Vegetarian Discussion: Andrew Tyler: Don't Follow The Herd And Give A Cow For Christmas

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Pearl
2006-12-11 06:57:28 EST

'The Independent Online Edition

Andrew Tyler: Don't follow the herd and give a cow for Christmas

These gifts are not a good thing. They serve only to increase, not
diminish, poverty

Published: 27 November 2006

We're about to enter the season of gut-busting excess, when the
tills don't stop ringing and our appetites for giving and receiving
get well and truly sated. Just in time, another gift idea has come
along that is not about self-indulgence but doing good in the
world; or so it would seem.

Paying for farm animals to be gifted to impoverished communities
in the developing world, notably Africa, has moved from novelty
to omnipresent fashion. The aid agencies Oxfam and Christian Aid
made the early running. But this year about a dozen agencies are
using your money to punt goats, chickens, sheep, camels, donkeys,
pigs and cows to the world's starving. Prices vary : \ufffd70 will get you
a cow from Help The Aged, whereas Send A Cow demands \ufffd750
per animal. Farm Friends wants \ufffd30 for a goat, while World Vision
will settle for \ufffd91 for a whole herd.

The marketing strategy is resolutely upbeat. "Socks? A CD?," asks
Farm Friend, "The search for a genuinely memorable present is over."
The cow on Help the Aged's leaflet, meanwhile, is garbed in a Santa
hat to distinguish the agency's effort from the rest of the herd.

The message might bring comfort to the target audience, but such
schemes, sadly, are not a good thing. They serve only to increase
not diminish poverty. Why? Because farming animals is an
inefficient, expensive and environmentally destructive way of
producing food. All farmed animals require proper nourishment,
large quantities of water, shelter from extremes of weather and
veterinary care. Such resources are in critically short supply in much
of Africa. In fact, the wide variation in prices asked by the donor
agencies testifies to this reality: arguments have broken out between
Send A Cow on the one hand and Christian Aid and Oxfam on the
other, as to the "quality" of the animal delivered and whether the
many supplementary costs are covered in the asking price.

Sceptical readers might,at this point, accuse me of dressing up a
concern about animal welfare as a concern for the world's poor.
Let's be clear that there are major animal welfare issues involved in
sending animals to, for instance, the Horn of Africa where, earlier
this year, up to 80 per cent of cattle perished in a drought and many
of the remainder were washed away in the floods that followed.
But this is not about cows taking precedence over people.

The reality is that animal gift schemes are, in the words of the
conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT), "environmentally
unsound and economically disastrous". In a statement last week,
WLT declared: "Now that the grave consequences of introducing
large numbers of goats and other domestic animals into fragile,
arid environments is well documented, WLT considers it grossly
irresponsible ... to continue with the schemes ... as a means of
raising quick money for charities over the Christmas season".

It is incontestable that desertification and further human
impoverishment will follow the introduction of goats into already
degraded areas. But if goats are environmentally disastrous, cows
are extraordinarily burdensome economically. A newly lactating
animal requires up to 90 litres of water a day, a lot of food and
veterinary treatment to cover endemic problems such as scours,
mastitis and lameness.

But where do the vets come from? EU dairy farmers receive $2 a
day per cow to remain financially viable. For many years, British
sheep farmers have received more than 40 per cent of their income
from the taxpayer. If such feather-bedding is needed in the
comparatively benign agricultural environment of the West, how
can we expect the poorest people on earth to cope with their
animal "gifts"? It is many times more efficient to use the available
agricultural resources - land, labour, water - to feed people direct,
rather than devoting those resources to fattening animals.

Some donor agencies try to confront the inherent inefficiencies
of animal farming by setting up "zero-grazing" regimes. In other
words, the animals get permanently banged up in sheds. But they
still need water and food - and, in such deprived environments,
suffer high levels of economically punishing disease, early infertility
and premature death.

Ultimately, my objection is to the commercial forces that are
seeking to persuade people of the poor world that their best
nutritional interests are served by buying into modern,
high-throughput farmed animal production processes. With that
comes an addiction to high capital input systems, additional
stresses on precious water supplies, environmental destruction,
a loss of control over the means of production, bad health, a
nightmare animal welfare scenario and more human poverty and
malnourishment.

So this year, boycott the donate-an-animal schemes and instead
support projects that help people, animals and the environment.
Animal Aid, for example, will be seeking support for a scheme
to plant 2,000 trees in Kenya's Rift Valley province. They will
bear oranges, avocados, mango, pawpaw, kei apple and
macadamia nuts. Such efforts won't erase the blight of poverty
in Africa, but neither will they add to it.

