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Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

Posted September 16, 2007 3:52 AM by masu

With the ever increasing population worldwide the demand for foodstuffs has never been greater. Meat and meat products are no exception and while there has be a slight trend in western nations towards poultry and fish the global demand for beef is on the increase. The clearing of native vegetation and forests to provide grazing for cattle is in itself a serious problem, but it doesn't end there. Unfortunately when beef cattle digest plant material they produce methane which they then belch into the atmosphere.

There is considerable debate over the actual volume of methane produced by cattle but what is clear is methane is one of the more detrimental pollutants we are releasing into the atmosphere. Atmospheric methane is unstable and will break down over time but while it is in its unaltered form it can have over 70 times the effect on the atmosphere and global warming as carbon dioxide.

Like any problem you wish to address, the best place to start is with whatever is having the greatest effect and methane is no exception. Since methane has such a dramatic short term effect, by avoiding its release the short term benefits are equally as dramatic. Not only does reducing the rate of release produce some 70 times the response as a similar volume of CO2 but its instability means the current levels of atmospheric methane will drop as it breaks down increasing the response even further.

Another negative due to the increased demand for beef is intensive and factory farming, where cattle are corralled in small enclosures and fed on a high nutrient diet that often includes supplements like antibiotics and even growth hormones. The past practice of feeding beef cattle on feed that contained material from the carcasses of sheep is believed to have been the vector that allowed prions to enter the human food chain and cause the outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the UK. The whole process is geared around maximum production and little attention is paid to quality, animal welfare, environmental damage, long term sustainability and in some cases human health.

The most desirable portion of cattle is the skeletal-muscle tissue and while the remainder of the beast is used in various forms and is responsible for much of the taste and flavor in many cooking processes, there is considerable waste.

There is an emerging technology that has the potential to at least in part replace the need for cattle. In vitro or direct culture of muscle tissue is the growing of tissue in a bio-reactor or similar device that provides the environment and nutrients the cells need to grow. The technology is still in its infancy and has difficulty growing the long fibrous skeletal-muscle tissue that is preferred, but regardless of its current limitations there is great potential, particularly in applications like space travel where sustainability is essential and taking along live cattle would be impossible.

The process also has the potential for genetically modified meat products that are healthier and more nutritious. One possibility would be to alter the genetic structure so the resultant meat contained Omega-3 fatty acids rather than the Omega-6 fatty acids found in natural meat.

Scientists have successfully cultured fish meat and the technology already exists to create something that is close to ground or minced beef. Considering that around 50% of the world's meat consumption is in ground or minced, the potential is almost there to reduce the demand for cattle by half. Beef Magazine contradict this and believe that the process will never produce a product that is sufficiently like the real thing or at a price consumers find acceptable.

This can, of course, be called cloning and genetic engineering which is bound to raise an argument or two. There are socio-political groups that vehemently disagree with the development of such technology and insist that we should never develop or even contemplate developing such technology. However, in reality we have been cloning and genetically engineering things for a very long time. Every time a gardener takes a plant cutting and uses it to propagate a new plant they have in effect cloned the original plant. All we are doing is extending the process to include animals. We have also been selectively breeding everything from asparagus to zebras in an attempt to enhance the desirable features and suppress the undesirable features which is in effect genetic engineering.

Cloning and genetic engineering are indeed carried out at a far more fundamental level than the hit and miss approach of the past and it does allow for greater control over what is or is not passed on plus the inter species transfer of traits. However, we have been cloning plants and have selectively bred everything from asparagus to zebras and even humans for millennia now. Is what we are doing now really that different to what we have done in the past?

Another technology that has been around for some time now is a meat substitute based on either vegetable matter or fungi. With the addition of flavoring factors, nutrients and manufacturing techniques a product that resembles meat can be manufactured. It is unfortunately easily differentiated from the real thing and most find it somewhat lacking, but if the effort were put into research the end product could most likely be dramatically improved.

Further information can be obtained from the following links:

There is a term bandied about by economists called sustainable growth. To me this is a totally idiotic statement as there are finite limits to everything and sooner or later anything that grows must hit a limit that prevents further growth. The population of the planet is growing at an ever increasing rate and if we are to feed, clothe and house this ever increasing population we are going to need to develop and use technologies like in vitro and artificial meat to reduce the impact we are having on the environment. It would be a great pity if something that shows potential were to be ignored and not developed due to the misgivings of a small minority of that appear to not fully understand the technology, benefits it could produce or gravity of the situation.

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#1

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 1:12 AM

A simple solution to this particular problem is to give up eating beef. There are good substitutes for ground beef and steak strips based on soy protein, and they are less likely to be contaminated with e coli, steroids, and antibiotics. (These soy based things can't substitute for a real steak, but for stir fries, chili, and all sorts of dishes that use "hamburger meat" the stuff is great, and probably much better for your health, for numerous reasons.) Some, but not all, veggie burgers are quite good, with the ones that try to emulate real beef being the worst.

Going a step further you can decide to be vegetarian, which gets you away from eating dead animals altogether. It takes less energy to produce plants as food than it does to produce animals, so it is generally good for the planet, and healthier for you. (I think the only meat that is generally considered to be really healthy is salmon, and other oily fishes.) If you want to stop eating pork, just tour a hog farm.

You can go a step further, and become vegan, which is not too hard to do, if you are willing to cook your own food from scratch most of the time. Soy milk is pretty good, if you get used to it, soy cheese is OK (not great) but limited in variety. There are vegan restaurants and vegan pre-prepared foods, but both are not available everywhere.

My family is vegetarian, which is quite easy to do. My son is vegan, and that takes a little more effort. We are all animal lovers and are reluctant to cut up our own cats to eat them, and would certainly not cut up somebody's horse or dog to eat it, and can't see why we would want to cut up a cow to eat it either.

We gradually weened ourselves from beef with very little effort. I used to love a rare steak, but with a gazillion other things to eat, I'm perfectly happy. I'd guess that 90% of the population could give up just beef, and quickly find they don't miss it -- or they could simply reduce beef consumption by 50%, and probably find they really don't even notice the change.

If you haven't been to a slaughter house, visit one and watch them kill and cut up cattle. If afterwards you still want to eat beef, then go ahead. But it you find it turns your stomach, then you might consider giving up beef: it's easy to do. Remember there are loads of things that are naturally low in meat: instead of going out for hamburgers, go out for pizza.

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#2

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 9:36 AM

<Future Energy Sources: Direct Culture of Meat Products>

The horse is an example of an energy source derived from a 'cultivated meat product', if one sticks literally to the description. In some countries it has been largely displaced by other energy sources on account of the level of attention it needs to be kept in operable condition! Further, its useful operating speed red-lines at about 30 mph/45kph or so.

The usefulness of a horse is strongly, if not linearly, related to the amount of food one can pass through it; it operates on renewable energy! So which is better per output kWh, the CO2 from exhausting fossil-fuel engines, or the CO2 and CH4 from the cultivated meat engine? Or is it simply a case of 'horses for courses'?

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 9:42 AM

Hi Ken,

  • There are good substitutes for ground beef and steak strips based on soy protein, and they are less likely to be contaminated with e coli, steroids, and antibiotics.

The use of soy substitutes is a bit of a double edged sword and there is a particularly insidious problem associated with the use of soy products in children under the age of around 5 years.

To understand the problem you need to understand the main reason behind the ever increasing prevalence of anaphylactic responses to even trace amounts of peanut or peanut products.

Immediately after birth a child's immune system is pretty much a blank slate and it needs to develop its reactions to pathogens. However, initially the infant gets a helping hand from the mother in the milk she produces. Unfortunately for the mothers milk to be beneficial the Gastrointestinal GI tract needs to be permeable to the proteins in the milk.

It is this permeability to certain proteins of the infant GI tract that causes the problem as it allows some really nasty proteins that occur in peanuts to get into the blood stream. If these proteins get into the blood stream it will nearly always cause the immune system to develop a lifelong anaphylactic reaction to peanut products. However, once the child's immune system no longer needs the help from the mother the GI tract alters the structure of the membrane that allows the transfer of nutrients so that these potentially dangerous proteins can no longer pass through it and into the blood stream.

