A Cut for Middlemen: Livestock and Food

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A Cut for the Middleman: Livestock and Food (pp. 706)

1. How is energy lost as it transfers to higher trophic levels?

The cows that are feeding on the field are part of a trophic level. The general rule is that the tropic level transfers about ten percent of the energy it has to the level above it. This describes that energy moving up decreases till it gets to the next trophic level. In turn, the number and biomass of organisms reduces as the energy reduces up the food chain. Almost 90% of the energy in one trophic level is lost to the organisms in the next trophic level. For instance, if domesticated animals would feed on just grass this would not be a matter of concern since grass is not useful to human beings and this would be efficient utilization of the available piece of land. However, because the cows are fed on corn that is suitable for human consumption the energy transferred is minimal leading to losses.


2. What effect does the agricultural industry have on climate change?

The agricultural sector has a major impact on climate change since major agricultural practices impact the fight against global warming. Cutting down trees or natural vegetation to grow corn for cows which transfers only a small portion of the energy compared to the amount of corn feed is not sustainable. It takes nine pounds of beef to produce 1 pound of beef for human consumption which is not efficient. Therefore farmers should consider the scale of this grain fed operation to production of meat against feeding humans.


3. Are all foods created equal? Why or why not?

Not all foods are created equal as food has various properties that differ from each other. For instance a grain of maize has substantially different proportions of vitamins and may lack protein compared to meat which is full of iron and other minerals not to mention rich in protein. The article tries to compare these two types of foods whereas they are not comparable at all in terms of nutrition.
4. What are the current concerns with the rate of global meat consumption?

Global meat consumption has increased rapidly over the last decade and the strength of the livestock sector to manage this capacity may be limited due to the lack of sufficient resources mainly free land and pasture. The amount of land and feed required to support this increased meat demand cannot be met without a compromise to climate change and global warming.


5. Should Brazilian farmers be allowed to clear rainforests in order to increase crop space for livestock?

Rain forests have many uses apart from being a source of vegetation they provide oxygen, stabilize the climate from reaching global warming status and provide rainfall which is essential for all agricultural practices. Consequently, the uses of a rainforest far outreach the requirements of farmers that require the land for only a portion of food productions. Mexicans farmers should not be allowed to clear rainforests but should consider other sustainable agricultural practices that utilize the piece of land that is currently available liked mixed cropping.


6. Do you think sustainable agricultural practices such as those underway in Demark should be required internationally?

Denmark has prioritized sustainable agricultural practices, notably; Denmark thrives from its intensive agricultural sector and agro-food industries. Most countries should endeavor to establish such initiatives that are beneficial in nature. The advantages of these initiatives include controlling industrial pollution and establishing land control rules and regulations. It is important to encourage climate friendly agricultural practices that promote sustainability. The integration of sustainable development policy is essential for human survival.

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