Indian beef production is predicted to increase by 5% in 2009. This is reported to be due to strong export demand and rising domestic consumption (ZMP and Brazilian Meat Monitor).
According to reports, production of mainly buffalo meat is set to rise to approximately 2.7 million tonnes. Around a third of production (850,000 tonnes) is predicted to be exported, mainly to South East Asia and the Gulf states. In such markets where Australian and Indian product co-exist, Australian beef faces considerable price competition from Indian buffalo beef.
There is major potential for India to significantly increase production because of the current low level of technology across the supply chain. Currently, India is considered the world’s third biggest beef exporter in terms of volume, behind Brazil and Australia.
by Robin Winter, Archaeology Online
The world over, the term “sacred cow” has come to mean any stubborn loyalty to a long-standing institution which impedes natural progress. The term originates in India, where the cow is said to be literally worshiped, while thousands of humans suffer from undernourishment. The common, popular view of India in the West is that of an underdeveloped nation steeped in superstition. Overpopulated, overcrowded, undereducated, and bereft of most modern amenities, India is seen to be a backward nation in many respects by “progressive” Western civilization. “If only India would abandon her religious superstitions and kill and eat the cow!” Over several decades many attempts have been made by the “compassionate” West to alleviate unfortunate India’s burden of poor logic, and to replace her superstitions with rational thinking.
Much of the religious West finds common ground with the rationalists, with whom they otherwise are usually at odds, on the issue of India’s “sacred cow.” Indeed, worshiping God is one thing, but to worship the cow while at the same time dying of starvation is a theological outlook much in need of reevaluation. Man is said to have dominion over the animals, but it would appear that the Indians have it backwards.
Popular opinion is not always the most informed opinion; in fact, this is usually the case. The many attempts to wean India from the nipple of her outdated pastoral culture have all failed. After 200 years of foreign occupation by the British, and after many subsequent but less overt imperialistic attempts, we find that although India has changed, the sacred cow remains as sacred as ever. In all but two Indian states, cow slaughter is strictly prohibited. If legislation were passed today to change that ruling, there would be rioting all over India. In spite of considerable exposure to Western ideas, one late Indian statesman said, when asked what he thought of Western civilization, “I think it is a good idea. When will they begin?”
An unbiased look at perhaps the longest-standing culture of the world, its roots and philosophy, may help us to see things a little more as they are — even about our own way of life. Sometimes we have to stand back to get the full picture. It is a natural tendency to consider one’s own way the best, but such bull-headedness may cause us to miss seeing our own shortcomings. An honest look at the headlines of our home town newspaper may inspire us to question exactly what it is we are so eager to propound. (more…)
Article posted on the Food For Life Global website.
Director of Food for Life Global, Priyavrata das (Paul Turner), was interviewed on Healthy Life Radio, touted as the “all positive talk radio” by celebrity vegan Victoria Moran. The 60-minute interview covered such topics as global warming, the economic crisis and the negative karma of eating meat. Paul also talked about the charities solution to world hunger and his experience in war zones during food relief operations.
The full interview can be downloaded from Healthylife.net.
The following is an excerpt from a lecture given by HH Hrdayananda das Goswami in Gainesville, Florida on August 30, 2008. To listen to the entire lecture, please click here.
Bhaktin Kelly:Does Krsna willing accept milk from cows that were raised inhumanely and will eventually be slaughted?
HH Hridayananda das Goswami: A sincere devotee could have two positions. You could just say, I am going to set a proper example and not patronize that cruel industry and not buy milk products- which is one position, which is obviously valid. And then another position, someone could say, is that by offering the milk, the cows benefit by the offering to the deity and you are actually saving cows. You could say that in practical terms, not ideological, the amount of milk that is being purchased and offered to the deities has absolutely zero impact on the dairy industry and, therefore, it does not change the economic dynamics of it. So it doesn’t save cows but it saves souls by engaging them in Krishna’s service.
What I see in the Bhagavatam is that within Vedic culture there was a diversity of views. People have different opinions on these things and a certain frame of consciousness. Some are inspired to save cows by offering their milk to the deity.
Now let’s say the devotee is not making a serious offering, not really connecting with the deity, just “I like milk.” Then I think to participate in this horrifically cruel industry just because you like milk is something which is much harder to justify. It is just one of those- “I’m hungry, I really want to eat, I have to offer it.” But if someone is seriously deity-conscious, their nature is really to worship Krsna, and their consciousness is to save the soul in the cow’s body, then I think, whether or not I would do that, is a position that should be respected.
Although, I do not think that devotees are required to do that. If I was managing a temple with deities, I would not say you have to offer milk. I think it is a matter of consciousness of the individual.
Livestock production has a bigger climate impact than transport, the UN believes
People should consider eating less meat as a way of combating global warming, says the UN’s top climate scientist.
Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will make the call at a speech in London on Monday evening.
UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport. But a spokeswoman for the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said methane emissions from farms were declining.
Dr Pachauri has just been re-appointed for a second six-year term as chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, the body that collates and evaluates climate data for the world’s governments.
