Steps to sustainable livestock

Here are thoughtful, readable words about sustainable livestock. These words were published a few days ago in the well-respected journal Nature. There, scientists including Prof Sir John Beddington (formerly our UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor) tell us how, ‘With improved breeding and cultivation, ruminant animals can yield food that is better for people and the planet.’


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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7 Responses to Steps to sustainable livestock

  1. Thought+Food says:

    Thank you for sharing this! An integrated and thoughtful view which should be a pointer to all

    • argylesock says:

      Yes I think so. Here in the rich world, I notice simplistic thinking by some vegetarians and vegans. Not all, of course. I don’t want to insult anybody. And I’m well aware that some poor-world cultures are very serious about vegetarianism.

      I think a key point in the article I linked to here is that when people in poor countries eat animal products, they generally eat smaller amounts than people in rich countries do.

  2. EqFe says:

    I’m surprised that the article didn’t mention Argentina’s vast herds of grass fed beef. It’s beef is leaner and tastier than the grain fattened beef from the US which isn’t raised in a remotely sustainable manner.
    Using an ox for farm labor and eating it at the end of it’s life cycle is certainly a more sustainable way to raise beef, if it’s feed is not purchase outside of the farm.
    That word “sustainable” always raises the hair on the back of my neck, but I quite enjoyed this article which actually spoke of practices that may well be sustainable in the long run. Once we get into exporting the meat from where it is raised, imported inputs of some sort are required to replace was is taken out, but keeping these to a minimum is the secret of creating any sort of sustainable process.
    I think that I mentioned Joel Salatin’s practice of raising his livestock on pasture with minimum inputs.

    • argylesock says:

      Is Argentinian beef mainly from retired draught oxen? I’d be surprised if that were so. But it’s grass-reared sfaik. A colleague of mine spent time in Argentina and came back saying that the people there really, really love beef!

      I don’t remember you mentioning Mr Salatin before.

      • EqFe says:

        Argentina traditionally raised its cattle on it’s vast pampas. Recently there have been more US style factory raised beef in that country.

        Joel Salatin raised pasture fed beef and chicken on his Polyface Farm. He also raises pig on more natural conditions than usual. He was showcased in the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (

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