The writer is director of Animal Aid
a* @ animalaid.co.uk



Roy. Just Roy.
2006-12-11 09:01:15 EST

pearl wrote:
> Animal Aid, for example, will be seeking support for a scheme
> to plant 2,000 trees in Kenya's Rift Valley province. They will
> bear oranges, avocados, mango, pawpaw, kei apple and
> macadamia nuts.

... which the people will be lucky to see any of.

Arbor-based crops in Africa are a risky venture for even the most
stable of Kenya's regions. The high rates of HIV infection on the
continent (now approaching 50% in the Central African area, according
to WHO), along with the cultural and legal biases against women
inheriting their husbands' land, are negating long term investments
such as fruit trees. In all likelihood, your glorious fruity trees will
be cut down for firewood LONG before they bear their first orange.

Animals, on the other hand, can be handled communally and moved along
with refugees, so that if any particular farmer dies of disease (HIV or
otherwise), or the region destabilizes, the village food supply can
continue. Such projects with poultry have met with success both on
continent (in Senegal) and off continent (in Panama).

Furthermore, poultry and milking animals are needed to supply an almost
instaneous supply of protein to the populace. What are the people going
to do while they are waiting for the 3 years it takes for an orange
tree to sprout its first fruit? Animals also serve as efficient
scavengers of garbage dumps and manure piles - a chicken can gain
almost 40% of its diet from coprophagy - like rats and rabbits, it has
evolved the means of digesting microbial protein from its own feces to
supplement its diet, and an instinct to do so.

Veganism is a luxury to be enjoyed by the rich and ONLY the rich. We
should not try and impose such cultures upon the Africans - if
anything, the beating the US took in Somalia should have taught us
that.

/Roy


Pearl
2006-12-11 12:49:21 EST
"Roy. Just Roy." <delduck3@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1165845675.337118.111750@80g2000cwy.googlegroups.com...
>
> pearl wrote:
> > Animal Aid, for example, will be seeking support for a scheme
> > to plant 2,000 trees in Kenya's Rift Valley province. They will
> > bear oranges, avocados, mango, pawpaw, kei apple and
> > macadamia nuts.
>
> ... which the people will be lucky to see any of.
>
> Arbor-based crops in Africa are a risky venture for even the most
> stable of Kenya's regions. The high rates of HIV infection on the
> continent (now approaching 50% in the Central African area, according
> to WHO), along with the cultural and legal biases against women
> inheriting their husbands' land, are negating long term investments
> such as fruit trees. In all likelihood, your glorious fruity trees will
> be cut down for firewood LONG before they bear their first orange.
>
> Animals, on the other hand, can be handled communally and moved along
> with refugees, so that if any particular farmer dies of disease (HIV or
> otherwise), or the region destabilizes, the village food supply can
> continue. Such projects with poultry have met with success both on
> continent (in Senegal) and off continent (in Panama).
>
> Furthermore, poultry and milking animals are needed to supply an almost
> instaneous supply of protein to the populace. What are the people going
> to do while they are waiting for the 3 years it takes for an orange
> tree to sprout its first fruit? Animals also serve as efficient
> scavengers of garbage dumps and manure piles - a chicken can gain
> almost 40% of its diet from coprophagy - like rats and rabbits, it has
> evolved the means of digesting microbial protein from its own feces to
> supplement its diet, and an instinct to do so.
>
> Veganism is a luxury to be enjoyed by the rich and ONLY the rich. We
> should not try and impose such cultures upon the Africans - if
> anything, the beating the US took in Somalia should have taught us
> that.
>
> /Roy

'In 1991, Dr. Sanchez accepted a position as the head of ICRAF
in Nairobi, Kenya. There, he quickly discovered that African
agricultural production lagged due to the extremely depleted nature
of the soil. Dr. Sanchez' most enduring contribution to ending
world hunger has been his development of the means to replenish
crucial nutrients in exhausted soils, through the development and
promotion of agroforestry. This practice of planting trees on farms,
when combined with adding locally available rock phosphate to
the soil, has provided farmers in Africa with a way to fertilize
their soils inexpensively and naturally, without relying on costly
chemical fertilizers.

The 150,000 small scale farmers who are utilizing Dr. Sanchez'
methods are experiencing greatly increased yields, in some cases
200% to 400% above previous plantings. In response to this
success, ICRAF plans to help African farmers plant 5.5 billion
more trees over the next decade, the equivalent of another
tropical rainforest. ICRAF's goal is to move 20 million people
out of poverty and remove more that 100 million tons of CO2
from the air with this project.'
http://www.worldfoodprize.org/2002Laureate/pressrelease.htm

'..Africa. Half of the world's livestock-dependent people live here,
along with 15% of both the world's sheep and cattle and nearly 1/3
of all goats -- animals renowned for their ability to eat almost any
plant (some kinds of goats can even climb trees to reach browse).

