top of page

A long time ago, when the earth was green...

A lament to the good old days. The Irish Rovers. Today's blog is about animal Husbandry. What does it mean, why it matters and how you can get involved as an individual or restaurant owner.

Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the Neolithic revolution when animals were first domesticated, from around 13,000 BC onwards, antedating farming of the first crops. By the time of early civilisations such as ancient Egypt, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs were being raised on farms.

Major changes took place in the Columbian exchange when Old World livestock were brought to the New World, and then in the British Agricultural Revolution of the 18th century, when livestock breeds like the Dishley Longhorn cattle and Lincoln Longwool sheep were rapidly improved by agriculturalists such as Robert Bakewell to yield more meat, milk, and wool. A wide range of other species such as horse, water buffalo, llama, rabbit and guinea pig are used as livestock in some parts of the world. Insect farming, as well as aquaculture of fish, molluscs, and crustaceans, is widespread. Modern animal husbandry relies on production systems adapted to the type of land available. Subsistence farming is being superseded by intensive animal farming in the more developed parts of the world, where for example beef cattle are kept in high density feedlots, and thousands of chickens may be raised in broiler houses or batteries. On poorer soil such as in uplands, animals are often kept more extensively, and may be allowed to roam widely, foraging for themselves. Most livestock are herbivores, except for pigs and chickens which are omnivores. Ruminants like cattle and sheep are adapted to feed on grass; they can forage outdoors, or may be fed entirely or in part on rations richer in energy and protein, such as pelleted cereals. Pigs and poultry cannot digest the cellulose in forage, and require other high-protein foods.

Animal husbandry has a significant impact on the world environment. It is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world, and livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth's ice-free land. Livestock production is a contributing factor in species extinction, desertification, and habitat destruction. Animal agriculture contributes to species extinction in various ways. Habitat is destroyed by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for animal grazing, while predators and herbivores are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits; for example, animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region. In addition, livestock produce greenhouse gases. Cows produce some 570 million cubic metres of methane per day, that accounts for from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. As a result, ways of mitigating animal husbandry's environmental impact are being studied. Strategies include using biogas from manure genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, outcompetition of methanogenic archaea with acetogens, introduction of methanotrophic bacteria into the rumen, diet modification and grazing management, among other Certain diet changes (such as with Asparagopsis taxiformis) allow for a reduction of up to 99% in ruminant greenhouse gas emissions.

Why you should get involved.

The above mentioned information is scientific research and is basically saying that mass animal production is counterintuitive to the way humans are currently living. Much like my previous blog, I'm going to suggest a few alternatives.

  • Buy your meat, poultry and fish locally.

  • Reduce your daily animal protein consumption

  • Try raising a few chickens, rabbits or game birds

  • Try a vegetarian diet, maybe just twice a week

  • Source organically raised animals, markets and farmers

  • Raise protein dense food in your garden.

Thanks again for dropping by and have a great day!

9 views0 comments


bottom of page