Thursday, 4 June 2015

With Beef Prices Soaring in Canada, It's Time For Aquaponics

Globalnews.ca reports that beef prices are up 30.5% in the last two years and a whopping 117% since 2000. 


Not only that, beef is costly to produce environmentally. Here are some shocking numbers from One Green Planet:
  • More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the United States are used in animal production (“Ecological Cooking” by Joanne Stepaniak and Kathy Hecker)
  • The production of one calorie of animal protein requires more than ten times the fossil fuel input as a calorie of plant protein. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
  • Producing a single hamburger uses enough fuel to drive 20 miles and causes the loss of five times its weight in topsoil. (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins)
  • Nearly half of all the water used in the United States goes to raising animals for food (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins). It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat and only 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat (“Water Inputs in California Food Production” by Marcia Kreith)
  • To produce a day’s food for one meat-eater takes over 4,000 gallons; for a lacto-ovo vegetarian, only 1200 gallons; for a vegan, only 300 gallons (The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook)
  • Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population and animal farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Run-offs of animal waste, pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics are contributing to dead zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reef and health problems. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
But the good news there is an alternative choice for protein. Fish are incredibly efficient feed converters. It takes around 10 lbs of feed to produce 1 lb of gain in a cow, but only around 1.5 lb of feed to produce 1 lb of gain in fish. Moreover, producing fish in a recirculating system consumes minimal amounts of water and reduces the environmental impact. So the case for aquaponics is made stronger as the population continues to grow and as droughts and inflation impact our pocket books. 

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