Too much domesticated biomass

Here’s today’s xkcd, which is both enlightening and frightening. Notice that there is more poundage of cows than of people. And where are the cats?

land_mammalsh/t: Grania

91 Comments

  1. Dominic
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It certainly is depressing. That means a lot of methane & nitrous oxide.
    Of connected interest –

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X14000146

  2. John Taylor
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised by the relative mass of pigs compared to sheep. I would have guessed far more pig mass compared to sheep mass.

    • john matthews
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Wales & New zealand are practically sheep farms.

      • Filipe
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        The muslim world doesn’t eat pork. There’s also the fact that lambs are puny and ewes have only one or two lambs at a time. Only a small fraction of total sheep mass is «harvested» every year. Saws have large litters and pigs are slaughtered at large size (and very young age when compared to cattle). There’s much more meat produced from pork, even though total cattle mass is way bigger.

        • John Taylor
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          It would be interesting (or very scary) to see a breakdown, by species, of animal mass consumed by humans over time.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Regrettably, NZ is rapidly turning into a cow farm, at the expense of forestry and (probably) sheep. This is appalling, chopping down trees to make way for muddy paddocks full of methane-farting ozone-layer-destroying global-warming water-polluting cows. (The trees are are ‘only’ exotic pine forests, not native, which lessens the crime slightly, but any tree is better than no tree and I love pine forests). Sheep are way less objectionable (and they don’t wreck your car if you run into one at night).

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 7, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          to make way for muddy paddocks full of methane-farting ozone-layer-destroying global-warming water-polluting cows.

          So … that would be none of the cows then?
          Ruminants in general (cows, sheep, goats and – do horses or elephants count as ruminants? I forget. If I ever knew) exhale their methane through their mouths, not through the other end.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted March 7, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            Horses and elephants don’t ruminate, and they’re hindgut fermenters. They fart quite a lot, but have sweet breath.
            But cows produce methane from both ends.

  3. Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Oh my God. I was initially going to comment that the proportion of cows to humans is surely only owed to an imbalance in our diet. After all, as the ‘predator’ you would expect there to be less of us than our ‘prey.’ It’s just that the prey happens to be heavily titled in favour of cows. But then I noticed the green bits. What is that, 5% roughly? (I was too lazy to count them). So roughly 95% of land mammals are either us or our food. That is scary. To quote Bill Hicks ‘We’re just a virus with shoes.’

  4. gbjames
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Given how food chains work it isn’t surprising to me that there is more poundage of cattle than humans. This diagram illustrates why I don’t eat meat.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Yeah, the land to grow plants is often dedicated to feeding cows instead of people. I eat meat but not much of it, rarely red meat & no pigs. If you cut down that makes a big difference too.

      • Lars
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Some of the land used for stock, however, remains in something like its original condition, with a bit of luck and good management. I’ve done a lot of ecological field work on range land in Alberta, for instance, and as long as sustainable numbers of cattle are maintained on the land, quite a bit of the original biological diversity remains. Certainly more than you’d get if the same area was cropped. Still less than if the range had been left alone, of course.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          I was thinking more of efficiency. Instead of spending energy, food and water to feed and maintain cattle, we cut the middle man (er cow) & eat the plants directly.

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            When you get into free-range un-pastured livestock, that equation changes dramatically. You’re talking about a hunter / gatherer level of environmental impact and resource usage with an industrialized degree of minimal effort and investment of time. Let the livestock live their lives as they see fit, and just round them up and haul them to the slaughterhouse when the time comes. Provide some basic veterinary services, maybe provide winter food and shelter in harsh climates, keep the other predators from getting out of hand, and that’s pretty much it.

            Plants, though, unless you want to spend your whole time foraging, are still going to need to be cultivated. That’s a lot more resource-intensive, no matter which resource you look at.

            b&

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

              Yep!