“The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” he told BBC News.
“So I want to highlight the fact that among options for mitigating climate change, changing diets is something one should consider.”
Climate of persuasion
The FAO figure of 18% includes greenhouse gases released in every part of the meat production cycle – clearing forested land, making and transporting fertiliser, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions of cattle and sheep.
The contributions of the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – are roughly equivalent, the FAO calculates.
Transport, by contrast, accounts for just 13% of humankind’s greenhouse gas footprint, according to the IPCC.
Dr Pachauri will be speaking at a meeting organised by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), whose main reason for suggesting people lower their consumption of meat is to reduce the number of animals in factory farms.
CIWF’s ambassador Joyce D’Silva said that thinking about climate change could spur people to change their habits.
“The climate change angle could be quite persuasive,” she said.
“Surveys show people are anxious about their personal carbon footprints and cutting back on car journeys and so on; but they may not realise that changing what’s on their plate could have an even bigger effect.”
There are various possibilities for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming animals.
They range from scientific approaches, such as genetically engineering strains of cattle that produce less methane flatus, to reducing the amount of transport involved through eating locally reared animals.
“The NFU is committed to ensuring farming is part of the solution to climate change, rather than being part of the problem,” an NFU spokeswoman told BBC News.
“We strongly support research aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock farming by, for example, changing diets and using anaerobic digestion.”
Methane emissions from UK farms have fallen by 13% since 1990.
But the biggest source globally of carbon dioxide from meat production is land clearance, particularly of tropical forest, which is set to continue as long as demand for meat rises.
Ms D’Silva believes that governments negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol ought to take these factors into account.
“I would like governments to set targets for reduction in meat production and consumption,” she said.
“That’s something that should probably happen at a global level as part of a negotiated climate change treaty, and it would be done fairly, so that people with little meat at the moment such as in sub-Saharan Africa would be able to eat more, and we in the west would eat less.”
Dr Pachauri, however, sees it more as an issue of personal choice.
“I’m not in favour of mandating things like this, but if there were a (global) price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less,” he said.
“But if we’re honest, less meat is also good for the health, and would also at the same time reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Filed under: Education, Environmental Politics, Morality, The Mother of Science
by Jayadvaita Swami
Twenty years ago, no one gave a damn. You could gum up a river with factory sludge, chop down rain forests wholesale, spray fluorocarbons into the air like a kid sprinkling confetti, and no one would say boo.
No longer. Grade-school kids want to grow up to be ecologists. New York tycoons sort their trash to recycle. Rock singers play concerts to save prairies and wetlands. Political candidates tell us they’re worried about the fate of the three-toed baboon.
Caring about the environment helps you feel good about yourself. At the supermarket you choose paper instead of plastic. You write your thank-you notes on cards made from ground-up newsprint and cotton waste. You chip in a few dollars for Greenpeace. Hey, you care about the earth. You’re a righteous human being.
Yet too often our concern for the earth lacks a metaphysical grounding. Intuitively, living in harmony with the earth feels right. If the earth is the house we’re going to live in, why litter the rooms with beer cans or pee all over the carpet?
But in an ultimate sense, so what? If life is just a series of chemical reactions, what does it matter if the chemicals go messy? Species come and species go. Why get all mushy and teary-eyed if a few berserk bipeds wipe out some hundred thousand kinds of their neighbors? The earth may be our mother, but sooner or later she’s going to blow to atomic dusting powder anyway. And from a cosmic point of view that’s just a few mega-moments down the line. So why all the fuss?
You can say it’s for our children, it’s for future generations. But they’re also just a flash in eternity. Why bother for them?
Guardians of the green remind us urgently that dirtying and devouring the earth is short-sighted. But to be far-sighted we have to look beyond what seems clean, pleasant, and harmonious on a physical spot of earth on a brief ride through the universe. We have to ask ourselves not only how well we’re treating the earth but why we’re on it and where we are ultimately going.
Otherwise, though ecologically aware, we’re metaphysically dead.
Earth Day 2008: Something We Can All Believe In
In coordination with the National Council of Churches, the Religious
On Earth Day 2007, EDN was successful in creating 12,000 sermons
By Rebecca Paveley, The Diocese of Oxford Reporter
Churches across the Diocese of Oxford have pledged to buy in local food and services in a bid to support struggling farmers and rural communities.
In a groundbreaking pledge the diocesan synod – the decision making body for the diocese – agreed unanimously to back a call for all churches to use local food at meetings and social gatherings wherever possible.
It is hoped that congregations will continue to keep the pledge when it comes to filling their own shopping baskets at home.
The Church of England nationally has launched a “Shrinking the Footprint” campaign which aims to try and tackle climate change in ‘faith, practice and mission’.
The pledge by churches in our area aims to support local rural communities and businesses, and to cut down on unnecessary food mileage, so reducing carbon emissions.
