Your Opinion: Sustainability issues

Dear Editor:

Mr. Flemming sure doesn’t like animal agriculture. His opinions seem to mirror the vegan/animal rights groups that are seeking to shut down the livestock industry.

I thought we had already hashed out the issue of greenhouse emissions from livestock. The data used to make that charge was flawed. But think about it this way you’d have to get rid of all animals, not just domesticated livestock to ensure that no nitrous oxide is produced — including man.

Nitrous oxide — laughing gas — is sweet smelling, sweet tasting non-flammable gas that is used in anesthesia, the manufacturing of chemicals and aerosols. Man has and still does produce his own share of nitrous oxide in more ways than already mentioned.

Mr. Flemmng doesn’t like it that manure and fertilizer are also used to grow fruits and vegetables are used to grow animal feeds because they give off nitrous oxide. Well manure and fertilizer are also used to grow fruits and vegetables, but I guess that is acceptable. Maybe he thinks that no fertilizers and especially manure are ever used in growing fruits and vegetables. That would be inane.

He seems to forget that the vegetable and fruit industries are also part of agriculture and that they too require lots of water, land and fertilizers.

There is a growing concern over agricultural land use availability. Over one million acres of prime farmland are lost each year to urban sprawl — shopping malls, parking lots and housing.

Marginally productive and highly erodible land that has been in CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) for 20 years is once again being farmed to raise corn for the ethanol industry.

Ethanol uses around 35 percent of our total yearly corn crop and a by-product of that production-distiller’s grain is now being fed to livestock. Not only does that fertilized grain feed livestock and our car, but 75 percent of our nation’s wildlife receive their food and habitat from grain fields and ranches.

We are the world’s most conspicuous consumers because only 9.5 percent of our income is spent on food — less than another country — and possibly because of our entire food system

Before you make any drastic changes to your diet thinking that it will be an environmentally sustainable response consider this as Americans we are more wasteful than any other country. We feel that we are entitled to the best for less and we are extremely gullible. A great starting point in agricultural sustainability might be to address those issues first.

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