The age at which the GI tract matures and becomes able to block these dangerous proteins varies from child to child. To be absolutely certain though, you should never allow children under the age of 5 years to consume or be exposed in any way to peanuts or any peanut product whatsoever.

Unfortunately doing this is becoming ever more difficult because peanuts and peanut products are used in a wide variety of products and in some countries manufacturers are not forced to list all the ingredients that ate used.

The problem with soy beans and soy bean products is they also contain proteins that are very similar to those found in peanuts. They are not quiet as potent as the peanut proteins but none the less exposing children under the age of 5 runs the risk of inducing a life long, life threatening, allergy to soy beans and soy bean products.

The upshot of this is that you can't use products based on soy beans to feed children. You also need to be careful of cross contamination. If you as an adult parent were to replace meat products in your diet with soy based meat replicas you would not only need to make sure that children never consumed any but also use isolated food preparation techniques to prevent any cross contamination.

  • Going a step further you can decide to be vegetarian, which gets you away from eating dead animals altogether.

The only problem with not eating meat or animal products of any kind is we are not vegetarians. If we were we would have a considerably different GI tract that would most likely consist of a multi chambered stomach, buck teeth for tearing plant material off and no incisors.

We obviously don't have these features and while we are not pure carnivores our GI tract has evolved consuming meat of some form or other. I do agree that most people in developed world eat too much meat but our biology is clearly built around consuming a certain amount of meat in your diet, so doing completely without it is doing something that is unnatural. In every case I have seen the resilt has been some sort of health problems most ofthen with immune system. You can try and use dietary supplements to add the critical lacking nutrients but again this is an unnatural way to do things.

  • If you haven't been to a slaughter house, visit one and watch them kill and cut up cattle. If afterwards you still want to eat beef, then go ahead. But it you find it turns your stomach, then you might consider giving up beef: it's easy to do.

Yes, I have been there and done that on numerous occasions. I agree, having to kill something to create food is unpleasant, but we were for the most part of our evolution hunter gathers. The inclusion of met products in our diets meant that we did not need to spend close to 100% of our waking hours finding, collecting and eating food. The fact that our lives was not completely taken up with feeding ourselves allowed us to grow into a social creature that could spend time developing language, writing, music, culture, science, technology and the list goes on and on. If we never evolved into being the omnivorous creature we are we would more than likely be hanging around in trees with the chimpanzees and gorillas. By the way chimpanzees are also omnivorous and do consume raw meat when the opportunity arises. The are also guilty of waging war on their fellow chimpanzees and there is at least one documented case of them committing genocide, where one group systematically hunted and killed all the members of a neighboring group.

  • Remember there are loads of things that are naturally low in meat: instead of going out for hamburgers, go out for pizza.

Yes, I agree that there are numerous things we can do and using meat in things like hamburger mince is wasteful but you also need to take into account that a large portion of mince, hamburger and sausage meat comes from parts of the animal that would normally not be consumed by themselves. If we can find a way of culturing a meat product that could replace this use it would be very beneficial.

As for the soy and other substitutes, personally I find the wrapping they come wrapped in has more flavor than the contents but that's just my taste and taste is a very personal thing.

By the way, most pizzas have some sort of meat and I doubt you could call it a pizza if it didn't have cheese, which of course is an animal product all be it one that is produced without killing the animal.

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#4

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 11:15 AM

Soylent Green anyone?

Seriously,

as masu points out soy has some issues. Like dairy the cultured products are easier to digest & less likly to cause problems

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy#Soy_controversy

another great thread masu, thanks for your efforts!

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 11:45 AM

Plus you have to grow a living organism in unnatural conditions tightly closed together, and then kill it to obtain the undeveloped offspring, about maybe 1 % of the total food mass it produces, since only the beans are "harvested". The rest goes to waste degrading to form methane that is released to the atmosphere, and nitrates that get into the groundwater.

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#6
In reply to #3

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 12:19 PM

The use of soy substitutes is a bit of a double edged sword and there is a particularly insidious problem associated with the use of soy products in children under the age of around 5 years.

The same is true of wheat and milk, both of which cause allergic reactions at about the same rates. According to the American Academy of pediatrics, "isolated soy protein-based formulas are safe and effective alternatives to provide appropriate nutrition for normal growth and development."

Isolated soy protein TSP, etc. is very hard to avoid in preprepared foods.

The only problem with not eating meat or animal products of any kind is we are not vegetarians.

Nor are monkey and chimps, but most live just fine on a vegetarian diet. There are also very large human cultures which are vegetarian, and they seem to do fine, often outliving their meat eating brethren.

If we can find a way of culturing a meat product that could replace this use it would be very beneficial.

Sure. But in the meantime, there are loads of things one can do to reduce beef consumption, and eliminating it entirely, as Hindu's do, is easy as pie.

Actually, my son has soy cheese on his pizza, but ther are plenty of boutique pizzas the do not have cheese. Personally, I find nothing objectionable about cheese and even eggs, and I wear leather shoes, but my son will have none of that.

But as far as beef goes, cattle produce far more greenhouse gasses than cars, so why continue eating the stuff? For me, it just doesn't make sense. I happen to have extended the thinking into not eating animals, but the beef part would be easy for many people. Probably the only real meat lust I experience is for good barbecue, which I usually think of as pork. For all the rest, there are loads of other things to eat. For me, if i am unwilling to personally accept responsibility for slitting throats, then I don't want to foist that off on someone else. After all, it makes great sense to eat humans, (why waste the meat) but I don't have the taste for it. (Have you read Stranger in a Strange Land?)

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#7
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 2:51 PM

Should it be a requirement that before you eat meat (as an adult) you must help prepare it?

Likewise before you eat vegetables you must have raised and processed them?

Just a thought?

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#8
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/17/2007 5:10 PM

In both cases, I'd say sure, that it would be good for parents to give their kids both experiences. Certainly it would make no sense to legislate it as a requirement, but it's great for perspective. Many people would find there to be a vast difference between harvesting peaches and slaughtering a calf to make veal. I had a relative who thought that cows "gave" meat like they give milk. In my view you are generally uneducated unless you've prepared your own food, or at least witnessed its preparation, close up.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/18/2007 11:05 AM

Hi Ken & others,

  • The same is true of wheat and milk, both of which cause allergic reactions at about the same rates.

While the prevalence of gluten and lactose allergies are around the same as that of peanut allergy that are not caused by the same mechanism. Most allergies have a genetic component which is compounded by the environment that particular individual is then exposed too. A classic example of this is the allergy to penicillin, very few people are born with an allergy to it but over time they built an allergy as they are exposed to it. The more they are exposed the worse the allergy becomes and the more the immune system overreacts. Lactose and gluten allergies follow a similar pattern. The other thing that is different is that you can develop and allergy at any stage to these items and the allergic response can become progressively worse with subsequent exposure.

Peanut and soy allergies are completely different as they are caused by a single or very limited exposure to a specific protein while the GI tract is permeable to these proteins. Once the GI tract has become impervious any future exposure is benign and will not cause or trigger future allergic responses.

The upshot of all this is the unlike most acquired allergies life long peanut and soy allergies can be nearly completely eradicated by not exposing children under the age of 5 to peanut or soy products. A single exposure to these proteins before the GI tract can shield them is often enough to trigger the life long allergy. Once they are past this age if they do not have a reaction they will never develop an allergy for the rest of their life regardless of future exposures.

There are of course exceptions to this but by far the majority of soy and peanut allergies can be traced back to an infantile exposure to the specific immuno response triggering proteins. By the way, cooking and any sort of other food preparation techniques nearly always concentrate the levels of these allergy triggering proteins and there is really no way to extract them from foods containing peanut and soy products so the only solution is total abstinence till the age of 5.

  • Actually, my son has soy cheese on his pizza, but ther are plenty of boutique pizzas the do not have cheese.

I hope he is over the age of 5 because if not he is running the risk of giving himself a life threatening allergy to soy and peanut products. If he is over 5 and hasn't got an allergy then no worries, the only way they will threaten his life then is if he drowns in or chokes on some.

