Higher animal feed prices

High feed costs are becoming noticeable for livestock farmers in Japan, and an agricultural group has decided to take measures to support them, reports NHK today:

Prices of the assorted feed for livestock, mixed with imported grains such as corn and soybean, have risen over 20 percent in the past year, to the highest level in 22-years. Staple foods such as corn are now sold in the United States for bio-ethanol fuel, and soybean demand is expanding in China.

High costs are hurting livestock farmers, especially in the poultry industry, which depends on assorted feed. Some poultry farmers are being driven out of business. An agricultural group decided to study ways to solve the current problems with animal feed. They are planning to grow rice and corn locally instead of importing, and to urge the farmers to utilize feed produced from school lunch waste.

So meat-lovers, who is going to pay for this? I certainly hope you are not expecting the government to hand out subsidies so that you can continue to enjoy your pork chops. Can we please use tax payers' money for better, healthier things?

Kyodo also reported in August that Seven-Eleven Japan Co will recycle unsold lunch and other food products at its convenience store chain in Tokyo into feed for livestock. For the recycling program, the biggest convenience store chain in Japan has tied up with AgriGaia System Co in Yachimata, Chiba Prefecture, which will send trucks to all of some 1,000 Seven-Eleven stores in Tokyo's 23 wards every day to collect food products unsold beyond expiry dates.

Can someone explain how using more trucks (burning fossile fuels) makes sense from an economical point of view?

In July, New Scientist magazine wrote about an interesting study by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan. His group found that a kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home.

Akifumi Ogino wanted to assess the effects of beef production on global warming, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption:

The team looked at calf production, focusing on animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed. By combining this information with data from their earlier studies on the impact of beef fattening systems, the researchers were able to calculate the total environmental load of a portion of beef...

"Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints," says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in the UK: "But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."

New Scientist also mentions a Swedish study in 2003 that suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy. I tried, but could not locate the study; if anyone knows more about it I would be delighted.

New Scientist: Meat is Murder on the Environment

Natural Life Magazine: How Green is my Diet?

(Photos from Greenpeace, the international environmental organization with campaigns both against Genetically Engineered animal feed and global warming. Do support them by getting involved and donating.)


Pandabonium said…
In the US it isn't unusual for a family to drive 3 hours, leave the lights on at home, AND eat a kilo of meat on the trip!

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