Africa's 183 million cattle, 197 million sheep, and 163 million goats
are supported almost entirely by grazing and browsing. Most of the
huge continent is used by livestock. Non-livestock Africa consists
mostly of desolate portions of the Sahara, Namib, and Kalahari
Deserts; what remains of the dense, central African tropical rainforest;
the tsetse fly portions; scattered farming areas; and the few (partially)
protected wildlife preserves. The image of Africa as a gigantic,
unfenced wildlife landscape is wholly false. In fact, much more land
is dedicated to livestock, and by far most wildlife is gone.
...
Aside from the tsetse areas, ranching and nomadic herding are
common south of Africa's central rainforest, large areas of which
have been cleared for livestock. Recent studies show mounting range
deterioration throughout southern Africa. In the Kalahari region, cattle
and range developments have ruined much of the grassland and
semigrassland, leading to the deaths of millions of antelope and other
wild animals. In the late 1970s in the Kalahari, drought-stricken
migrating wildebeests piled up against new cattle fences; 200,000 out
of 230,000 migrants died of thirst because they couldn't reach water.
Ranching and herding have also ravaged the land of, plundered the
livelihood of, and made virtual slaves of thousands of Bushmen -- the
tribespeople who had gathered and hunted here for more than 10,000
years. Many now live in shanties and tend cattle for their stockmen
bosses.

A 1984 United Nations report states, "The degradation of rangelands
caused by overgrazing is doubtless the most serious environmental
problem facing Botswana." The nation's cattle outnumber people 2
to 1, and are a traditional measure of wealth. Much of the land is
stripped bare, and during droughts starving goats climb atop cars to
reach withered leaves and onto roofs to eat thatch. Having killed the
tsetse with herbicides, ranchers are invading Botswana's last
remaining wetlands. Thousands of miles of fences built to exclude
wildebeests, zebra, antelope, water buffalo, elephants, and other
wild animals thought to carry livestock diseases kill tens of
thousands of these wild animals yearly; for example, more than
50,000 wildebeests died in 1983 alone. Like many others, the
Botswanan government is dedicated to serving big-time ranchers,
and many high government officials are themselves cattle barons.

Sheep ranching is intensive in South Africa and northwest in
neighboring Namibia, though not elsewhere in southern Africa.
Forty million of the fleecy beasts overgraze millions of acres of
the scraggly brush and surviving grass there. In southeast Africa
the populous Zulu tribe has evolved to regard cattle as indicative
of wealth and status - to the great harm of the environment.
..
Back on the mainland, moving north through eastern Africa, we
find that large portions of the south have relatively few livestock,
thanks to the tsetse fly and other deterrents. From central Tanzania
northward through Ethiopia, however, cattle, sheep, and goat
damage is moderate to severe. Portions of the coastal lowlands are
overgrazed, and some of the dominant nomadic herders here kill
anyone venturing onto their grazing territories. The 100,000 square-mile
Afar Triangle, just west of where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden,
contains some of the lowest, hottest, driest, and most desolate land
on Earth; yet, even here herders allow their goats, sheep, and camels
to take what scant vegetation and fresh water still exists.

In the livestock-ravaged highlands, human starvation is periodic, as
recently demonstrated once again in Ethiopia. Livestock plague the
region's arable lands and make them more susceptible to drought
and other natural vagaries in climate, frequently even eating crops.
Bare dirt is spreading as stock raisers topple trees for fodder and
livestock eat saplings and groundcover. The Masai, one of the
region's large, nomadic herding tribes, has over the centuries
become so over-specialized and dependent upon livestock that
they sometimes allow their animals every last available leaf and
drop of water in an area rather than risk losing their source of milk,
blood (they drink it), and meat. Masai populations have tripled
over the past 30 years; their livestock numbers have also soared
and grazing pressure mounts.

The Ethiopian highlands were once among the most biologically
diverse non-tropical forestlands on Earth; now they are among
the most damaged. The rate of deforestation here is one of the
highest anywhere, and only 3% of Ethiopia's original forest
remains. Herders currently are driving livestock into the few
remaining rugged areas not yet overgrazed. Recent reports from
Ethiopia's northern mountains tell of the forest understory in
previously ungrazed areas being stripped of every edible leaf and
twig.

In northern Kenya, Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf), one of
Africa's largest lakes, has shrunk dramatically in recent years.
Many people think overgrazing of the vast Turkana Basin is the
main cause. In southern Kenya, deforestation of mid-altitude
brushland and upland forest to improve livestock pasture is
occurring "at an alarming rate," according to the UN.

