Goldsmiths saves the world with virtue signalling.

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.”

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21 thoughts on “Goldsmiths saves the world with virtue signalling.

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Lack of basic science education in the schools – to children who’ve never seen a cow and think milk comes in bottles or bags.

    I, at least, have the sense to listen to farmers. And to thank scientists for increasing yields so humans don’t all starve to death. I thank the people who produce the food I don’t toil for, and hope life is bearable for them and their animals. I’m at the top of the food chain – the minimum I can do is to be grateful for it. My greatgrandparents on Daddy’s side were Hungarian farmers who emigrated to the US – I have actually been on a farm once. I still remember you had to pump the water in the kitchen. They never learned English. Mother’s mother came from a farm in Illinois – English background originally, name of Twigg. My Mexican forebears were the aristrocrats – I don’t know how far back to go to find a farm, as they were urban dwellers.

    Thanks for the images of cows enjoying orange pulp.

    • jwebster2 August 18, 2019 at 2:44 pm Reply

      When we got a load of citrus pulp blown into the bunker in the building next to the house, our house smelled delightfully of oranges 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 23, 2019 at 7:31 pm

        Room fresheners! All natural! How lovely.

      • jwebster2 August 23, 2019 at 7:50 pm

        And you only have to blow about twenty tons of the stuff in 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 23, 2019 at 8:51 pm

        The bigger question (lit.) is whether that has enough moisture to rot in place if not eaten quickly.

      • jwebster2 August 23, 2019 at 9:08 pm

        from memory it’s about 90% Dry matter so it’ll last a couple of months 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt August 24, 2019 at 3:02 am

        I figured it would be something like that – you farmers are pretty smart cookies.

      • jwebster2 August 24, 2019 at 5:34 am

        Yes, you can normally buy these feeds ‘moist’ as well which is pretty much as they come out of the presses. They’re about 18% dry matter. You’ll feed them mixed with silage but you’ll use a loading shovel or tractor bucket to feed them and you’ll keep them stored in a bunker with a plastic sheet to keep the air out.
        I’ve known people store brewers grains in a clamp and then put silage on top of it to help preserve it.
        I also found this, its’ in the US but happens in the UK, vegetables that are not fit for human consumption

  2. tidalscribe August 19, 2019 at 12:51 am Reply

    Marmalade for cows, I like that idea. Anyway, well said, why should poor cows take all the blame. I am waiitng for someone to invent the magic bar code on food packaging, which when swiped with your smart phone, will show on the screnn exactly how your food item was produced and what by products were left.

  3. patriciaruthsusan August 23, 2019 at 10:15 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    First, a description of something most people don’t think of, the byproducts of various grains and how they can be fed to cows. Next, an interesting and humorous book offered at a most reasonable price by Jim Webster about livestock and border collies on the farm. A review by a pleased reader is included.

    • jwebster2 August 23, 2019 at 11:31 am Reply

      people don’t realise how integrated various foodchains actually are

  4. patriciaruthsusan August 24, 2019 at 9:53 am Reply

    Before your post, I certainly didn’t. I learned something. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • jwebster2 August 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm Reply

      If nobody tells you, how can you know? 🙂

  5. patriciaruthsusan August 24, 2019 at 2:06 pm Reply

    🙂 — Suzanne

  6. Jack Eason August 27, 2019 at 5:01 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    I’m with Jim on this – like him I hate hypocrisy!!!

    • jwebster2 August 27, 2019 at 5:09 am Reply

      I loved the way one young lady put it, “Hypocrisy is not a good look.” 🙂

  7. C.E.Robinson August 27, 2019 at 5:06 pm Reply

    A good learning post! Thanks! 📚🎶 Christine

  8. Cynthia Reyes September 4, 2019 at 10:39 am Reply

    Sometimes I just sits and wonder….

    • jwebster2 September 4, 2019 at 1:45 pm Reply

      and then shake your head in bewilderment before getting on with real life? 🙂

      • Cynthia Reyes September 4, 2019 at 2:56 pm

        No. It lasts for a while… hah

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