Structural changes in food consumption and nutritional intake from livestock products in India receive a review from Assistant Professor Jabir Ali of the Agriculture Management Centre at the Institute of Management at Lucknow (South Asia Research 2007, 27(2), 137-151). It makes chilling reading and emphasizes a trend towards intensification of livestock rearing and exportation of the products to capture a stronger position in world trade and to satisfy increasing tastes for westernized dietaries (and the emerging evidence of the ills of westernized lifestyles, notably in China and Japan, two oriental countries whose demands for imports India hopes to meet).
“Livestock as an important sub-sector of the Indian agricultural economy plays a multi-faceted role in providing livelihood support and food security, especially to the country’s rural population”, states Professor Jabir Ali. There is a growing market for livestock products in India and it is well-documented that consumption patterns have been undergoing significant changes towards high-value commodities like fruit and vegetables, milk, meat, and eggs. Between 1983 and 1999 consumption of fruits increased by 553%, of vegetables by 167%, and of milk and milk products 105%. Consumption of meat, eggs, and fish rose by 85% over the same period and these trends have continued since”. It is not all bad, then; but his article analyses some significant recent structural changes in consumption of livestock products in India and examines their future scope in providing national security.
Professor Jabir Ali argues that “despite reservations about meat consumption, livestock products have great potential to contribute significantly to the rural economy and in providing better nutritional security for a still growing population”.
Production of 1kg of beef creates more greenhouse gas emissions than motoring for 3 hours while leaving the lights on at home, according to a new study conducted in Japan.
The country’s National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Toukuba, examined greenhouse gas emissions by way of methane from beef cattle; the energy required to create the beef, including feed production, husbandry, transport, slaughtering, butchering and packaging; plus the environmental effects of production methods.
“The results showed that the total contributions of one beef calf throughout its life cycle to global warming, acidification, eutrophication, and energy consumption were 4,550 kg of CO2 equivalents.” (Meat Trades Journal 03/08/07).
Meats for School Meals
In September 2006, the government introduced standards of food for school lunches and the School Food Trust was established to assist in their implementation. Next month revised standards for school lunches, as well as standards for non-lunch food provision, are to be introduced...
...Ben Bradshaw’s statement earlier this year on the need to lower consumption of meat and milk – and this from a Minister at DEFRA – prompted us to redouble our efforts at persuading the RSPCA of the enormous consequences in animal welfare that such changes would connote, setting an example that individual and corporate demonstration would nicely reinforce and stimulate initiatives trending in the same direction that nutritionists, medics, economists, and environmentalists – as well as the Food Standards Agency and organisations such as the Soil Association – were effectively pursuing.
This year’s AGM of the RSPCA had been arranged for Saturday, the 30th June, at Kensington Town Hall. It turned out that a few steps along High Street, Kensington, in what was once Barkers department store, an ambitious Whole Foods supermarket was to be launched a week before the RSPCA’s AGM. Publicity for the launch included reference to what could be described as Ethical Shopping and Enlightened Consumerism, and exemplification of progress in cruelty-free foods. To top all this the owner of the Whole Foods market is a vegan and the RSPCA’s members had decided at the AGM last year that all the catering this year should be real veggie, i.e. vegan.
The dramas kept erupting up to the eve of the RSPCA’s AGM. A couple of days before, a Cabinet shuffle and consequent changes had brought Hilary Benn, a veggie of long standing, to head DEFRA and Ben Bradshaw was switched to Ministerial responsibilities in the Dept of Health. Even if it was unwitting, Gordon Brown had thrust vegetarianism into a political significance even greater than it exhibited at the end of WW2 when Stafford Cripps was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Alerting the RSPCA to its declared mission, we drew its attention to the possibilities at its AGM and conference for exhibition of the desired trends in the market for meat- and dairy-free commercial alternatives. Conferences of nutritionists ran stalls and stands for just such purposes. They were popular. We recommended these introductions to the RSPCA in its program and we attracted interest in manufacturers and retailers, extending to opportunities for sampling. The real possibilities can outdo in the RSPCA’s interest the Freedom Foods Monitoring System and the attendant flaws and consequent discontent and discredit even among products offering free range to outputs of the ailing dairy and poultry industries...
