Animal extinction for food ends with soy: Professor

Donna Crane
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Last of two parts
The Independent newspaper in London, England published the following article written about professor Raj Patel, who stated: “Re-imagining a world with less stuff, but more joy is probably the way forward.” Here is part two of the role of industrial agriculture.

The Independent published the following article involving professor Raj Pate.

Industrial agriculture is bringing about the mass extinction of life on Earth, according to leading academic, Raj Pate.

‘“Various kinds of chemistry is deployed to make sure it is only soy that’s grown on these mega-farms,’ he said.

‘“Penguins face extinction as food taken by humans to feed livestock.

“That’s what extinction looks like. If you ever go to a soy plantation, animal life is incredibly rare. It’s only soy, there’s nothing there for anything to feed on.

“‘And that soy is then turned into food for humans, often by “passing it through cattle and chickens’, Prof Patel said.

“Some of the world’s most iconic animals, such as elephants, jaguars, and penguins, are threatened due to these current farming practices.

“In Sumatra, forests that are home to elephants and jaguars are being destroyed to make way for palm plantations, often to make feed for livestock kept in industrial meat factories.

“And small fish like anchovies and sardines are being caught on a massive scale to be ground into fishmeal for farmed salmon, pigs, and chickens. That means animals like penguins, which normally feed on them, are in trouble.

“The South African penguin population alone has plunged by at least 70% since 2004.

“Asked what people could do as a consumer to try to avoid contributing to such problems, Prof Patel said people needed to think on a bigger scale.

“‘As a consumer you are only allowing yourself a range of action. As a consumer you can buy something that’s local and sustainable, that’s labelled as organic or fair trade,’ he said.

‘“But as a consumer, you don’t get to do a whole lot of good. As a citizen, as a decent person, you can demand more from your government, from one’s employer, from yourself.

‘“Be more aware of your power as part of a society where we can change things. We have this power to change things in the future. What we have to do is make that change.’

“He said some people thought being a vegetarian avoided contributing to the extinction crisis.

‘“I’m vegetarian but it’s not enough. If you are vegetarian and you walk around with your halo of virtue, but you are eating tofu that comes from Brazilian soy, then you’re just as complicit in all of this as if you are eating the beef fed on Brazilian soy,’ Prof Patel said.

“‘Vegetarianism did not provide a pure and simple’ route out of the problem.

“‘Capitalism is involved. The capitalist will take your vegetarianism and make money from it with the same kind of techniques they’ve honed in meat manufacture,’ he said.

“Instead, Prof Patel argued it was time to switch to a world in which resources were shared and looked after, harking back to the days when people had access to common land.

‘“The commons is only a tragedy because the commons in England were eliminated. Before they were eliminated there were people who could manage resources and nature in ways that were sustainable,’ he said.

“The idea of a commons that is managed collectively and the way in which nature is managed well and sustainably, that’s a memory that needs to be recuperated.

“Admitting that changing society so radically would be a challenge, he argued it was essential as people’s current aspirations were based on images of consumption that are entirely unsustainable.

“Humans, Prof Patel said, would need to find a way to live with less material wealth.

“‘Re-imagining a world with less stuff, but more joy is probably the way forward,’ he said.

‘“There’s a strong case for saying there’s room for … less individual consumption and loneliness … and more sharing and communality, getting together around the table, rather than sitting alone in front of the TV.’

‘“For information about the Extinction and Livestock Conference, go to,’ Pate wrote.”

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