Sorry Locavores, Sustainable Meat Is a Myth

Smaller 'natural' farms won't work: James McWilliams
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2012 12:32 PM CDT
In this Feb. 2, 2012, photo, a cow is seen in a field at Raindance Farm in Westville, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

(Newser) – Lots of people these days are turning away from large-scale meat farms and toward smaller, organic farms. It's better for the animals and for the environment, right? Not nearly as much as most locavores think, writes James McWilliams in the New York Times. He's not defending factory farms—he hates them, too—but he argues that the logistics of small-scale "natural" farming will never cut it. (For example: We'd need mind-boggling amounts of land to raise all the nation's cattle on grass, and those cows in turn would emit more methane gas.)

"Nothing about this is sustainable," he writes. Those truly worried about the animals, the planet, and their own health should think bigger, argues the vegan author. "Opponents of industrialized agriculture have been declaring for over a decade that how humans produce animal products is one of the most important environmental questions we face. We need a bolder declaration. After all, it’s not how we produce animal products that ultimately matters. It’s whether we produce them at all." Click for the full column. (Read more sustainable living stories.)

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