Thursday, 5 August 2010
Dark side of farming
It's a worldwide reported issue that wolves attack livestock. This problem has been going on for centuries since humans became farmers and kept animals. It hurt families and smaller communities when their livestock were killed. Wolves have been lurking near farms and during the absense of people, this is when animals are killed. Wolves have been looked upon as a menace to farmers. The answer has always been to kill wolves on sight but larger communities sought to make drastic measures by destroying any visible wolves as far as possible. Certain wolves disappeared in many locations. The native wolves of Britain and Ireland have been wiped out. Why do wolves attack livestock? It's a simple enough answer, because wolves that don't find enough prey in the wilderness turn hungry so they resort to killing farm animals for food. Humans need food also and have to protect their livestock. Unfortunately the timeless problem of wolves attacking farm animals coincided with horror stories about wolves and werewolves that demonised the wolf. Yet, strangely despite this problem, wolves have been revered as a divine animal in many cultures especially in ancient myths and legends.
It isn't just the wolf. Many other carnivorous wild animals attack livestock. Diseases infect livestock also and in some cases making them a biohazard to all. To protect humans and other animals, all those sick livestock (including non-infected animals of the same breed) have had to be slaughtered. Horror stories and urban legends tend to show during a period of serious livestock disease. An outbreak of illnesses among humans came from them eating infected meat. Apart from wild predators now, another concern is livestock diseases posing a serious threat to to the health of people, other animals and the environment.
Some are worried about eating GM (genetically modified) food and having pesticides in farming. Many are preferring to get their food that comes from organic farms but apparantly they are not perfect. Some say that organic products are dirty and cannot feed everyone. I've noticed that organic food is expensive and not everyone can afford it either.
Humans rely on crops and livestock, vineyards, fresh water wells and fire. Without it we go hungry and cold. Fire burns away any bacteria in meats when cooked properly. Cold pantries, freezers and refrigerators chill food to keep them fresh. Without those we would be struggling like our ancestors again, relying on basics OR going hungry. If we had no farms, then humans would find themselves on the verge of starvation until we learn about hunting and gathering. Human beings (not all of them) feel they are somewhat seperate form nature and the animals. This is not true. Humans are a part of nature and also humans are an animal species.
Surrounding farms is land, much of which is unknown beneath the soil. The farmer deals with the surface. Deep below the ground there could be anything or nothing except soil and rocks. Some farms might be over ancient burial mounds or covered over grounds where ancient battles took place. I know of several farms that are located exactly where manor houses, castles, monestaries, temples and paths used to be. Some farms, including their farm land, is situated on sacred sites, some that are not quite discovered or known. Now we have the farm land phenomena of strange and unsual crop circles.
To the human psyche, farming is a sanctuary and also a place of superstition and the unknown, as well as production of fear. People are afraid of wild animals and the wilderness. People can't live with the wild anymore, only a few individuals choose to or some people in other parts of the globe live as hunter-gatherers. It's human nature to be a hunter gatherer, IMO and it was out of desperation (perhaps during the Ice Age) to spread farming and domestication.
Links and information:
Grey wolf and info on wolves
Info on livestock animal health and infections
Animal Diseases for Dummies
The Tracing Paper
Negative Effects of Organic