  • After all, it makes great sense to eat humans, (why waste the meat) but I don't have the taste for it. (Have you read Stranger in a Strange Land?)

Well, in a word NO! Forgetting about the social problems with cannibalism there is a very good biological reason to not eat human meats or products. Because you have the same base genetic structure it means any virus particles or other pathogen associated diseases the meal may have can be passed on to the diners. A classic example of this is Kuru which is the Papua New Guinea equivalent to CJD. The particular tribe in question believe that if they eat the brains of their dead relatives they will pass on their wisdom. The do certainly pass on something but it isn't wisdom. Unfortunately if the person has died form Kuru the brains will contain the prions that caused the disease and by eating the brain you will end up contaminated with prions and after 20 or thirty years you brain will resemble something like a sponge which is where the name transmissible spongiform encephalopathy comes form.

Anyway, the more genetic difference between you and the food you eat the less chance there is of interspecies transfer of disease so it really is not a good idea from the health point of view for humans to eat humans.

  • Have you read Stranger in a Strange Land?

Sorry, I havn't read the book but I did live in Papua New Guinea for a while back in the early 1980 and the social gulf between most PNG native born citizens and western culture was about the same. Back before they were dragged into WWII by the invading Japanese and Australians trying to stop them they were literally a stone age culture with no written form of language or manufactured goods above bows, arrows and spears. Trying to take a mixture of societies that used several thousand different spoken languages none of which had a written form with no technology to speak of and thrusting them over a few weeks into all our full scale modern warfare was catastrophic. They are still struggling to come to grips the modern society and the country has some very serious problems.

I don't think it is fair or reasonable to force a society through 40,000 years worth of social, political and technological evolution in less than a generation. The people of PNG both deserve and need our help to catch up with the rest of the developed world. Just leaving them on their own to sink or swim, as has been done to so many countries that have been granted independence, is just plain criminal. The independence is fine but they need help to understand how to deal with the rest of the world and learn how there are people out there that would not hesitate for a second to exploit them and leave them to starve.

  • Nor are monkey and chimps, but most live just fine on a vegetarian diet.

While it is true the higher apes mostly eat a vegetarian diet the do whenever possible eat meat. There is an interesting social pattern here as well because when they eat fruit the normally do it as solitary creatures with each one eating from different sources over a considerable area. On the other hand when they have captured something that they intend to eat they come together in a group and eat in a social group sharing the meat amongst the group according to their status within the group. This was initially thought to be due to there normally being only one source of meat from a single animal but when they have managed to kill multiple prey they still all dine together sharing the meat from all the prey among all the members of the social grout.

The interesting thing is that when they eat meat they seem to mimic the sort of pattern we have for the main meal of the day when everybody sits down together to eat the same meal at the same time.

The other thing that needs to be taken into account is the GI tract of the apes which is far more potent than ours and capable of gaining more nutrients from fruit and vegetation that we can. Even so, if the do not have meat in their diet the spend nearly all their waking hours searching for and eating fruit and vegetation. When they do have the opportunity to eat meat they do not need to spend the whole day finding and eating fruit and vegetation giving them some free time to do things they would otherwise not be able to.

If we as humans had not moved on from a diet like the chimpanzees then there is a good chance that we would have never had the free time to start developing technology and moving on from a creature that subsists to a creature that controls its existence.

A final interesting point about chimpanzees. While they are guilty of carrying out warfare, genocide, infanticide and murder they do not normally eat the bodies of their victims. There are cases of cannibalism in chimpanzees but they are fairly rare they do not normally eat the bodies of their victims. This is somewhat strange as normally whenever they have the opportunity to eat meat of any form the do so and any kill is quickly consumed by the entire group. Since for the most part the do not eat the bodies of other chimpanzees they have killed would seem to indicate that for the most part they deliberately avoid acts of cannibalism.

Anyway, yes, I agree that most people in the developed world eat way, way, way too much meat and if people do not wish to consume meat products then that is their choice. However, the best approach to diet is everything in moderation and nothing to excess. A good spread of different food types usually gives you the balance and variety of nutrients required for good health.

Oh, I almost forgot. The actual amount of methane that is produced by cattle is greatly disputed and I have not been able to find any reliable estimates and for that reason I have not included it in this thread. There are however a myriad of claims that the effect of grazing cattle varies between completely insignificant to the major source of atmospheric methane. The only thing that can be certain on this front is that we need do considerably more research or failing that at least enough to confirm what effect cattle are having on atmospheric methane. If anybody can supply a link to definitive data on the effect of cattle grazing on atmospheric methane I would greatly appreciate a link to the data so I can work it into this thread.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/18/2007 1:31 PM

As always, an excellent, well-thought-out and informative response.

I have not spent as much time reading your blogs as I would like. There is a very strong and growing anti-science contingent in the US, and when perpetual motion machines, etc, come up on CR4, I tend to get drawn in, because I like to try to do my part to support the pro-science view. (No, scientists and engineers are not a bunch of witless naysayers who just can't "get it" that over-unity machines are just around the corner.)

You've done a great job with these blogs, and I'll have to get caught up. Of course there is the issue of earning a living...

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/19/2007 5:14 AM

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the complement, it little things like this that make the time and effort worth wile. Ultimately I would like to collate all the posts and put them together in a form that anybody can use as a tool to show people what the problems are and what can be done to undo the problems we have created. However, this is going to take a fair amount of time so please don't hold your breath waiting.

The next thread in the series will mark the completion of the initial list of technologies.

I have discussed what comes next with Chris Leonard and several other CR4 participants and the result will be an expanding of the theme to include a couple of my pet subjects. I do not intend to completely drop the future energy sources theme and as new technologies and information comes to hand I will be starting threads on them.

For details on the additional themes you will just need to wait for a week and a half when I launch the new look blog.

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#12
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/19/2007 12:07 PM

I look forward to your next blog!

Always well thought out, factual, discussion provoking content.

discussion is the 1st step towards positive incremental change.

Many of the ideas are not earth shattering or even expensive.

long term support is what's required, not just $'s.

the frivolous use of energy is sort of like being an alcoholic.

"I don't have a problem & for damn sure don't want help with the problem I don't have!"

education is the key

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#13
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/23/2007 10:19 AM

"education is the key

It certainly is. The more people know the more they realize they do not understand and the less likely they are to create a stuff up and wreck things for everybody else.

In Australia and I understand the USA as well, what can only be described as corporate greed and laziness has resulted in a dramatic drop in the time, effort and money spent on educating the work force. The result is a dramatic shortage of skilled workers and no way to train younger enthusiastic people because the people with the knowledge and skills have all retired or been retrenched.

There are a lot of very intelligent people on earth. It's just unfortunate that the idiots that are calling the shots don't appreciate this and utilize the fervor and abilities that are right under their nose. All that is required is an environment that fosters learning and expansion of the skills of your workforce and the rest will nearly always fall into place by itself.

The job of management is to provide the environment their employees find stimulating, challenging and fosters lateral thinking and inovation as well as a sense of security and self worth.

It a pity most managers have forgotten this and think their only purpose is to screw as much out of their work force for as little as possible.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/23/2007 4:33 PM

"The job of management is to provide the environment their employees find stimulating, challenging and fosters lateral thinking and inovation as well as a sense of security and self worth."

If only this were true

the job of managenment if to provide the maximum return of investment, it's built into the tax code.

our represenatives, must promote what's in the best interest of the citizens, The rule of law not withstanding, corporations should not be afforded the same rights as individules. we are in a state of perpetual war, to feed the military industrial complex, which has come to dominate political & economic policy. The greed & shortsightedness have been institutionalized!

We have to adjust our priorities [sociatial ], We may end up in a replay of the 1st part of the last century, the breaking up of the large trusts, increased union formation.........

governmental & social organizations have not integrated the major inprovements in information techonology, we need the killer app. in organization.

mrp applied on a global scale, with true cost analysis, not just todays $$'s

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#15

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/24/2007 12:52 PM

One point which has not yet been made in this wonderful discussion is that soy milk is hugely detrimental to teeth, especially those of young children.