            • chascpeterson
              Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

              You’re talking about a hunter / gatherer level of environmental impact
              huh? You live in Arizona, right? Do you have any idea of the environmental impact that “free-range, unpastured” but non-native cattle have wreaked on the native organisms and desert and grassland ecosystems of your state?

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I am.

                Which is why I would argue that cattle have no business in the Sonoran Desert. Hell, this might not be such a great place for people at all.

                I’d be all for free-range American Bison in Kansas and free-range elk in Colorado and the like. I wouldn’t worry too much about mixing them up with other ruminants, but the predominant species should be native.

                And there shouldn’t be any ruminants in ecosystems that didn’t evolve with them.

                …that would, incidentally, also include stopping the clear-cutting of South American rainforests in order to raise McDonalds’s hamburgers….

                b&

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 7, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            we cut the middle man (er cow) & eat the plants directly.

            That’s one of the ethical dilemmas that I look forward to watching play out as the technology of making meat in a petri dish (oh, sorry M. Petri, and apologies to my spelling checker too : “Petri dish”).
            Once the tedious biochemical technicalities (like poisoning customers) have been worked out, and the cost is down to a sensible level … just what is the argument against having a “long pig burger”? To quote Flanders and Swann (who used to be a regular anthropopaguy), “Roast Leg of Insurance Saleman”.

            But people have always eaten people,
            What else is there to eat?
            If the Jou-Jou had meant us not to eat people,
            He wouldn’t have made us of meat.

            • Posted March 7, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

              I don’t think long pork would make very good burgers. Ribs, chops, and especially bacon and sausages, yes, but likely not burgers….

              b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 7, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

                But on the other hand, the potential for stirring up trouble with all sorts of people who’ve never sat down to think about what they consider to be important is a popcorn moment of gigantic-bucket magnitude.

              • Posted March 7, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

                Shirley, that must be rib tips in the bucket, and not popcorn?

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 10, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

                I thought that popcorn was traditional for these things – never been able to stand the stuff myself – but “rib tips” ?? The snipped-off cartilagenous tips of (presumably) long-pig ribs?
                Sorry, you’re beyond my acquaintance with the butcher’s art now. Not that you get butchers any more.

              • Posted March 10, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

                It’s one of the secrets of Chicago-style barbecue.

                http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-05-10/entertainment/0705080629_1_rib-tips-spare-rib-slab-ribs

                …and, yes, popcorn is traditional, but why not stone two krill with one bird?

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

                Hmmm, I’m starting to think about the …. Mosul government setting out (on a Jabberwocky hunt) to stone two Kurds with one brill(-ig). But that’s getting a bit too strained even for my slithy sense of puns.
                I wonder if Stef has had his annual Kurdish kidnapping? Interesting times up Mosul way, if you’re oilfield trash.

              • Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

                But I thought that, since the Mission was Accomplished, Iraq is now Liberalized and they’ve turned all their guns into flower planters and they’re all a bunch of fat-and-happy long-haired hippies singing Kumbayah? No way could anybody possibly be doing anything not nice there!

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 11, 2014 at 2:14 am | Permalink

                Do I detect sarcasm there? Watch out, the Wizard is watching! (And if you get THAT reference, there’s a dwarf here with an axe.)

              • Posted March 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                Must admit, I’m safe (I hope?) from the dwarf…no clue about the reference….

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

                ADVEN ? (A.k.a. Colossal Cave) Vintage on PDP-en of the mid-1970s. And later. “You are in a maze of twisty little passages all alike.”

              • Posted March 12, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

                Ah — to be honest, I never really did make it all that far through that one, and it was so many ages ago….

                b&

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 14, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

                Dropping the bird is a rite of passage. Literally.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Here is another reason not to eat meat:

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304125639.htm

      Of course, research like this has a tendency to change its mind from time to time. But overall, depending on age…too much meat and cheese is just bad.

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        “not too much” is not none”.

        Better than too much sugar.

        /@

        • Posted March 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Exactly.