Not far south, in northern Tanzania, lies Africa's largest caldera,
a 12-mile diameter, steep-walled crater named Ngorongoro.
Mostly livestock-free since 1974, and protected from
encroaching ranching, farming, and poaching, the grass-, shrub-,
and tree-filled Ngorongoro is now one of the planet's greatest
game preserves.

The vast belt of steppe and grassland from the Ethiopian highlands
3500 miles west to the Atlantic, from the Sahara 1000 miles south
to the rainforest -- sometimes termed the Sahel -- is also a land of
cattle, sheep, goats, and famine. Here, periodically, many thousands
die from starvation; the emaciated people often are pictured lying in
the dust beside their skeletal cattle -- the cattle that symbolize their
wealth and prestige! As throughout much of the world, social
inequities are largely to blame for the famines; however, contemporary
livestock production is a major cause of these inequities, as well as an
inefficient and destructive food production system. The Worldwatch
Institute, a Washington, DC-based environmental think tank, states
that "virtually all the rangeland [in this region] is "at least moderately
degraded." According to ecologist Paul Ehrfich, "In the Sahel, the
territory just south of the Sahara, and in Africa in general, cattle are
playing a major role in this desertification" (Ehrlich 1986). The Sahel
livestock population quadrupled between World War 11 and 1968,
and remains many times higher than the land can accommodate.

Livestock grazing throughout the vast bulk of this region has turned
thousands of square miles into wasteland, and continues to do so at
an ever-accelerating rate. For example Mauritania recorded only 43
sandstorms between 1960 Q 1970, but 10 times this number in the
following decade, with a record 240 sandstorms in 1983 alone.
Officials here and throughout drier Africa report a main cause of
devegetation and land degradation is herders breaking branches from
the already small tree population to feed livestock, and cutting woody
vegetation to build livestock enclosures. In The Sudan, about 30% of
which has been seriously desertified during the past 50 years,
thousands of square miles of forest are burned annually to increase
livestock forage. And Lake Chad, the largest natural lake in northern
Africa and one of the largest closed river basins in the world, has
shrunk to merely 20% of its size only a few decades ago, mostly due
to livestock-caused desertification and livestock production practices.

According to various sources, the Sahara Desert (or rather, desert-like
condition) is expanding southward at a fluctuating, rough average of
2-6 miles per year, with livestock production the principal cause.

"There were those who even claimed that the huge Sahara Desert was
a man-made product caused by shepherds burning the jungle, and by
the subsequent overgrazing of ever larger herds of goats and sheep.
Moderm research has proved this to be so.
--Thor Heyerdahl, Fatu-Hiva

"Recent research has demonstrated that the Sahara was covered with
trees as recently as 6, 000 B.C., and that it was turned into a desert
by nomadic tribes that burned the trees to provide grazing areas for
their herds.
--Jacques Cousteau, The Ocean World

Only 6000 years ago the Sahara Desert was largely covered with trees,
brush, and grass, and has since become arid. Much evidence also
indicates that, as is the case in many of the world's drylands, livestock
grazing was a significant contributor to this aridification. Contemporary
livestock herding over more than 2/3 of the USA-sized, sandy, barren
wasteland we now call the Sahara Desert continues to deplete what
scant soil, vegetation, and water sources remain. Stock raising is
carried on wherever possible with little regard for sustained yield or
environmental consequences. However, livestock ownership here is
less a matter of survival than tradition, honor, and glory.

The region all along the northern coast of Africa and south for many
miles into the interiors of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco was 2000
years ago extensively utilized to provide livestock and crops to the
Roman Empire. Much of it was covered with forests. Today, the
climate has not changed much, but the area is largely desolate. WC.
Lowdermilk writes:
Over a large part of the ancient granary of Rome we found the soil
washed off to bedrock and the hills seriously gullied as a result of
overgrazing... With the coming of the grazing culture, brought in by
invading nomads from Arabie; erosion was unleashed by overgrazing
of the hills. We can see here on the landscape how the soil mantle
was washed off the upper slopes to bedrock Accelerated run off
from the bared rock cut gullies into the upper edge of the soil mantle,
working it downhill as if a great rug were being pulled off the hills.
In this manner has the country been seriously damaged, and the
capacity to support a population much reduced. (Lowdermilk 1975)

Today, the region is still tremendously overgrazed by millions of
cattle and tens of millions of sheep and goats. The United Nations
reports that "Rangelands have been overgrazed with three head of
cattle where only one could thrive .... Two-thirds of the land area
of Tunisia is being eaten away by desertification." The Sahara is
expanding north as well as south.

Far to the east, in Egypt's richly fertile, intensely overpopulated
Nile River Delta, much potential cropland is used instead for the
less efficient production of 5 million cattle.