I have a friend whose child was allegic to both the mother's milk and cows milk. The child had to drink soy milk as the only alternative - and their teeth rotted away as a direct result.

It was also interesting to hear that the vegetarian most misses pork - the nearest food in taste and texture to humans!

Long pig, anyone? (Count me out)

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/24/2007 2:32 PM

re soy and teeth:

I think all baby formulas are bad for teeth, especially since the kid's teeth are soaking in the stuff for longer than they would be if breast fed. Dentists have long warned against letting babies sit or lie in their cribs with a bottle, because it causes their teeth to rot.

The following is from this article.

Research has shown that soya-based infant formulas are no more likely to cause tooth decay than cow's-based infant formulas (12). The most important factor appears to be how they are consumed. Any food or drink containing sugars should not have frequent or prolonged contact with teeth and trainer cups should be used as soon as a baby is able to drink this way. Thus if normal weaning practices are adopted, soya-based infant formulas should not cause harm to teeth (13).

12. Moynihan PJ et al, 1996. A comparison of the relative acidogenic potential of infant milk and soya infant formula: a plaque pH study. Intl J. of Paediatric Dentistry; 6:177-181.

13. Hood S, July 2000. Vegan nutrition for infants, children and adolescents. The Nutrition Practitioner;2.2:60-61.

As for consuming humans, I think a good barbecue sauce is essential, and slow cooking is definitely the preferred method. It is generally agreed that farm-raised human is better than free-range or wild.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/25/2007 3:14 AM

Hi GM & ken,

There is an interesting factor in milk allergies that to date has not been mentioned. There are two dramatically different processes that are unfortunately limped together under the title of allergic reaction to milk.

Milk Allergy: This is the usual allergic reaction where the body's immune system overreacts to the presence of any of the chemical compounds that are normally found in milk and milk products. Like any allergy it is tied in with the body's production of histamines and subsequent inflammatory responses. This form of the allergy is usually an acquired allergy where overexposure to the compounds in milk has caused the immune system to treat it as a foreign substance that needs to be destroyed. It can however be inherited and so may also have a genetic factor as well.

Lactose Intolerance: This is the more common form of what is erroneously referred to as a allergy to milk. The problem here is that the liver does not produce a specific enzyme that is required to break down the lactose within the milk. The result is that if you ingest lactose the only way the body has of purging it from your system is for the kidneys to directly filter it out. This takes far more time and puts considerably more strain on the kidneys. If somebody continues to be exposed to lactose the levels just keep building up in the blood till they reach toxic levels which places strain on the entire body and ultimately death if the consumption is not ceased. Lactose intolerance is nearly always caused by genetic defect passed on from the parents. If is however possible that liver damage can induce it by restricting the liver's ability to produce the enzymes required, but I do not believe I have seen a case of lactose intolerance triggered in this way.

Lactose intolerance is not the only response like this and there are a whole raft of similar intolerances caused by the liver failing to produce a specific critical enzyme. Gluten Intolerance is another example and I am informed that a not insignificant portion of Australian Aborigines are alcohol intolerant.

Unfortunately intolerances are often lumped under the allergic response banner. This is incorrect as intolerances have a completely different cause and process within the body and are not related to the immune system over responding as in a true allergy.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/25/2007 4:22 AM

We're coming to another problem with the human condition now.

Just as the native Australians suddenly were introduced to alcohol, the Inuits of the North also had a bad time due to the arrival of other peoples. They had not been exposed to the common cold, so many died as their immune systems could not cope with an infection seen by others as a minor irritation.

The near-sterile conditions many Westerners now live in mean that they are not exposed to the same range of diseases/toxins/...., and so are losing immunity to many of them. The number of "allergic reactions" is on the increase - how much of this is due to over-cleanliness?

(I'll avoid saying too much about the recent [last century] use of petrochemicals for cleaning/toiletries)

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/26/2007 4:11 AM

Hi GM,

It is definitely true that the lack of exposure to allergens when the immune system is developing is definitely having an effect on the later susceptibility of people to them later in life.

However the exposure to peanut and soy bean proteins is more than likely just the tip of the iceberg and there are likely to be a whole raft of allergy triggering proteins that need to be avoided by children while their GI tract is immature.

Another known trigger factor is exposure to passive cigarette smoke. As I have detailed in other threads this can increase the allergic response of people by up to 1,700% which is somewhat alarming.

If you add all three together then it will more than likely account for a large portion of the current pandemic levels of allergies we are seeing.

Personally I suffer from severe chronic asthma that is often triggered by exposure to allergens. Unfortunately there are so many triggers that it is impossible to avoid more then the worst and I need to always carry antihistamines on top of the normal asthma medication.

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#20
In reply to #1

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/30/2007 2:49 AM

Simple solutions, I agree. There are more problems to consider, but it is an endless debate, I find. What I am interested in, however, is visiting a slaughterhouse. I've tried to research how to do this, how even to contact one -- it's not as if they are on the street corner anymore -- and have been unsuccessful, and I live in a state, Pennsylvania, where I know there are several slaughterhouses. How to visit one I would love to know how to do, as education for me and for anyone I know.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/30/2007 3:54 PM

Granted, it can't give you the full effect of the stench and you can't hear the bleating of terrified animals, but if you have some imagination, it at least gives you sense for what goes on.

Nowadays, I think it may be difficult to visit a slaughterhouse unless under false pretense. Few slaughterhouses have anything to gain, and most have plenty to lose by letting the public in. KFC raises and kills its chickens in absolutely inhumane conditions, but they are by no means alone. Even the best conditions in slaughterhouses are far too grizzly for many people to observe without retching.

Amazingly, horses* (generally viewed as "good" animals, worthy of fair treatment) are still treated poorly at many riding horse farms, with utter and total ignorance of effective training methods -- the kind of basic stuff I learned back 35 years ago in psych labs. There is no question that positive reinforcement works better than punishment, but still, many trainers are sadistic with horses. I had one trainer describe with pride how he shackled a horse to a 1000 pound piece of concrete to "break" him. I've known other trainers who have never needed to "break" a horse -- if you work with the horse instead of against it, it will do what you want. Too many people believe cruelty to animals is necessary and good.

It is only fairly recently that cruelty to children is widely and routinely denounced. Until three years ago, I lived in a small southern town -- it was a bit like stepping back in time. There, child beating was still seen in a positive light by a large percentage of the population: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." It was not unusual to see a child being dragged by a twisted ear, screaming, the parent often spewing expletives.

Science has increasingly supported the notion that animals are more like us than we previously realized. We no longer kill dolphins, and kill fewer whales than we did. We don't, in the US, shoot bald eagles, and few of us would shoot any eagle. Many of us have come to understand wolves as something other than monsters. But hunters read Bambi to their kids one night and go out the next day to kill Bambi for fun. (Only the most profoundly naive can believe we shoot Bambi to survive -- hunted meat is often orders of magnitude more expensive than store bought: you need the SUV, the gas for it, the gun, the bullets, the incredible amount of time [that could be spent working to earn the money for cheap meat]) (I once had an uncle-in-law who proudly spent $30,000 on one dead elk.) Modern day hunters kill because they like to kill. If hunting were done with bare hands, and nothing else, it would almost be a sport -- but even then it would be grossly unfair -- we have a huge advantage in brain size and blood lust.

Well... enough ranting. Do we "need" meat. Of course not -- the world is full of vegetarian athletes whose bodies work flawlessly. (Stop at your local gym: all those protein supplements are whey, wheat, and soy -- not a bit of meat.) Even the conventional wisdom of medical professionals is that we should eat less meat and more vegetables and grains. Does everyone need to be vegetarian? No, of course not. If you feel you can't live well without killing animals, then so be it. If you lust for blood, you are my no means alone. Heck, I live in a part of the country where it was believed until recently (in the scope of human time) that we couldn't live without owning people! Only slightly more recently, my grandmother devoted a large part of her life to getting basic rights for her gender. Things will change. Not fast enough, but things will change.

In the meantime, we are experiencing a drought unlike any we've had in my life: there is no car washing or outside watering allowed, and there are genuine fears, among the people who know about such things, that there may be no water to drink before the year is out.