Ben Bradshaw stated earlier this year that people should eat “less meat and milk”. He is a Minister at DEFRA. The Economist last year offered dietary advice: “…a healthy diet is built on a base of grains, vegetables, and fruits, followed by ever-decreasing amounts of dairy-products, meat, sweets, and oils…”.
In Britain alone the intensifying sacrifice serving the appetite and greed for animal-derived food is becoming an annual massacre of nearly 1 billion ill-used animals. Last year’s Nutrition Society Annual Conference and this year’s are acting, in the plow-to-plate style of the Food Standards Agency, on practicable solutions that would relieve this appalling toll of avoidable cruelty. We move that the RSPCA meets this challenge by official and sustained interventions and example in the agronomic consequences of The New Kinder Farming and production of cruelty-free food.
Halal, Haram, Kosher – Religious Words With Commercial Clout
Vegetarians need to compare their performance in the food market with the Muslims’. There are about 3 million consumers buying veggie and as many professing halal preferences. According to the (Meat Trades Journal 03/08/07) “halal meat is moving outside its niche and proving increasingly popular to non-Muslim consumers. But rising demand in tradition brings its own difficulties.” Nonetheless, “the industry continues to grow at a staggering rate and demand for halal has never been higher.” Recent changes in the market for veggie foods don’t display such vigor and enterprise, and they display an untoward cheesiness and acceptance of the by-products and co-products of the dairy/beef/veal industry.
DEFRA reports that British Customs are seizing more illegal meat imports than ever before. Seizures of illegally imported animal products rose by 7% last year to 35,001. Most of the products seized were from Eastern Asia, Western Africa, and Eastern Europe; 81% of the seizures were from countries of origin with higher designated risk.
Keeping the veggie campaign and message fit for purpose, VEGA scans the “better” Sunday papers, among them yesterday’s Sunday Times and the Style magazine that drops out of it.
How is this then for journalistic style and good taste in table talk:
"The Blonde had pre-ordered a whole roast chicken. This wasn’t just any roast chicken. It was a French black-legged roast chicken lying on its back with its feet in the air, smothered in another bird’s oversized liver, with a fistful of bread inserted up its cloaca – and it didn’t come from Marks & Spencer. It was as perfectly fine as a chicken still in its stockings with a duck’s unctuous innards and a sodden, fatty, crisp hunk of bread could be – which is pretty damn good. The Blonde and Cami adored it, saying it was the perfect dinner and that it was all they ever wanted – ever, ever, ever wanted – to eat. In fact, every other food ever conceived of or cooked was really only a consolation prize for not getting roast chicken."
This stilted piece of schoolboy level prose is an example from 2 whole pages (with a column of ads) contributed weekly by a hack by the name of AA Gill...
Can we plead with readers to spend a moment before they consign their newspapers and supplements to the recycling bin to despatch by any means messages of praise for good journalism and of disgust for bad.
Stars - Signs - Celebrity. What the Future Holds for VEGA
Light pollution, a frequent reminder of excessive use of fuel and power, obscures night skies for many people in the UK, which also deprives them numinously of one of the joys of living and wonder of appreciation of all the wildlife, trees, and plants and crops affected and even dependent on the hours of darkness. However, some people can still site the Plough, the Pointers of which line up with the Pole Star, Polaris, in Ursa Minor, The Little Bear, Observers in the USA know the Plough as the Big Dipper, so they call Ursa Minor the Little Dipper from its similar ladle-like form. The firmament in the southern hemisphere presents a different picture. The Summer Triangle rides high in the northern heavens, VEGA commanding one of its points.