Overall, Africa rivals any continent in the extent of livestock
production damage. Overgrazing, forest clearing, and other
livestock production activities are major factors in the decline of
most African endangered wildlife, including the gorilla. Between
1850 and 1980 Africa lost 60% of its forest cover, perhaps mostly
to promote livestock. African stock raisers have killed millions of
large herbivores as competitors, and because they think that
wildlife spreads livestock diseases. Historically, disease epidemics
introduced by cattle have repeatedly decimated Africa's wildlife,
causing severe ecological disruptions. Livestock protection rivals,
and in many areas exceeds, sport hunting and poaching as the main
cause of predator mortality, with similarly profound environmental
consequences. Stock raisers encouraging new growth burn many
millions of acres unnaturally each year. Overgrazing has caused
gigantic dust storms and accelerated hydraulic erosion, displacing
much of the soil over vast areas. Africa's infamous locust invasions,
caused mostly by overgrazing, worsen the devastation. (..) Livestock
production has displaced many native tribal cultures, and is, along
with human overpopulation and unjust food distribution, the major
anthropogenic cause of relentless famine in Africa. The continent's
cattle, sheep, and goat population doubled between 1950 and 1987,
and continues to increase at a high overall rate, despite sporadic and
massive livestock die-offs.
..'
http://www.wasteofthewest.com/Chapter6.html




Roy. Just Roy.
2006-12-11 16:40:55 EST

pearl wrote:
> This practice of planting trees on farms, when combined with
> adding locally available rock phosphate to the soil

The addition of rock phosphate is a poor substitute for composted
animal fertilizers, and provides no needed nitrogen. In an orchard
situation, goats are prime natural means of controlling underbrush and
reducing insect pests by consuming fallen fruit that escapes
harvesting.

If you want to plant orchards in Africa, by all means, go for it. But
don't be surprised when those same farmers that thank you for your
trees turn right around the day after you brits leave and stick Farm
Friend goats between them. That's life in the Third World.

/Roy


Pearl
2006-12-12 06:21:40 EST
"Roy. Just Roy." <delduck3@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1165873253.812383.306700@j72g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> pearl wrote:
> > This practice of planting trees on farms, when combined with
> > adding locally available rock phosphate to the soil
>
> The addition of rock phosphate is a poor substitute for composted
> animal fertilizers, and provides no needed nitrogen. In an orchard
> situation, goats are prime natural means of controlling underbrush and
> reducing insect pests by consuming fallen fruit that escapes
> harvesting.
>
> If you want to plant orchards in Africa, by all means, go for it. But
> don't be surprised when those same farmers that thank you for your
> trees turn right around the day after you brits leave and stick Farm
> Friend goats between them. That's life in the Third World.
>
> /Roy

Clearly a troll.



Rupert
2006-12-20 04:57:03 EST

pearl wrote:
> "Roy. Just Roy." <delduck3@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1165873253.812383.306700@j72g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> >
> > pearl wrote:
> > > This practice of planting trees on farms, when combined with
> > > adding locally available rock phosphate to the soil
> >
> > The addition of rock phosphate is a poor substitute for composted
> > animal fertilizers, and provides no needed nitrogen. In an orchard
> > situation, goats are prime natural means of controlling underbrush and
> > reducing insect pests by consuming fallen fruit that escapes
> > harvesting.
> >
> > If you want to plant orchards in Africa, by all means, go for it. But
> > don't be surprised when those same farmers that thank you for your
> > trees turn right around the day after you brits leave and stick Farm
> > Friend goats between them. That's life in the Third World.
> >
> > /Roy
>
> Clearly a troll.

Pearl, I just sent a copy of that article to my friends and one of my
friends said thanks, it was just what he'd been looking for. He's
planning to write a letter to Oxfam and Care. I believe I may write a
letter to Oxfam too.


Pearl
2006-12-21 08:16:39 EST
"Rupert" <rupertmccallum@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1166608623.235452.238440@f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
..
> > > pearl wrote:
> > > > This practice of planting trees on farms, when combined with
> > > > adding locally available rock phosphate to the soil

<..>

> Pearl, I just sent a copy of that article to my friends and one of my
> friends said thanks, it was just what he'd been looking for. He's
> planning to write a letter to Oxfam and Care. I believe I may write a
> letter to Oxfam too.

That's really great. Thank you very much for letting me know.



