Journal, Winter 2006, Organic Agriculture and GMOs

Wise Traditions, Volume 7, Number 4





President’s Message: Sacred Cows

by Sally Fallon

What a world of contradictions we live in when a recent United Nation’s report on the environment blames not industrial chemicals, not pesticides, not the use of fossil fuels in cars, planes and other forms of transport, but cows as the world’s top destroyer of the environment! That’s right, the planet’s 1.5 billion cattle are fingered as the greatest threat to climate, forests and wildlife; noxious gases that cause global warming and acid rain, desertification, polluted water and weeds choking out all other forms of life are crimes charged to the sacred cow. Here’s our question: did the vast herds of buffalo, deer, elk and moose grazing the grasslands and forests of the American continent and of zebra, gazelles and similar ruminants in Africa, all producing tons of methane and manure daily, pose a similar threat to the environment over their centuries of existence?

The real problem, of course, is not the livestock that have served mankind for countless generations, but the industrialization of agriculture that has turned the sacred cow into a unit of production in the name of efficiency. We all know that this system is efficient only in its ability to concentrate wealth and bankrupt every aspect of rural life–farmers, communities and resources. But strangely, these unhappy animals will not be the first targets of those bureaucracies charged with looking after our welfare–no, the first targets will be the animals that still live in balance with nature–the cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry that live outside in the sunlight, improving the soil with their manure and transforming the grasses, inedible to humans, into healthy meat, milk and eggs without any input of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

In this issue, we share two visions of sustainable farming, through the inspiring writings of Dr. Joseph Heckman and Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. In these visions, livestock form the centerpiece of the productive, non-polluting farm, providing healthy meat and milk, improving the soil and even contributing to a sustainable energy cycle that can eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Such farms offer the hope of environmental excellence, rural prosperity and vibrant health.

As always, we continue to offer the tools you need to further an agriculture system centered on the sacred cow. The attorney Carl Little provides advice on cow share contracts and Judith McGeary keeps us up to date on that emerging bully, the National Animal Identification System.

We enjoyed seeing so many of you at our 7th annual conference. It’s not too soon to start planning for Wise Traditions 2008, once again held at the beautiful Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, Virginia over Veterans’ Day weekend. Next year’s theme: Radiant Health for Children and Their Parents. See you there!

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