* As an alternative to the grim business of visiting a slaughterhouse, there's the possibility of spending time with, and really getting to know a horse. It's a vastly more pleasant way to reach the same conclusion you'd likely come to upon visiting a slaughterhouse. Cows are very similar to horses: kind animals with beautiful eyes. Get to know a horse, and then imagine slitting its throat to eat it. Could you?

You could probably contact some of the people mentioned to find out where the horses are slaughtered. If you are a horse lover, my advice would be to forgo the visit. You don't need to have been at Auschwitz to understand the horrors.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

09/30/2007 10:38 PM

Years ago I had a friend in colorado who lived on his mining claim. He was usually snowed in 3-5 months per year. Most years he was able to supplement his meager income w/ 1-6 deer that were killed by hunters, who were too lazy to chase them down after their bad shooting.

Masu explains why we are not naturally vegans in #3, I would love to read about any high level athlete's who are vegans. Vegetarians still get their protein from other animals.

I agree that meat production is some grusome shit, as practiced by your basic factory farm/slaughterhouse. This does not mean that humane practices can't be implimented & should be required.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/01/2007 10:57 AM

Masu explains why we are not naturally vegans in #3, I would love to read about any high level athlete's who are vegans.

From the Wikipedia article on Carl Lewis:

  • As for his efforts at the 1991 World Championships, Lewis said, "This has been the greatest meet that I've ever had."[49] Track and Field News was prepared to go even further than that, suggesting that after these Championships, "[I]t had become hard to argue that he is not the greatest athlete ever to set foot on track or field."[49]
  • Lewis credits his outstanding 1991 results in part to the vegan diet he adopted in 1990.[50]

This site provides more info on vegans and athletics.

The FDA recommends 25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a heart healthy diet. In our family, only my son is vegan, and he is the only one who gets close to 25 grams, virtually every day: he gets about half that by drinking soy milk. The rest of us get about 10 grams from soy, on average (probably something like 30 grams every third day) relying on milk, cheese, nuts, other beans, rice, corn, grains, etc. for protein most of the time. If the average American actually got 25 grams from soy, and continued to eat dairy products and eggs, as well as other ordinary sources of protein (a PBJ sandwich on a multigrain bread has about 10 grams just from the bread and about 6-7 from the peanut butter), then there'd hardly be any room in the diet for meat. If we all followed a heart-healthy diet, we'd have a large impact on reducing greenhouse gases, and we'd probably slim down a bit as well... and we could all jump like Carl Lewis!

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#24
In reply to #3

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 1:37 AM
  • If you haven't been to a slaughter house, visit one and watch them kill and cut up cattle. If afterwards you still want to eat beef, then go ahead. But it you find it turns your stomach, then you might consider giving up beef: it's easy to do.

Yes, I have been there and done that on numerous occasions.

--- this off-topic, my apologies, but I have been attempting to visit a slaughterhouse for some time now without success. May I know how managed to do so?

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#25
In reply to #21

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 3:04 AM

Thanks for the advice and the link and commentary, Ken.

Yes, I am well aware of how -- I'll be polite and write "inhumane" as if humanity is "humane" -- "inhumane" treatment of all animals in slaughterhouses is, and have seen video. I've been to small farms where killing was done on the farm -- rare these days -- and talked to the farmers, in particularly someone I grew up with who killed many animals for his Dad on his Dad's farm, and from my anecdotal observations I find the arguments that killing done in this more "personal" way is either better for the animal or the person doing the killing to be highly suspect. Cruelty has many forms and consequences, and I do not consider Temple Grandin's cattle chutes any less cruel than methods of slaughter cattle before the union got the laws changed back in '58 (I think it was that year, sometime in the '50s) to make the slaughtering of cattle more efficient and easy by eliminating methods that hurt workers (animal killers) at a high rate, the "hammer" methods mostly known as fictional if known at all due to the horror film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" among today's youth, of who I am (eh-gads) one.

I've volunteered with dozens of species of animal, wild and domesticated, at rehab clinics, for untold intensive time. And saved countless feral kittens, five of whom live in my house. And spent considerable time with man's supposed best friend, dogs -- mainly larger breeds who I intensely enjoy playing with. Some time also with horses, mostly as a boy. While intellectually I am aware that my emotionals based on ... well exactly what they are based upon I'm not sure ... besides my experiences, are tainted and illogical, Still it's hard to rid my self of the notion that the only breathing creaturea on this planet that can possibly "deserve" the mistreatment that falls so much more commonly on other animals are human beings.

Nonetheless, I feel -- correction: I experience -- a strong educational and emotional need to visit a slaughterhouse. It is too easy to invoke the "Holocaust" (as if there has been just one) in discussions of mass cruelty and death, so easy it has become a comparison turned conveniently against those who utilize it; however I disagree with you, strongly, that to understand the horrors and more significant the terrors one needs not "to have been at Auschwitz", as you write: to relate, to sympathize -- absolutely. But to understand -- No. Going to a slaughterhouse isn't doing any more to genuinely understand either, as I would only be a more vivid witness, not one of the animals. I have been treated with cruelty, and most like an animal in times as a small boy, but a horse I am not nor a horse killer nor has anyone tried to kill me though a couple of times I believed someone's intent was to do so.

What I thought before and now know thanks to your link is easier to do, I just as much need to visit an animal auction where horses, or other animals including dogs, are auctioned off, inevitably some of them to someone who sells them for terrible slaughter. I imagine the animals who are too "damaged" to sell off or bother with and end up dying in piles of similar animals or alone, like the newborn infants back in Sparta deemed defective, aren't far off from these auctions.

As an aside -- While cruelty to children has been only recently "widely" publicly denounced (that statement does not hold true for all populations, though that statement would change depending on one's definiton of "cruelty"), it still goes on with reckless abandon not only behind closed doors, but is also inherent in some of the institutional norms of america's society -- one need only go see a football practice to witness it and see it praised, and other examples abound. As for forms of public cruelty of the sort you mention, I rarely have seen it, and on those occasions I have never seen it challenged by anyone but me and/or my partner; and I suspect that ended up "costing" the child(ren) more in the end.

I am afraid that my belief that I would rather let anything -- and I mean anything -- happen before I was forced to slit the throat of a horse (though I am keenly aware I contribute indirectly to the killing of horses in many ways) is wrong. Certainly I would offer up my life first, as meat or as experiment for medical science or whatever, of that I am doubtless -- but to refuse no matter what consequence, to the utmost terrors of my imagination even though as a boy I did just that (except not with horses) ... it seems to me beyond hubris to claim such a belief in my self. Yet I will abstain from merely referring to it as a hope, a wish, a want, a plea. I will stick with the term I use more scarcely than any other: belief. Though, again, perhaps that is a failure of my imagination.

here's a link: http://www.flyingfilly.com/road_to_the_slaughterhouse.htm#slaughterhouses however I already know of these abbatoirs in Texas and Illinois. Quite a road trip.

breathe and bless -- w.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 10:43 AM

I have not visited a modern factory farm slaughterhouse. As a kid in the fifties, I visited a farm on which both dairy and beef cattle were raised. Our tour did not include the slaughterhouse, other than to walk past it -- and that alone was enough to make a strong impression on me. The bleating, and the smells -- of blood, intestines & their contents, urine, and fear -- was enough to make an impression. Since then I've only seen videos. And of course I've seen many films about hunting, where an animal staggers to it's death after being shot, and is then field cleaned by the proud hunter. Sport!?

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 12:34 PM

Still it's hard to rid my self of the notion that the only breathing creaturea on this planet that can possibly "deserve" the mistreatment that falls so much more commonly on other animals are human beings.

Ditto

I learned about hunting at about age 12, I'd guess. I was out in the woods with my pellet gun, shooting at inanimate things. I had the impulse to shoot a small bird high in a tree -- I suppose partly because it would be a challenge, partly because I'd never hunted and wondered what it would be like, and partly to play god, I suppose: to have ultimate power over another creature. The bird (a beautiful wren) plummeted to ground with a simplicity and directness that one might see in an animated cartoon. Alive one second, profoundly dead the next.