Geoff
2006-12-23 13:18:15 EST
On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 17:49:21 -0000, "pearl" <tea@signguestbook.ie>
wrote:

>"Roy. Just Roy." <delduck3@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:1165845675.337118.111750@80g2000cwy.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> pearl wrote:
>> > Animal Aid, for example, will be seeking support for a scheme
>> > to plant 2,000 trees in Kenya's Rift Valley province. They will
>> > bear oranges, avocados, mango, pawpaw, kei apple and
>> > macadamia nuts.
>>
>> ... which the people will be lucky to see any of.
>>
>> Arbor-based crops in Africa are a risky venture for even the most
>> stable of Kenya's regions. The high rates of HIV infection on the
>> continent (now approaching 50% in the Central African area, according
>> to WHO), along with the cultural and legal biases against women
>> inheriting their husbands' land, are negating long term investments
>> such as fruit trees. In all likelihood, your glorious fruity trees will
>> be cut down for firewood LONG before they bear their first orange.
>>
>> Animals, on the other hand, can be handled communally and moved along
>> with refugees, so that if any particular farmer dies of disease (HIV or
>> otherwise), or the region destabilizes, the village food supply can
>> continue. Such projects with poultry have met with success both on
>> continent (in Senegal) and off continent (in Panama).
>>
>> Furthermore, poultry and milking animals are needed to supply an almost
>> instaneous supply of protein to the populace. What are the people going
>> to do while they are waiting for the 3 years it takes for an orange
>> tree to sprout its first fruit? Animals also serve as efficient
>> scavengers of garbage dumps and manure piles - a chicken can gain
>> almost 40% of its diet from coprophagy - like rats and rabbits, it has
>> evolved the means of digesting microbial protein from its own feces to
>> supplement its diet, and an instinct to do so.
>>
>> Veganism is a luxury to be enjoyed by the rich and ONLY the rich. We
>> should not try and impose such cultures upon the Africans - if
>> anything, the beating the US took in Somalia should have taught us
>> that.
>>
>> /Roy
>
>'In 1991, Dr. Sanchez accepted a position as the head of ICRAF
>in Nairobi, Kenya. There, he quickly discovered that African
>agricultural production lagged due to the extremely depleted nature
>of the soil. Dr. Sanchez' most enduring contribution to ending
>world hunger has been his development of the means to replenish
>crucial nutrients in exhausted soils, through the development and
>promotion of agroforestry. This practice of planting trees on farms,
>when combined with adding locally available rock phosphate to
>the soil, has provided farmers in Africa with a way to fertilize
>their soils inexpensively and naturally, without relying on costly
>chemical fertilizers.
>
>The 150,000 small scale farmers who are utilizing Dr. Sanchez'
>methods are experiencing greatly increased yields, in some cases
>200% to 400% above previous plantings. In response to this
>success, ICRAF plans to help African farmers plant 5.5 billion
>more trees over the next decade, the equivalent of another
>tropical rainforest. ICRAF's goal is to move 20 million people
>out of poverty and remove more that 100 million tons of CO2
>from the air with this project.'
>http://www.worldfoodprize.org/2002Laureate/pressrelease.htm
>
>'..Africa. Half of the world's livestock-dependent people live here,
>along with 15% of both the world's sheep and cattle and nearly 1/3
>of all goats -- animals renowned for their ability to eat almost any
>plant (some kinds of goats can even climb trees to reach browse).
>
>Africa's 183 million cattle, 197 million sheep, and 163 million goats
>are supported almost entirely by grazing and browsing. Most of the
>huge continent is used by livestock. Non-livestock Africa consists
>mostly of desolate portions of the Sahara, Namib, and Kalahari
>Deserts; what remains of the dense, central African tropical rainforest;
>the tsetse fly portions; scattered farming areas; and the few (partially)
>protected wildlife preserves. The image of Africa as a gigantic,
>unfenced wildlife landscape is wholly false. In fact, much more land
>is dedicated to livestock, and by far most wildlife is gone.
>...
>Aside from the tsetse areas, ranching and nomadic herding are
>common south of Africa's central rainforest, large areas of which
>have been cleared for livestock. Recent studies show mounting range
>deterioration throughout southern Africa. In the Kalahari region, cattle
>and range developments have ruined much of the grassland and
>semigrassland, leading to the deaths of millions of antelope and other
>wild animals. In the late 1970s in the Kalahari, drought-stricken
>migrating wildebeests piled up against new cattle fences; 200,000 out
>of 230,000 migrants died of thirst because they couldn't reach water.
>Ranching and herding have also ravaged the land of, plundered the
>livelihood of, and made virtual slaves of thousands of Bushmen -- the
>tribespeople who had gathered and hunted here for more than 10,000
>years. Many now live in shanties and tend cattle for their stockmen
>bosses.
>
>A 1984 United Nations report states, "The degradation of rangelands
>caused by overgrazing is doubtless the most serious environmental
>problem facing Botswana." The nation's cattle outnumber people 2
