The FAO and EPA are Pursuing Culture Change – Not Climate Change, Says a Southeast Texas Cattle Rancher

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A Texas Cattlewoman’s review of the FAO’s, “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, reveals the socialistic intent of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' indictment of the Livestock Industry, and particularly the Cow, as the planet’s greatest contributor to Global Warming.

British White Heifer, Conceived on Grass, Reared on Grass
“. . . the principle means of limiting livestock’s impact on the environment must be to reduce land requirements for livestock production . . .” and further, that “. . . intensification needs to be brought about by price signals. . ." (FAO 2006)

Livestock do not contribute more greenhouse gas emissions than transport, says Jimmie West, who runs a small cattle ranch in Southeast Texas where she raises rare British White Cattle, the ancient polled Park cattle of the British Isles. Her cattle graze on a mix of improved and native pastures, which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) considers substandard feed, and an “unproductive use of dietary energy” for the belching cow. The FAO is relentlessly advocating adding grain to a cow’s diet to alter the emissions they belch and to alter the emissions of their manure as well, and preferably on as small a spot of land as physically possible.

Ms. West says this is a bogus “mitigating” policy of the FAO’s that is not even supportable by their own data on methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the belch and from the manure of cattle. The global greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the livestock sector are actually 11.5%, or 4.6 Bt, of all 40 Bt of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, (FAO, Table 3.12) -- if you even consider the FAO data reliable and untainted by their over-riding goal of indicting both livestock production and livestock consumption. The outgoing climate chief, Yvo de Boer, has a clear pro-vegetarian stance theoretically in the interests of saving the planet from Global Warming.

Methane emissions from the manure and belching of cattle across the globe are 2.2 Bt, accounting for 5.5 percent of the global total. Nitrous Oxide (N20), the most toxic livestock-related emission to our atmosphere, also accounts for 2.2 Bt, or 5.5 percent, of the global total of all greenhouse gas emissions, with manure as the greatest villain. And that would be manure from highly grain-fed cattle in industrial style, land-intensified operations – not grazing cattle.

N20 emissions from the manure of grazing animals only accounts for 24.4% of all N20 from livestock manure. (FAO, Table 3.11) The much larger share, 68.3%, goes to the credit of “mixed” systems of grazing and feedlot style land “intensification”. So, putting all the cows or pigs or sheep in as small a parcel of land as possible and feeding them more and more grain or, in the FAO’s words, land "intensification" and “dietary modification”, will result in materially increased N20 emissions from manure, along with increased methane emissions from manure -- as methane from the manure of a grazing cow is insignificant!

And Nitrous Oxide from the grazing cow’s manure is immaterial as well in the grand picture of just what is causing Global Warming! It is all a sorry hoax on livestock production and private land ownership in the USA and around the world.

The FAO ignores the ozone damaging trade-off of methane from a cow's belch for the more insidious nitrous oxide, which will substantially increase as well from additional feed cropping alone. The FAO passes it off as something to address in the future "if production of such feed stuffs is to increase substantially". Perhaps they foresee success in their ". . . attempts to curb the booming demand for these (meat) products".

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepts the FAO policy recommendations as the command of their Higher Power, and Americans are expected to set the example for the rest of the world – despite the fact that belching of North American livestock only accounts for 3.3 percent of the 2.2 Bt of methane emissions from livestock across the world.

This immaterial contribution of the belching cow to greenhouse gas emissions in the USA is why, for now, there is not a direct “cow tax” in the current cap and trade bill. However, while the bill does not designate a “cow tax”, in reality the inclusion of superficially bland items such as “. . . changes in animal management practices, including dietary modifications” as an agricultural practice qualifying for carbon offset credits – effectively blesses the FAO’s policies and science.

The land intensification and dietary modification of livestock, particularly cattle, is recommended as a “mitigating” policy by the FAO to solve every ill they can find to attribute to meat production, including water pollution. Genetically modified grains, vaccines and weird things like "defaunation" are tops on the FAO’s list to 'fix' the cow's "unproductive use of dietary energy", -- effectively, in favor of nitrous oxide? Or, effectively in favor of just rounding up the cows and putting them on a smaller piece of land?

The essence of the following quote is reiterated numerous times by the FAO, including in their latest attack on livestock production, The State of Food and Agriculture:

  •     “Livestock farming . . . will often become unprofitable if current price distortions are removed and externalities are factored in. Many producers will have to find alternative livelihoods.” And, “. . . small, family-based livestock producers will find it increasingly difficult to stay in the market.” (FAO, Livestock’s Long Shadow, 2006)

And further, the very land itself “will often become unprofitable” for the small private land owner, due to the FAO's clear policy recommendation of “land taxes” to “. . . induce more efficient utilization of land and encourage its redistribution,” – in other words, socialized agriculture. Just how long will it take for the EPA or some other Czar headed federal entity to lay the groundwork for this policy recommendation of the FAO?

The USA’s pending ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation is a vehicle for establishing the initial tools and authority for socialized agriculture in the United States. The EPA is the FAO’s recommended “command and control” governmental entity that will "initiate" and facilitate socialization of American agriculture, and thus the demise of the family farm.

And not just livestock farms, but the vast farmland under cultivation for grain and cotton in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and the endless acres of corn raised by multi-generation owned farms in Nebraska. The agricultural farming industry in the USA is tossing around numbers for quantifying emission allowances and offset credits and convincing themselves that in the end granting the EPA regulatory power might not be such a bad thing – maybe they can profit from it somehow. But, they need to look beyond their profit-seeking noses and realize that allowing the EPA this first step in regulating GHG emissions will lead to an orchestrated end result that will leave their grandchildren landless – and the example America was supposed to set for the world will leave other countries laughing over drinks at our liberal gullibility.

The EPA will take further steps should they get this first taste of power. And they will continue to follow the guidance of their Higher Power, the FAO, to “. . . induce more efficient utilization of land and encourage its redistribution.”

The EPA will monetize every aspect of land use and livestock production, as well as crop production, and thus effectively gain FAO defined regulatory "command and control" -- and the FAO’s predicted demise of the small livestock producer will surely follow, as will the "redistribution" of American pasture lands – and American crop lands.

And just where is the other 6.5% in GHG emissions that make-up the 18% that the FAO’s own press team takes such pleasure in citing again and again? It’s largely in Carbon Dioxide emissions from deforestation and land use changes. And while these practices certainly result in CO2 emissions, what the FAO fails to deduct from their calculations is the comparable to greater C02 sequestration of the vast grasslands of this planet – it is simply a quite bogus, minimally unadjusted number intended to produce a ‘shock and awe’ reaction that the mainstream media would run with, and they have. Livestock production does not contribute more than transport to GHG emissions.

After thoroughly reviewing the FAO's Livestock's Long Shadow, and in light of the Obama Administration's dire need of funds to support their social agenda -- in Ms. West’s view, the EPA and the Obama Administration fully embrace the philosophy and science of the FAO in the interests of revenue generation; and the EPA is set to become the largest regulatory, or socializing, arm of the United States federal government.


Jimmie West
J.West Cattle Company
Colmesneil, Texas 75938

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