitious representations, have no value, but what is conferred on them by the productions of the earth.

This movement to denigrate the awesome cow for the sake of Global Warming may very well lead to cattle ranchers, along with the real polluters, having to pay a federal penalty, or federal tax, to compensate this horrible smelly damage their occupation is causing to our environment. Once that happens, many, if not most, small ranchers will have to close their ranch gates and find some other livestock that farts "good gas" I suppose. What happens then to the price of beef? Basic economics. There will be less beef on the shelf at the supermarket, and that beef will be priced much higher. Shall we all become vegetarians now, and pooh pooh the hard won evolution of society to one which affords the poor and rich alike the pleasure and sustenance of meat? Let's hear what Buffon had to say in regard to meat for the poor........

Of those animals which man forms into flocks, and whose multiplication is his principal object, the females are more useful than the males. The produce of the cow is almost perpetually renewed. The flesh of the calf is equally wholesome and delicate; the milk is an excellent food, especially for children; butter is used in most of our dishes; and cheese is the principal nourishment of our peasants. How many poor families are reduced to the necessity of living entirely on their cow? Those very men, who toil from morning to night, who groan and are bowed down with the labour of ploughing the ground, obtain nothing from the earth but black bread, and are obliged to yield to others the flour and substantial part of the grain. They raise rich crops, but not for themselves. Those men who breed and multiply our cattle, who spend their whole lives in rearing and guarding them from injuries, are debarred from enjoying the fruits of their labour. They are denied the use of flesh, and obliged, by their condition, or rather by the cruelty of the opulent, to live, like horses, upon barley, oats, coarse pot-herbs, &c.

Even today, there are many small cattle ranchers that do not eat the beef they raise because they need the proceeds from selling their livestock. They eat cheaper meat, and less meat than perhaps they would prefer -- a modern version of what Buffon describes in the late 1700's. The rising costs of inputs over the past few years (mostly due to that corn ethanol boon-doggle)to raise cattle and to keep pastures fertile has strapped the small beef producer. Oftentimes they can only just break-even for all their efforts to provide beef to the USA, and too many actually lose money at this endeavor. Something is quite morally wrong about that.

Something is also quite morally wrong about targeting cows as key villains in this so-called Global Warming crisis. The extreme left wing liberals, like Paul McCartney, would have you believe they are looking out for the working class, the little people -- nothing could be farther from the truth. The long term ramifications of implementing their pie in the sky philosophies and beliefs may well lead to another era of poor diets for the poor such as Buffon so succinctly described as existing over 200 years ago and beyond. Of course, the really poorest of the poor will get more and more food stamps I imagine, and they can buy whatever they want at the supermarket -- but the hard working poor will not.