When anyone says the word "organic," it evokes the Rodale name. J.I. Rodale invented the term organic back in the 1940s and subsequently launched Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine in 1949. The research farm and publishing empire headquartered in Emmaus, Pennsylvania is the bellwether of the entire ecological farming movement.
But alas, even this iconic outfit is slipping, as evidenced in a May 21 article titled "Is meat Ruining the Planet?" In typical environmental fashion, the article takes on factory farming and starts well: "it's a myth that animal agriculture has to be destructive or that we have to stop eating meat to save the planet." So far so good.
"Factory farmed livestock produce 500 million tons of waste a year--that's 17 times the amount of sewage produced by the entire U.S. population." Amen again, although it would have been good to point out that the amount of manure is not the problem; it's the concentration of it. Were that spread over all the farmland, it would be nature's finest blessing rather than nature's greatest curse.
"80 percent of all the antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed and administered to livestock." Correct again. Well said. Converting to "strategic grazing on just 25 percent of our croplands and grasslands , we could mitigate the entire carbon footprint of North American agriculture." Bravo again.
With all this great material, what's the problem? Well, you have to stay with it all the way to the end when the insidious broadside lands:
"There is one other option. Laboratory-grown meat is a thing, and it’s almost ready for the supermarket.
Cell-cultured meats don’t come directly from animals but are made from animal tissue. They mimic the texture and flavor of real meat without the environmental hangover. Some environmentalists and animal activists think these new products are the answer, but others don’t agree.
Would you eat meat grown by scientists? Hop into the comments and tell us what you think."
Oh good grief, Rodale, really? This last paragraph is boldly titled "A Man-Made Alternative" which of course indicates it really is an alternative and a viable one at that. Why? Why even offer it as a credible alternative? After extolling the virtues of pastured livestock done well, why desecrate it with sending the reader to lab meat grown in soybeans?
To say I'm disappointed in Rodale would be the understatement of the year. Few things are more ecologically enhancing than properly managed grass-based herbivores. After all, that's what built all the deep soils on the planet. That an outfit as knowledgeable and with it as Rodale swallows the lab concoction myth is frustrating and shows how duplicitous people can be.
Lab meat does not have the nutritional profile that the real thing does. For an outfit built on questioning chemicals and ecological fraud to slip over into a wishy-washy position on fraudulent nutrition and ecology is simply unacceptable. I hope they retract this posting and speak with a clear voice; not a mish-mash voice. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Do you think lab protein is the answer to factory farming?