A loud and powerful abstraction in world agriculture today is what I call ‘the doubling narrative’, a broad claim that global crop production must double from current levels by 2050 to feed a growing world, with a population that will be two billion or so bigger and close to one billion people already hungry or chronically malnourished. The doubling narrative gained steam in the 2000s, propelled by a number of influential agencies, foremost the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, along with some large agro-input and agro-food corporations, such as Monsanto and Nestlé. While this narrative has a range of inflections, by and large it serves to fix research and policy on high-tech means to increasing productivity, which are also often draped in notions of ‘sustainable intensification’ and ‘climate-smart’ techniques. [Read more…]
India’s intriguing status as the world’s largest beef exporter, milk producer, and among the top leather producers – industries which are substantially sustained by the mass slaughter of cattle – implausibly coexists with its legislative prohibitions on cow killing. Most Indian states criminalise the slaughter of the cow, bull and progeny, and beef sourced from them, based on a core Hindu ethic of reverencing the cow as sacred. The blind spot in India’s cow protectionism discourse, politics and legislations, is however the inconvenient fact of the living cow. That this is a tiresome, even mischievous lens through which to approach this issue is evident in India’s booming cattle industries – for commodification of any animal product – in particular lactation – on a mass-scale, is impossible without doing extraordinary violence to them. [Read more…]
In 2016, Merritt Clifton, the editor of the online publication Animals 24-7, advised me during an email exchange arising from comments I had posted about meat industry consultant Temple Grandin on the Animals 24-7 website,1 not to present my opinion before presenting the supporting evidence. If I wanted to write something about the methods used to artificially inseminate pigs, chickens, turkeys, cows, or goats, this would be of interest, as long as I gave agribusiness sources their due. [Read more…]
UPDATED June 12 ,2017
‘No one really thinks that it can get better, it’s just a question of how worse it will get. People, both Palestinians and Israelis, are in general despair and working for animals gives people hope because there is a feeling that we are in progress’ (activist, 47 years old, 25 Jan 2017).
‘What is going on in Israel?’ This is a question that many in the Western animal advocacy movement have asked in recent years.1 Israel has been referred to as the ‘first vegan nation’ and an example to learn from because of the rapid rise in veganism and animal activism the country has experienced.2 [Read more…]
I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 1 [Read more…]