The Revd Richard Hancock, area dean for the Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire, said: “What makes no sense is that food produced locally which does end up in local shops has first had to travel some 60-100 miles to a distribution centre before being driven back in another lorry so I can put it in my shopping basket.
“The hard reality is that our farmers are in crisis. 70% have no one to hand on their business to, and more importantly their knowledge to future generations.
“What will become of our nation is we are unable to feed ourselves?”
Livestock farmer Dickie Green, who is also a churchwarden at Ashbury St Mary on the Wiltshire border, said: “It is good that churches support the fairtrade movement but we have to think about what is happening in this country. It is a tough life for farmers today.”
The pledge commits churches to using local produce wherever possible alongside fairtrade goods, such as tea and coffee.
The Diocese backed a call for churches to use fairtrade products a few years ago, but Diocesan rural officer Glyn Evans said the two pledges would not clash.
This motion – brought by the Vale of the White Horse deanery – won unanimous support from synod members, who are appointed from churches across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
One a more local level, several deaneries have already passed local resolutions in support of the pledge, including Henley, Newbury, Deddington and Chipping Norton and Claydon.
Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the South East and though the Diocese as a whole is classed as wealthy, there are real pockets of deprivation, many in rural areas, said the Revd Glyn Evans.
Some 25% of rural dwellers have no access to a car and there has been a rise in depression, drug abuse and alcohol related incidents among youngsters in rural areas.
Farmers are also three times more likely to commit suicide than any other profession, he said.
The Diocese of Oxford has a team of rural officers, clergy and lay people, who work to support those struggling to maintain a living in the countryside and synod heard from several of them about the work they do.
By CAROL GLATZ and ALICIA AMBROSIO, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY. Expanding its mission from saving souls to saving the planet, the Vatican is going green.
A giant rooftop garden of solar panels will be built next year on top of the Paul VI audience hall, creating enough electricity to heat, cool and light the entire building year-round.
“Solar energy will provide all the energy (the building) needs,” said the mastermind behind the environmentally friendly project, Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of the Vatican’s department of technical services.
And that is only the beginning. Cuscianna told Catholic News Service May 24 that he had in mind other sites throughout Vatican City where solar panels could be installed, but that it was too early in the game to name names.
Even though Vatican City State is not a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, a binding international environmental pact to cut greenhouse gases, its inaugural solar project marks a major move in trying to reduce its own so-called carbon footprint, that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released through burning fossil fuels.
The carbon dioxide-slashing solar panels will be installed sometime in 2008 after prototypes, environmental impact reports and other studies have been completed, Cuscianna said.
In a May 23 article in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cuscianna wrote that safeguarding the environment was “one of the most important challenges of our century.”
The Italian engineer said appeals by Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II to respect nature inspired him to help power the Vatican’s energy needs with renewable resources.
He recalled how, in his 2007 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict warned of “the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies” that was leading to “an unprecedented race” for the earth’s resources.
Cuscianna also found inspiration from Pope John Paul’s 1990 peace message, dedicated in its entirety to the need to respect God’s creation.
“We cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past,” the pope wrote, calling for “a new ecological awareness” that leads to “concrete programs and initiatives.”
Cuscianna took the initiative and helped draw up and deliver to the Vatican governor’s office a feasibility study of going solar.
He said the Paul VI hall was chosen first for a number of reasons: Cooling and heating the large audience hall makes it one of the top energy guzzlers in the Vatican, and its roof was in need of repair.
When the project is finished, more than 1,000 solar panels will cover the football field-sized roof.
While not revealing how much the solar project will cost, Cuscianna said “it will pay for itself in a few years” from the savings on energy bills.
Whatever solar power the hall is not using will be funneled into the Vatican’s energy grid and benefit other energy needs, he said.
The solar rooftop garden is not the first environmental project the Vatican has undertaken. In 1999, as part of preparations for the jubilee year, the entire lighting system of St. Peter’s Basilica was upgraded to be low-impact. Strategically placed energy-saving light bulbs were installed inside and out, cutting the basilica’s energy consumption by an estimated 40 percent.
In 2000, the Vatican unveiled its own electric motor vehicle recharging station, where electric wheelchairs, scooters and cars could “tank up.”
Unfortunately, the idea of replacing polluting, gas-powered cars with a network of electric vehicles within the Vatican stalled. U.S. Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, the former archbishop of car-capital Detroit, had pushed for the cleaner switch while he was head of the commission that governs Vatican City State.
Pope John Paul, however, regularly used an electric car at Castel Gandolfo toward the end of his pontificate when he was no longer able to move easily around the grounds.
Cuscianna said the Vatican has a commission that studies environmental issues and potential eco-friendly practices. Programs facilitating recycling, composting and waste reduction have not yet been established.
An expansion of the Vatican’s use of renewable energy resources would not only reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Cuscianna said, “it could be a condition that makes Vatican City more autonomous” and less dependent on Italy’s power grid.
With Italian news headlines warning of yet another sweltering summer and potential power brownouts and blackouts, greater energy autonomy for the Vatican through the sun sounds like a cool idea.