I felt terribly sad, having robbed this bird of its life, having robbed other humans of hearing the joy of its song, and having robbed myself of innocence. At that instant, the notion of hunting became profoundly repulsive to me. Why should I have required that tangible experience to arrive at that conclusion? Can't any kid who's held a teddy bear understand that shooting one is not a good thing? So... I think you're right, you can't understand Auschwitz without having been there.

Sad to say, it took me a long time to connect the dots re eating meat. Our culture so strongly supports meat eating... just as it used to support slavery, and continues to support suppression of women's rights, suppression of the rights of people virtually any color other than lily white, and suppression of the rights of people of of any gender orientation that is not close to the center of the bell curve. To be honest, it took a nudge from my daughter and son, both of whom we taught to be kind to animals of every type. To them, it made no sense whatsoever to preach kindness but practice killing. Imagine that.

What is the allure in meat? Is it that we want to kill, and draw blood? Certainly history would support that view -- we lust for starting wars, especially religious wars. For some cultures, eating meat is a matter of survival -- Inuit people come to mind. For the rest of us, living in industrialized nations it a matter of choice: Lance Armstrong is a vegetarian, and Carl Lewis is vegan. Arguably two of the greatest athletes of all time. That we "need" meat is, of course nonsense. We want it, and will torture, maim, and kill to get it.

People cling to the notion that eating meat is "natural", even proposing the silliest of arguments regarding dentition. Even on the face of it, the argument is weak: our canine teeth are laughable compared to a tiger's teeth: based on teeth alone, we should eat a diet of about 85% vegetables, just as most primates do. But the argument is specious, nevertheless. We have hands with which we can kill other humans. Should we kill other humans, simply because we have the capability?

In the US south, esteemed leaders of many churches argued that it was the white man's duty to protect the Negro by enslaving him -- he could not live a good life without our guidance. Perhaps soon, the arguments for continuing to kill animals for food will seem, to most people, equally nonsensical.

Certainly, if only from a greenhouse gas perspective, eating meat is not a good thing.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 1:06 PM

Hi Ken.

For a large part, I understand where you are coming from.

My problem is looking at a wider picture: the plants and vegetables you eat need to be nourished, and the most natural way is by the application of "well rotted manure". Do you advocate use of artificial fertiliser which causes its own form of pollution, both in production and the run-off when over applied?

Cattle would not be kept solely for their "output", so everyone suddenly stopping eating meat would lead to the demise of yet another range of species at the hands of men. What is worse - sustaining them for our food, or deleting their ilk entirely?

The US prairies are slowly dying - the range of plants is reducing, much of which can be attributed to the lack of cattle. The ecosystem is much more complex than you or I know - see also the thread on the disappearance of bees.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 7:07 PM

Cattle would not be kept solely for their "output", so everyone suddenly stopping eating meat would lead to the demise of yet another range of species at the hands of men.

Actually I can't imagine everyone suddenly giving up meat eating. The process has been gradual, and will probably continue to be gradual, although it has accelerated fairly dramatically in the last two decades, with my ordinary local grocery store offering all sorts of vegetarian and vegan products rarely seen even ten years ago. Whole Foods, which got its start offering vegetarian and organic products has become the largest grocery chain in the US.

When I eat dairy products, I imagine contented cows. I think there are a few farms where cows are well treated, just as there are a great many horse farms where horses are well treated. In practice, in the US, milk cows are not treated the way we imagined when we read "Little House on the Prairie." If they were, milk might cost more. I think that's a fair trade. So I can imagine a time when cows are routinely treated humanely, and that dairy cows will provide plenty of manure. If there aren't enough cows around for that, then sterilized sewage might be a good alternative. Failing that, then artificial fertilizers are a viable alternative.

You're right, the ecosystem is far more complex than I can really understand. But as a society, we are learning, and have generally learned that "live and let live" is not a bad policy unless there is clear evidence to guide us otherwise.

Give me a home, where the cattle run free, and the dear and the antelope play...

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#30
In reply to #23

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/02/2007 10:09 PM

Thanks for the links

Duh wikipedia is our friend.

There are definitly problems w/agriculture as practiced is very petro intensive, There are solutions. I'm not sure how to get past the ADM & Cargils of the world.

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 3:56 AM

Do you have any suggestions as to what to do with the animals once they have stopped producing "enough" milk?

In many parts of the UK, there are problems finding space to lay humans to rest.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 7:50 AM

Is cremation an option in the UK? Is it becoming accepted?

My wife and I will be cremated because we didn't want to use land as a cementary.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 8:08 AM

Yes, it is an option used by about 70%- but how does that affect the pollution levels?

Yet another case of what each person believes to be the most acceptable/ least damaging answer to the problem.

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 12:57 PM

Do you have any suggestions as to what to do with the animals once they have stopped producing "enough" milk?

Put them out to pasture, and gather the manure to use as fertilizer. Once they look like they might better be euthanized, do so and send the meat to countries where it is needed as a matter of survival.

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#35
In reply to #30

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 1:03 PM

I'm not sure how to get past the ADM & Cargils of the world.

Amen.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 2:10 PM

"send the meat to countries where it is needed as a matter of survival."

Or allow those who want it to buy meat to eat, and send a balanced diet - in a form which is easily stored for transport - to those who need it. And if that means taxing meat products........

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#37
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/03/2007 3:11 PM

Sounds good.

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#38
In reply to #21

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/07/2007 7:23 AM

Hi Blink,

You have raised some interesting points and I havn't read the entire article that you supplied the link to but before I forget I would like to discuss several points that have been raised.

First of as part of my job as a field engineer I have needed to visit and work at several abattoirs during the course of my work and the only thing I recall that came anywhere close to the description in the article that your link pointed to was the smell. There was definitely an unpleasant smell but it was no worse than the smell in any dairy of other farm area where cattle were found in numbers.

From what I have read and discussed with butchers, chefs and meat producers it is important that the beast be kept as calm an unstressed as possible prior to slaughtering. As indicated in the article cattle are easily stressed and stress causes the release of large doses of adrenalin like compounds which can dramatically alter the flavor and quality of the meet. As such all the abattoirs I have visited have made a point of keeping the cattle as calm and unstressed as possible. They have also taken measures to isolate the killing process from the live cattle and shield them from the sight, smell and sounds associated with the killing and resultant carcasses. I am relying on my memory here but to the best of my knowledge they would feed the cattle down a race and into a single file. The were then one at a time led into an enclosure where the were isolated from both the rest of the cattle and the slaughter area and knocked unconscious. The unconscious beast was then moved into the slaughter area and the next beast brought into the stall. The whole thing was done in a way that was meant to keep the killing process away from the conscious cattle and reduce the levels of stress. This not only tried to minimize the cruelty but resulted in a higher quality and better tasting end product.

I am told a similar thing happens with fish and if they are not dispatched quickly and allowed to linger in a stressful environment the resultant tissue tastes considerably different and is less nutritious.

Now, I am in no way saying that the article is inaccurate or miss reporting, I am sure it is 100% correct but my point is there are better ways of going about it, they do work and can be implemented. It may cost a little more and take a little longer but in the end both the animals and end users end up better off.

As for the hunting and killing for pleasure, I find it totally incomprehensible and I have not nor ever will be involved in such pseudo sport. However, there are situations where the uncontrolled breeding of wild animals or introduced species leaves a controlled cull the only realistic option. A controlled cull is always a waste but to just leave the killed creature to rot would be an even bigger waste so I see no problem with using the carcasses for food.

For example, in Australia the clearing of scrubland for grazing has created the perfect environment for certain species of kangaroo to breed unchecked and reach plague type numbers. Kangaroos are particularly difficult to contain and control as they can easily jump over fences up to 2 m high so the only solution is to have a controlled cull. The meet from these culled kangaroos is purchased by specialist butchers and sold to the public. When properly prepared and cooked kangaroo is somewhat of a delicacy, is extremely low in fat, very nutritious and extremely filling with 50 to 75 g of lean kangaroo is normally enough to fill even the heaviest of eaters To me it would be an even greater waste to just leave the carcasses of these creatures to jut rot where they fell.

