Go Feral – Swap, not stop.
We are so used to hearing it… Exhibit A is bad for the environment so stop using it.
It is the dialectic which has dominated discussion of beef – cows are bad for the environment therefore we should not consume beef. The logic is not consuming beef leads to less cows being produced and thus less damage to the environment.
As Ecovores, we have no argument with the logic. But as Ecovores, we see more options.
For an Ecovore, the focus is on eating native animals that do not produce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and feral species. This post focuses on feral animals.
Feral animals are bad for the environment. In some cases, they produce GHG, but their lifestyle is destructive of the fragile environments in which they live. This can also apply to many native species, if they overpopulate, as overpopulation leads to overgrazing of the land, leading to degradation. Instances such as these reverse the above dialect, they are bad for environment and thus we should increase our consumption.
Increasing consumption of feral animals aims to reduce their numbers. Culling species such as camel, buffalo and wild boar present’s benefits to the environment and thus increasing there consumption is better for ecosystems. Many of these animals do not produce as much green house gases as do livestock such as cows and sheep, however from the point of an Ecovore, any emissions produced is irrelevant as they already exist and consumption of feral animals does not increase the populations of the species. In fact, it is the ultimate aim of Ecovore is to remove them from the environment.
The argument here is to swap meat, not to stop it. Reducing beef consumption and increasing consumption of feral animals is beneficial for the environment for two great reasons. Firstly, less cows would be produced as demand decreases and this leads to less green house gas emissions from livestock. Secondly, ecosystems are improved by declining numbers of pest species or overpopulated species, which are overgrazing their habitat. Most of the large feral populations are located in fragile environments, not suitable for mainstream agriculture or primary production. For overpopulated species, it is the aim of the Ecovore to sustainably manage local populations as an alternative to traditional beef farming, however whilst species are already overpopulated and there is an abundance of feral animals, consuming game meat is choice for the environment.
For Ecovores, we have a significant structural challenge to overcome in order to gain access to these feral animals. With the exception of Kangaroo (though Wild Duck, Rabbit and Boar and becoming more common) most of these animals are culled, but their meat is not being sold. So far, all the camel and buffalo I have located has been farmed – and this meat does not benefit the environment. The challenge is to create the mechanisms and the infrastructure, for these culled species to be commercialised, so that they can be purchased instead of farmed meats.
This topic is undoubtedly contentious, so please feel free to share your thoughts or questions by either commenting or by using the contact form here.