Study Proves Sustainable Farms, Organic Farming Beats Factory Farms
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Study Proves Sustainable Farms, Organic Farming Beats Factory Farms

Study Proves Sustainable Farms, Organic Farming Beats Factory Farms
English: Organic cultivation of mixed vegetabl...

English: Organic cultivation of mixed vegetables on an organic farm in Capay, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Christina Sarich

October 15th, 2013
For those who are appalled at the way animals are treated in conventional livestock production, there is a better way. Sustainable livestock production practices include providing greater animal welfare, increasing biodiversity, and extending good working conditions to those who care for the animals, all while maintaining a profitable business. A new study clarifies this further, showing how sustainable livestock care outperforms that of factory farms.

More and more people are turning to small farms and more sustainable practices as a means to get their meat. New research from the University of Cambridge (U of C) has identified silvopastoral systems of livestock production as a means of sustainable, ethically sourced food production. This system differs from the tiny cages and infinitesimal square footage that our livestock is most often raised in now. It includes shrubs, and trees with edible leaves or fruits and lots of herbs for natural grazing.

Professor Donald Broom of U of C states that:

“Consumers are now demanding more sustainable and ethically sourced food, including production without negative impacts on animal welfare, the environment and the livelihood of poor producers. Silvopastoral systems address all of these concerns with the added benefit of increased production in the long term.”

Now, even cows that are lucky enough to go to pasture are relegated to GMO grains as a means to fatten them for slaughter. They are also often pumped full of hormones and antibiotics which have led to all sorts of health issues in the humans who consume their meat. The current agricultural and livestock production methods also dramatically decrease biodiversity, as well as pollute the soil and waterways due to the chemicals and artificial fertilizer that is necessary to grow animal feed, and maintain the pasture. In the current paradigm, animal feed is rife with GMOs, too.

Instead of this outdated means of livestock production, the researchers from U of C advocate using a diverse group of edible plants that will help with soil and water retention and cause less pesticide-laden run-off. This in turn:

  • Reduces stress and injury to animals
  • Improves the working conditions and overall satisfaction for farm workers
  • Encourages biodiversity which affects the entire food chain – from plant to insect to bird, bee, and bovine

Further, the researchers point out that varying types of shrubs and trees provide more edible leaves and shoots per unit of land area than cleared pasture land. Trees and shrubs also provide shade to the animals and allow them to hide from any perceived danger. In short, it is a more natural environment for them to live in.

 

Continue reading at Study Proves Sustainable Farms, Organic Farming Beats Factory Farms : Natural Society.

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