>to 1, and are a traditional measure of wealth. Much of the land is
>stripped bare, and during droughts starving goats climb atop cars to
>reach withered leaves and onto roofs to eat thatch. Having killed the
>tsetse with herbicides, ranchers are invading Botswana's last
>remaining wetlands. Thousands of miles of fences built to exclude
>wildebeests, zebra, antelope, water buffalo, elephants, and other
>wild animals thought to carry livestock diseases kill tens of
>thousands of these wild animals yearly; for example, more than
>50,000 wildebeests died in 1983 alone. Like many others, the
>Botswanan government is dedicated to serving big-time ranchers,
>and many high government officials are themselves cattle barons.
>
>Sheep ranching is intensive in South Africa and northwest in
>neighboring Namibia, though not elsewhere in southern Africa.
>Forty million of the fleecy beasts overgraze millions of acres of
>the scraggly brush and surviving grass there. In southeast Africa
>the populous Zulu tribe has evolved to regard cattle as indicative
>of wealth and status - to the great harm of the environment.
>..
>Back on the mainland, moving north through eastern Africa, we
>find that large portions of the south have relatively few livestock,
>thanks to the tsetse fly and other deterrents. From central Tanzania
>northward through Ethiopia, however, cattle, sheep, and goat
>damage is moderate to severe. Portions of the coastal lowlands are
>overgrazed, and some of the dominant nomadic herders here kill
>anyone venturing onto their grazing territories. The 100,000 square-mile
>Afar Triangle, just west of where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden,
>contains some of the lowest, hottest, driest, and most desolate land
>on Earth; yet, even here herders allow their goats, sheep, and camels
>to take what scant vegetation and fresh water still exists.
>
>In the livestock-ravaged highlands, human starvation is periodic, as
>recently demonstrated once again in Ethiopia. Livestock plague the
>region's arable lands and make them more susceptible to drought
>and other natural vagaries in climate, frequently even eating crops.
>Bare dirt is spreading as stock raisers topple trees for fodder and
>livestock eat saplings and groundcover. The Masai, one of the
>region's large, nomadic herding tribes, has over the centuries
>become so over-specialized and dependent upon livestock that
>they sometimes allow their animals every last available leaf and
>drop of water in an area rather than risk losing their source of milk,
>blood (they drink it), and meat. Masai populations have tripled
>over the past 30 years; their livestock numbers have also soared
>and grazing pressure mounts.
>
>The Ethiopian highlands were once among the most biologically
>diverse non-tropical forestlands on Earth; now they are among
>the most damaged. The rate of deforestation here is one of the
>highest anywhere, and only 3% of Ethiopia's original forest
>remains. Herders currently are driving livestock into the few
>remaining rugged areas not yet overgrazed. Recent reports from
>Ethiopia's northern mountains tell of the forest understory in
>previously ungrazed areas being stripped of every edible leaf and
>twig.
>
>In northern Kenya, Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf), one of
>Africa's largest lakes, has shrunk dramatically in recent years.
>Many people think overgrazing of the vast Turkana Basin is the
>main cause. In southern Kenya, deforestation of mid-altitude
>brushland and upland forest to improve livestock pasture is
>occurring "at an alarming rate," according to the UN.
>
>Not far south, in northern Tanzania, lies Africa's largest caldera,
>a 12-mile diameter, steep-walled crater named Ngorongoro.
>Mostly livestock-free since 1974, and protected from
>encroaching ranching, farming, and poaching, the grass-, shrub-,
>and tree-filled Ngorongoro is now one of the planet's greatest
>game preserves.
>
>The vast belt of steppe and grassland from the Ethiopian highlands
>3500 miles west to the Atlantic, from the Sahara 1000 miles south
>to the rainforest -- sometimes termed the Sahel -- is also a land of
>cattle, sheep, goats, and famine. Here, periodically, many thousands
>die from starvation; the emaciated people often are pictured lying in
>the dust beside their skeletal cattle -- the cattle that symbolize their
>wealth and prestige! As throughout much of the world, social
>inequities are largely to blame for the famines; however, contemporary
>livestock production is a major cause of these inequities, as well as an
>inefficient and destructive food production system. The Worldwatch
>Institute, a Washington, DC-based environmental think tank, states
>that "virtually all the rangeland [in this region] is "at least moderately
>degraded." According to ecologist Paul Ehrfich, "In the Sahel, the
>territory just south of the Sahara, and in Africa in general, cattle are
>playing a major role in this desertification" (Ehrlich 1986). The Sahel
>livestock population quadrupled between World War 11 and 1968,
>and remains many times higher than the land can accommodate.
>
>Livestock grazing throughout the vast bulk of this region has turned
>thousands of square miles into wasteland, and continues to do so at
>an ever-accelerating rate. For example Mauritania recorded only 43
>sandstorms between 1960 Q 1970, but 10 times this number in the