  • Do we "need" meat. Of course not -- the world is full of vegetarian athletes whose bodies work flawlessly.

There are a couple of nutrients that can only be obtained from red meet and if you do a full blood work up of people that completely avoid meet you will usually find that they are short of these nutrients. I can't remember the specifics off the top of my head and all my books are currently in storage due to our move from Adelaide to Sydney but when they arrive I will look it up and post the details of these nutrients.

Another thing to keep in mind is most vitamins are not soluble in water and unless you have some sort of fatty acid present in your stomach when you ingest items containing these vitamins you will not be able to absorb them. It's not uncommon to find that people with a purely vegetarian diet to be deficient in these vitamins and many are often anemic. You can, however, usually get away with having a glass of milk as the fat content in milk is sufficiently high enough to dissolve the fat soluble vitamins and make them absorbable.

On the point of milk, it has been found that children should only consume whole milk. The human brain is primarily fat and if children have a very low fat diet and consume low fat milk they run the risk of suffering from underdevelopment of the brain and associated mental problems.

  • As an alternative to the grim business of visiting a slaughterhouse, there's the possibility of spending time with, and really getting to know a horse. It's a vastly more pleasant way to reach the same conclusion you'd likely come to upon visiting a slaughterhouse.

Horses are fine creatures, however, they are creatures that I am highly allergic to and not only can I not go anywhere near them but even getting too close to somebody that has handled something that has been used on or near a horse causes major problems. When I was at school I had a friend who owned a horse and whenever he cam near me my eyes would start to sting, my nose would start running and if he stayed near me too long I would end up with problems breathing. Horses are unfortunately creatures that I must admire from a considerable distance.

Anyway, it is the differences between us that make life interesting and there is room for vegetarians as well as carnivores and omnivores but there is no room for cruelty and it is the job of us all to make sure that when we do have the necessity to use animals we must do so in the most in the most humane and distress free way possible.

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#39
In reply to #29

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/07/2007 8:31 AM
  • When I eat dairy products, I imagine contented cows. I think there are a few farms where cows are well treated, just as there are a great many horse farms where horses are well treated. In practice, in the US, milk cows are not treated the way we imagined when we read "Little House on the Prairie."

I recently saw an article on TV on a dairy farm that was utilizing a new philosophy to the farming of dairy cattle. It turns out that the average dairy cow can produce around 30 l of milk a day but as their udders can only hold about 10 l they are standing around for about a third of the time with uncomfortably full udders.

What the dairy farmer did was to totally automate the milking machinery and when he noticed the cows had stopped grazing because their udders were full he led them one by one into the automated milking shed. Within a couple of weeks the cows caught on that if they wandered into the milking shed the moment they felt their udders were full they would have the bloated feeling relieved and could get on with eating grass which is what the enjoyed doing the most.

He also used RFID tags to keep track of the milk coming from each of the cows and by analyzing the milk from each of the cows they developed an automated dietary supplement system that fed the cows the appropriate nutrients while they were being milked. He also experimented with playing various types of music to the cows while they were being milked and apparently Mozart speeded up the milking process by about 10%.

Within a couple of months he had a dairy farm that that no only produced 50% more milk but the milk was of considerably higher quality. His cows were happier and healthier, his veterinary cost dropped dramatically and the time he spent working on the farm fell from occupying all his waking hours to a couple of hours a day.

We are supposedly the most intelligent creatures on this planet, although I have sometimes wondered if this is really the case. However, with a little use of that intelligence we can easily come up with ways to work with our environment in a cooperative way that benefits the well being of both ourselves and all the animals and plants that are necessary for our survival.

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/07/2007 3:39 PM

Horses are fine creatures, however, they are creatures that I am highly allergic to and not only can I not go anywhere near them but even getting too close to somebody that has handled something that has been used on or near a horse causes major problems.

I'm somewhat that way with dogs, and to a lesser extent, with cats. (I live with cats, and always wash my hands after petting them, etc., and make sure I don't get scratched, which causes welts, watering eyes sneezes, etc.) Dogs are fine in open air, and calm dogs are usually OK in houses, but houses with frisky dogs fairly often give me allergic symptoms. I can certainly understand your reluctance to be around horses.

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/07/2007 3:41 PM

The automated process should be taken a few more steps, to collect the methane. Cows are creatures of habit, we should take this into account & gather the methane. Methane should be collected & concentrated, for the production of energy. Only 1/4 of the methane cows emit, comes from manure. Factory farms are enevitable, they should be as efficient & humane as possible, as you point out, contented cow are more efficient protein producers.

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/07/2007 3:43 PM

That's a wonderful story, and a good indication of the value of thinking outside the box, and the synergistic effects of sound engineering. I suppose Mozart's descendants should be earning royalties!

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#43
In reply to #40

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/08/2007 3:51 AM

Hi Ken,

I am one of those people that has a real problem with allergies and some of them can be fairly dangerous if not treated quickly and aggressively.

I am a believer in the concept of pets being an important part of life and have always had them whenever it has been possible to do so. Unfortunately my allergies have become somewhat worse over the years and it now severely limits what pets I can have around. On the dog front I have found that poodles and other species that have wool rather than hair or fur reduce the allergy problem to almost zero. We currently live with 3 dogs, a pedigree bitsa (bits of this bits of that), a miniature poodle and a Maltese terrier. The poodle and Maltese have wool so they aren't a problem and the bitsa isn't too bad and provided somebody gives it a brush the problems are kept under control.

Cats on the other hand are a big problem and I can no longer have them anywhere near me of inside the house. Back when I was younger we had a Siamese cat called Suling which was quiet a character and completely ruled the house. Suling lived till the age of nearly 19 and none of the dogs we had during the time she was with us would dare to cross, upset, chase or get on the wrong side of her. She was really small but a total and complete bundle of dynamite that could go off very easily. The back of our house is about 3 m off the ground so rather than walking down to the garden to empty the tea pot of used tea leaves you normally just emptied the contents out the window and on to the garden below. One day Suling was investigating the garden, probably looking for lizards which was her favorite pass time, when somebody emptied the tea pot over her. Boy, what a performance. You could hear her vocalizing her displeasure all the way round the house, through the front window, down the hall, across the dining room and into the kitchen where she cornered the offender and read them the riot act.

Cats in Australia are a serious problem and they are responsible for the extinction of a large number of native species. Until European settlement just over 200 years ago, the only mammalian predator of any real concern was the dingo which was also introduced around 3,000 years ago. As a result the native fauna had evolved in isolation and relatively free of predation so the arrival of an aggressive predator like the domestic cat had a massive impact. The domesticated ones were bad enough but it didn't take long for some to go ferrule and they are now an extremely serious continent wide problem.

Australia's isolation has produce a mind blowing array of strange and unique creatures including the echidna and platypus which are the sole remaining examples of monotremes. The introduction of exotic fauna like cats, rabbits, cane toads, etcetera, has been absolutely catastrophic and given Australia the highest extinction rate in the world. It gets even worse because many of the creatures that have gone extinct are the sole remaining examples left on earth.

The rabbit problem has to a certain extent been brought under control with the introduction of diseases like Myxomatosis and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease but it has not completely eliminated the problem. There is also the chance they will either develop or have an immunity introduced and cause another uncontrollable population explosion.

The problem of introduced species in Australia shows you just how careful you must be and how something that appears as innoxious as the rabbit can cause continent wide death and destruction.

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#44
In reply to #41

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/08/2007 8:56 AM

Hi Garthh,

  • The automated process should be taken a few more steps, to collect the methane. Cows are creatures of habit, we should take this into account & gather the methane. Methane should be collected & concentrated, for the production of energy. Only 1/4 of the methane cows emit, comes from manure.

There is considerable debate over how much methane is or is not produced by cattle and it may be considerably less than the current estimate of 115 Tg Year-1 which is slightly less than 20% of the total methane released into the atmosphere. Methane has been discussed fairly extensively in the Methane & Biogas from Waste & Garbage thread.

