Yes, you can all relax. Goldsmiths, the university college which flies in 36.8% of its students from around the world, is preventing global warming by banning beef burgers.
As exercises in applied hypocrisy go, you have to admit this one is impressive. But it does raise a point. In the church there is a phrase, somebody can be described as “Too heavenly minded to be any earthly use.”
Perhaps academia has an equivalent, I would suggest it was along the lines of, “So well educated they’re utterly ignorant.”
What brought this on, other than Goldsmith’s being ridiculous, was going for a walk yesterday. It was fine. The first fine day we’ve had for a while. I noticed as I walked round the back of one village that the barley that had not been combined was looking awfully grey and sorry for itself. Combining that isn’t going to be a harvest, it’s going to be a salvage operation. Any wheat that is still waiting harvest is assured of one thing. It’s never going to end up on your table.
Now listening to some, you’d think that farmers were either utterly stupid or utterly evil, rearing animals and growing grass. No, we just know the world, our climate, and our land and we know what will grow. In rough terms 60% of the UK is grassland. The amount of CO2 trapped by permanent grassland is huge and somebody wanting to plough to grow buckwheat for vegan protein is going to release far more CO2 than they can offset in a lifetime.
But the other thing people obvious don’t realise is just what livestock eat. They don’t merely turn grass into high quality protein a human can digest.
How about a glass of natural vegetarian orange juice, no added sugar, perfectly healthy. Have you ever wondered what happens to the rest of the orange? It’s there on the left of the photos. Citrus pulp, in this case, orange citrus pulp. You can either get it delivered ‘wet’ as it comes from the factory, or they’ll dry it a bit and put it through dies to make pellets. I’ve fed orange citrus pellets. Cows love them. You can get Lemon and Grapefruit citrus pulp as well. After all, the discerning consumer buys lemon and grapefruit juice. Somebody has to do something with the pulp. To be fair, they’re a bit sour for cattle to eat straight, but mixed in with other feeds cows enjoy them.
Now think of the sugar you eat. Most UK sugar is ‘beet sugar’ and is produced by extracting it from sugar beet, leaving sugar beet pulp. Again you can buy it wet by the artic tipper lorry load, or dried and pelleted. Again cows love it. Be wary feeding it to horses as it absorbs water and swells in the stomach. Cows being ruminants can cope with this, horses cannot. But again, a great food that is an unwanted by-product we get when producing food for humans.
The third picture in the line always amuses me. That’s soya hulls. When you’ve extracted the soya oil and soya meal which go for human nutrition, you’re left with the soya hulls that even the most enthusiastic vegan wanting roughage in their diet, doesn’t want. So they go to livestock feed. They’re rich in protein and minerals and balance a diet out nicely.
The last picture in the line is Brewers grains, normally delivered by artic tipper lorry, and fed to livestock wet. The product of our fine brewing industry, in theory they should be entirely barley, but it’s surprising how much maize you can find from some breweries. I’ve been told that’s a sign of a lager brewery but I don’t know if that’s true.
Obviously that isn’t the end of the list. There’s maize gluten, which is what’s left of the maize when you’ve extracted the Corn starch, Corn oil, and Corn syrup. An excellent cattle feed, I’ve fed tons of it over the years. Actually this product pushes the frontiers of hypocrisy even further than usual. A lot of the maize grown which ends up producing the products above is GM. But because Corn starch, oil and syrup don’t actually contain DNA, the supermarkets which have imported them, or the products produced from them, claim they’re not actually GM. But at one time they wanted to stop farmers feeding cattle maize gluten, because they decided it was GM, (and they were saying they wouldn’t sell anything that was GM) whilst still selling the oil, starch and syrup produced from the same maize as non-GM.
Can anybody explain to me how, when you take maize, produce corn syrup and make Coca-Cola from the corn syrup, that is GM free.
But if you take maize, produce maize gluten, feed that to an animal, how the meat from the animal isn’t GM free.
I think that’s one the major retailers backed away from on the grounds that even they struggled with that level of hypocrisy.
Obviously I haven’t finished with the list, but it’s not a bad one to be going on with. But I don’t actually expect anybody to take any notice.
There again, what do I know, you’d better listen to the expert!
As one reviewer commented, “Another excellent compendium of observations from the back of Mr. Webster’s quad bike in which we learn a lot more about sheep, border collies and people. On the whole, I think the collies come out of it best. If you fancy being educated on the ways of the world, with a gentle humour and a nice line in well observed philosophy, you could do a lot worse than this.”