>following decade, with a record 240 sandstorms in 1983 alone.
>Officials here and throughout drier Africa report a main cause of
>devegetation and land degradation is herders breaking branches from
>the already small tree population to feed livestock, and cutting woody
>vegetation to build livestock enclosures. In The Sudan, about 30% of
>which has been seriously desertified during the past 50 years,
>thousands of square miles of forest are burned annually to increase
>livestock forage. And Lake Chad, the largest natural lake in northern
>Africa and one of the largest closed river basins in the world, has
>shrunk to merely 20% of its size only a few decades ago, mostly due
>to livestock-caused desertification and livestock production practices.
>
>According to various sources, the Sahara Desert (or rather, desert-like
>condition) is expanding southward at a fluctuating, rough average of
>2-6 miles per year, with livestock production the principal cause.
>
>"There were those who even claimed that the huge Sahara Desert was
>a man-made product caused by shepherds burning the jungle, and by
>the subsequent overgrazing of ever larger herds of goats and sheep.
>Moderm research has proved this to be so.
>--Thor Heyerdahl, Fatu-Hiva
>
>"Recent research has demonstrated that the Sahara was covered with
>trees as recently as 6, 000 B.C., and that it was turned into a desert
>by nomadic tribes that burned the trees to provide grazing areas for
>their herds.
>--Jacques Cousteau, The Ocean World
>
>Only 6000 years ago the Sahara Desert was largely covered with trees,
>brush, and grass, and has since become arid. Much evidence also
>indicates that, as is the case in many of the world's drylands, livestock
>grazing was a significant contributor to this aridification. Contemporary
>livestock herding over more than 2/3 of the USA-sized, sandy, barren
>wasteland we now call the Sahara Desert continues to deplete what
>scant soil, vegetation, and water sources remain. Stock raising is
>carried on wherever possible with little regard for sustained yield or
>environmental consequences. However, livestock ownership here is
>less a matter of survival than tradition, honor, and glory.
>
>The region all along the northern coast of Africa and south for many
>miles into the interiors of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco was 2000
>years ago extensively utilized to provide livestock and crops to the
>Roman Empire. Much of it was covered with forests. Today, the
>climate has not changed much, but the area is largely desolate. WC.
>Lowdermilk writes:
>Over a large part of the ancient granary of Rome we found the soil
>washed off to bedrock and the hills seriously gullied as a result of
>overgrazing... With the coming of the grazing culture, brought in by
>invading nomads from Arabie; erosion was unleashed by overgrazing
>of the hills. We can see here on the landscape how the soil mantle
>was washed off the upper slopes to bedrock Accelerated run off
>from the bared rock cut gullies into the upper edge of the soil mantle,
>working it downhill as if a great rug were being pulled off the hills.
>In this manner has the country been seriously damaged, and the
>capacity to support a population much reduced. (Lowdermilk 1975)
>
>Today, the region is still tremendously overgrazed by millions of
>cattle and tens of millions of sheep and goats. The United Nations
>reports that "Rangelands have been overgrazed with three head of
>cattle where only one could thrive .... Two-thirds of the land area
>of Tunisia is being eaten away by desertification." The Sahara is
>expanding north as well as south.
>
>Far to the east, in Egypt's richly fertile, intensely overpopulated
>Nile River Delta, much potential cropland is used instead for the
>less efficient production of 5 million cattle.
>
>Overall, Africa rivals any continent in the extent of livestock
>production damage. Overgrazing, forest clearing, and other
>livestock production activities are major factors in the decline of
>most African endangered wildlife, including the gorilla. Between
>1850 and 1980 Africa lost 60% of its forest cover, perhaps mostly
>to promote livestock. African stock raisers have killed millions of
>large herbivores as competitors, and because they think that
>wildlife spreads livestock diseases. Historically, disease epidemics
>introduced by cattle have repeatedly decimated Africa's wildlife,
>causing severe ecological disruptions. Livestock protection rivals,
>and in many areas exceeds, sport hunting and poaching as the main
>cause of predator mortality, with similarly profound environmental
>consequences. Stock raisers encouraging new growth burn many
>millions of acres unnaturally each year. Overgrazing has caused
>gigantic dust storms and accelerated hydraulic erosion, displacing
>much of the soil over vast areas. Africa's infamous locust invasions,
>caused mostly by overgrazing, worsen the devastation. (..) Livestock
>production has displaced many native tribal cultures, and is, along
>with human overpopulation and unjust food distribution, the major
>anthropogenic cause of relentless famine in Africa. The continent's
>cattle, sheep, and goat population doubled between 1950 and 1987,
>and continues to increase at a high overall rate, despite sporadic and
>massive livestock die-offs.
>..'
>http://www.wasteofthewest.com/Chapter6.html
>

crazy but true!
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