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The Sustainable Agricultural Network for Training and Environmental Education

Cow Protection, A Crucial Link to A Non-Violent Sustainable Economy

 

 
There are currently 1.5 billion cattle populating the earth according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. That's about one cow for every five human beings. They graze over 24% of the land mass of this planet. Although the scientific community, the governments of the world, and the mass media have devoted a great deal of time and effort to studying and publicizing man's relentless assault on the earth's ecosystems, there is a curious silence surrounding the issue of cattle. Here are some hard core facts to ruminate over.

The breeding of animals--especially domesticated cattle--for the purpose of organized animal killing-- is one the most destructive environmental forces of the modern era. Seventy percent (70%) of all U.S. grain production is devoted to livestock feed, primarily for cattle. To fatten cattle for market, it now takes the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of grain fed beef in the United States. Every pound of grain-fed flesh is secured at the expense of a burned forest, an eroded rangeland, a barren field, a dried up river or stream, and the release of millions of tons of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and methane into the skies.

 

 
For a public used to thinking of environmental threats exclusively in terms of automobile exhaust, factory effluents and toxic and radioactive materials, the magnitude of the environmental destruction caused by commercial dairy and cattle operations may come as a shock. In fact, the whole issue begs for attention and answers to tough questions. Is the walloping environmental price tag worth paying? Who decides? The milk and beef industry? Government regulatory agencies? Animal rights advocates? The public?

S.A.N.T.E.E. Farm tackles the "cow issue" by providing a two-pronged educational format. We teach the theory of cow protection backed-up by the practice of hands-on vocational training. Our curriculum begins by making a sharp distinction between profit motivated animal care (commercial exploitation for milk, meat and the by-products of the slaughter industry) versus the small scale non violent approach which recognizes the cow and bull as critical components to a sustainable system of agriculture. We thoroughly explore the historical, ecological and social impact of cattle raising against the backdrop of centuries old eastern and western experience. Special attention is given to a study of India's traditional village economic model as taught by Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi.

In support of vocational training, S.A.N.T.E.E. matches students with farming organizations currently involved in cow protection. Specifically, we network with two local groups, Gita Inc.(they maintain a herd of 170 cows) and I.S.C.O.W.P., the International Society for Cow Protection, which trains students in ox powered farming .In 1998, a team composed of volunteers from these organizations collaborated to erect the dairy barn (pictured below) which now serves as an educational training center.

 

 

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