As you have alluded to most of the methane produced by cattle comes from the upper gastrointestinal GI tract rather than the lower GI tract and is belched out. Collecting this would be a seriously difficult thing to do and the only method I can see working is to keep the cattle in a closed environment at all times. Doing this would not only be expensive and difficult it would also raise a whole stack of ethical questions and would more than likely never be allowed to happen on a large scale.

The other problem you need to keep in mind is how much energy is expended in the capturing, purifying and storage process and it would more than likely take much more energy to collect and transform the free methane into some sort of usable form.

Like with most problems an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so I would hazard to say that it would be fare easier to prevent the methane from being created in the first place than trying to prevent it from reaching or removing it from the atmosphere. I cant remember when or where but I seem to remember something about biologists trying to modify the bacteria that live in the upper GI tract of cattle and are responsible for the methane. I believe what they are trying to do is modify the bacteria so they will do pretty much the same as they do now except without producing methane. If they succeeded then by replacing the naturally occurring bacteria with the modified ones would eliminate the problem right at the source.

As with any problem it always pays to take a couple of steps back so you can get a better overall view of the problem. Collecting and utilizing the methane from cattle sounds like a good idea by itself, but if you look at with a slightly wider field of view the complexities and inefficiencies involved mean that you would almost certainly end up expending more energy and creating more pollution than not collecting it in the first place.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/08/2007 3:56 PM

Yea I followed that other thread.

I suggesting that cows emit methane @ regular intervals throughout their day. Timing is everything & using the methane in situ, could be for something as simple as light.

so you would end up w/belching sheds to gather up the gas the concentration could be kept high, as the animals would only be exposed for short periods of time, molecular sieves could be used to increase the concentration. Methane @ 5% concentration will spin a turbine.

I'm sure you're right about the complication & expense of such a system.

Things that don't make sense when oil is $20/bbl, look alot more promising @$80/bbl.

Just something to consider.

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 1:29 AM

Hi Garthh,

I gather you havn't visited any of the cattle stations in Australia. They are unbelievably humongous and the larger ones like Anna Creek Station which covers 34,000 km2, are bigger than many countries.

They only ever round the cattle up when they need to be vaccinated or sold and it normally entails the use of helicopters, light aircraft, motor bikes and a whole stack of other fossil fuel guzzling machines. On nearly all the Australian cattle stations it would be completely impossible to even contemplate rounding up the cattle several times a day in order to collect the methane.

Collecting the methane from cattle would be a seriously difficult thing to do and you would almost certainly end up generating far more pollution and consume more energy than you could expect from the collected methane.

Methane is however a particularly bad short term green house gas but it does break down over time and is released naturally by things like swamps, marshes and a whole great stack of other natural sources. Currently it is believed that cattle are responsible for around 19% of the total annual atmospheric methane while natural sources are responsible for around 45% of the total. Methane is also unstable and breaks down naturally in the atmosphere so its effect is greater over short periods unlike CO2 which has long term consequences.

Annually it is believed cattle grazing is responsible for the release of some 115 Tg of methane. Methane however has s high short term effect and over 20 years it has about 72 times the effect of CO2 which makes it roughly equivalent to 8.28 Pg of CO2 which is not insignificant when you compare it to the annual man made CO2 emissions of 27 Pg.

If cattle are indeed responsible for the amount of methane that it is believed they are then addressing it would definitely be something worth doing. However, trying to collect it at the source would definitely be a seriously difficult, complex and costly task that would almost certainly produce more pollution and consume more energy than it saved. That leave the only prevention as the only realistic option. If we are to continue consuming and producing beef as we currently do then modifying the bacteria that reside in the cattle and are responsible for the production of methane would definitely be one of the simpler and more efficient solutions.

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#47
In reply to #23

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 3:24 AM

I recall, my self a former track&field man, specializing in the same events as Lewis, watching one lazy afternoon in excitement and disappointment as his greatest performance ever, in the '91 World Championships in which after setting at age 30 his greatest 100m performance ever of 9.86 seconds in what was then the closest and fastest 100m race ever ran w/o question, he had a series of long jumps just at or barely over 29 feet only to be upstaged by one incredible -- notable not only for its length but for the height he achieved, being a former high jumper who once cleared 7 feet 5 inches -- world record jump by Mike Powell, a man who, had he the speed of Lewis along with his leaping prowess, could have jumped 31 feet I am sure. Best track&field competition ever. Best individual performance I have ever seen is still Michael Johnson's earth-shattering record of 19.32 in the 200m at the '96 Olympics. These events now seem at times absolute jokes, even with the emergence of Jeremy Wariner and Tyson Gay, w/o these men competing. Especially the long jump, where it is rare to see a single athlete even approach 28 feet. Would that there was footage of that supposed bad foul call when Lewis supposedly jumped at least 30 feet. (I do not understand why they simply do not measure, as long as the foot is within, say, six inches of the takeoff board, the distance from the end of the take-off toe to the landing -- how many great jumps have been fouls by an inch or two? Who cares, to me it is the physical feat not the exact launching point as predetermined that best meeets the definition of longest jump.) I also simply do not understand why great 100m runners rarely long jump, especially as in America if you grow up as the fastest runner at your school you also almost automatically compete in the long jump and are the best at that event as well. Of course, had men such as Bo Jackson or even Deion Sanders competed in the decathalon they'd have been able to break 10,000 points easily I have no doubt, and it seems likely other competitors in professional sports could easily compete in track&field, and in my opinion dominate.

Back to the topic -- many world-class athletes are vegetarians, even vegans. Carl Lewis was very vocal about nutrition and its importance in his performances, claiming to have a planned-down-to-the-minute-and-calories diet and entire schedule. He said something, classy of course, to the effect of knowing precisely when he would have each bowel movement. When lesss than a thousandth of a second lean at a finish line can determine gold from silver, nothing is left to chance by the most elite and disciplined athletes. I also recall Lance Armstrong stating near the end of the latest Tour debacle that what he missed about cycling was not the intense competition -- which surprised me -- or even so much the camaraderie, but the incredibly narrow and simplistic lifestye: eat, train, sleep, repeat.

I think Bruce Lee was vegetarian. Ed Moses. Don't know of any big muscle-bound ones, though. I'm sure it can be done, though. Just sticking to vegetarians rather than vegans, it's no secret that milk is possibly the best protein source available. Try a google search.

-w

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 5:10 AM

Hi Wayne02,

For you next birthday I an going to get you a sheet of full stops (periods or . for US residents) so you can break up your posts. I can talk and am accused of being long winded but even I ran out of breath reading your first sentence.

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#49
In reply to #46

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 11:18 AM

Actually that is exactly the sort of facility I'm talking about. The example of the automated milking operation you talked about in #39, is just the beginning of automation. There are more than a million cows w/in 200km of where I am. Some operations have automated the movements of the cows. Eating, moving, resting, milking...... gates open & the cow move to the next area. Enviromental regulation is causing this shift towards responsible groundwater & runoff practices. The areial emissions are coming under ever increasing scrunity. The population growth in the coastal & urban areas is causing an influx of dairies & feedlots to my area. Since these are new or greatly expanded operations, they fall under New & greatly expanded regulation. The economics of compliance will drive the innovations.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 12:23 PM

"The aerial emissions are coming under ever increasing scrutiny."

Generally, it is industrial pollutants which can be avoided that the legislation covers - Large quantities of CO2 are given off by the brewing process, but there is no legislation requiring its capture, so unless profit can be made by selling the gas, this is not done. It is seen as unavoidable natural byproduct, so can be released into the atmosphere at will. (UK)

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#51
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Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 12:38 PM

I enjoyed track in high school, and loved pole vaulting. I could eat anything and would never gain weight. To develop upper body strength, I did lots of weight lifting and rope climbing (I was the only kid in school who could climb to the gym ceiling twice, without using any feet). But what really made the exercising pay off was protein supplementation, mainly whey and soy.

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#52
In reply to #50

Re: Future Energy Sources 6.1 Direct Culture of Meat Products

10/09/2007 5:33 PM

Here in one of the most polluted air basins in the states [San Jouquin Valley, California] All emissions are under increased scrutiny, especially particulate & all smog forming compounds are begining to be regulated, methane is very high on the action lists.

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