          The WHO has just published revised guidelines. They’re recommending the limit stay at 10% sugar of daily calories, but with a strong suggestion that 5% is a better limit. That still works out to a couple tablespoons of sugar a day, which is less than the quarter cup of sugar in a single 12-ounce can of soda but also twice historical amounts.

          Probably best to limit your daily consumption to a teaspoon or less (or none) and save the sugar for rare indulgences on special occasions.

          …and remember that sugar is everywhere, including ketchup and salad dressing and bread. And that it makes no difference the form; honey is as bad as HFCS is as bad as fruit juice is as bad as diet sweeteners is as bad as table sugar is as bad as….

          b&

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      I don’t eat (much) meat. I like bacon but I limit myself severely, and I much prefer meat pies to steak and I couldn’t give a toss about the sporadic scandals about the small percentage of ‘real’ meat in them. In fact if someone could produce ‘meat’ pies with nothing but TVP and flavouring (plus the other veggie ingredients) for around the same price, I’d be more than happy to switch.

      • gbjames
        Posted March 6, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

        I’ve had fake-meat pies that aren’t too bad, but TVP will never be a totally convincing replacement if only for the squeak when you bite in.

  5. Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    They should call it the MacroGreedy Explosion.

  6. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    That’s a lot of meat…..

  7. Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia has an interesting entry on comparative biomass. It says that cattle have a total wet wet of 520 million tons, and termites are close: 445 mill tons. ANTS are between 900 – 9,000 mill. tons!

    • Richard Olson
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      That amount of insect tonnage is going to come in very handy in coming centuries when changed H20 availability results in almost totally non-existent animal protein supply. At long last in the course of human history, the 99% may experience a resource sheer greedy control impulse is unlikely to have the ability to restrict access to.

      Unfortunately, Nestle and Coke will control every last ounce of the planet’s drinking water long before then, sucking up so much personal income a hamburger would be an unaffordable luxury in any case. Keep buying your water in plastic bottles, folks, and sitting idly while ALEC persuades your local CoC to sell its water rights — not that much arm-twisting is required.

      • Richard Olson
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        This showed up just now in my in-box:

        Over 3,000 different ethnic groups eat 1,400 different species of insects. Not eating insects? Check out what you are missing from this insect buffet filmed by the Smithsonian.

        The National asks in the video below whether insects are the future of food. Bugs do cheaply pack a lot of protein in every bite, and breeding them for consumption is far less intensive than breeding cattle.

        In the video, meet some pioneering insect farmers who are promoting “gateway bugs”–easy to cook, easy to eat. What do you think? Will insects make it onto your dinner menu anytime soon?

        http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/its-actually-weird-not-to-eat-insects

        • Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Yum!

          /@

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Gateway bugs – soon there will be weevil madness! ;)

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            You’re just interested in raising a stink, I think.

            b&

    • Curt Cameron
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      If you go to the XKCD site and mouse-over this cartoon, you get (as always) a lagniappe of information that goes along with your point.

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Ah! I did not see that.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 6, 2014 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        XKCD cartoons really aren’t complete without the mouse-over message.

    • Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Hmm…

      /@

  8. Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    And where are the cats?

    If, to a very rough approximation, there’s one pet (presumably not feral, by the wording) cat per person, and if each cat weighs a tenth as much as an human, the cats should be one of the blocks of an half dozen or so squares.

    b&

    • Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      And…d*gs?

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Likely the same mass, within rounding. D*gs are generally bigger, but there’re more cats.

        Also worth noting: the label says, “mammal.” That excludes chickens….

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          and fishies.

        • Kevin
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Not just mammal, but land mammal.

          What about whales and dolphins and seals? I wonder how they fare.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted March 7, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            I would estimate that the biomass of cetaceans is at least two orders of magnitude greater than that of elephants. Quite likely they outweigh us.

        • Filipe
          Posted March 6, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

          The average broiler lives for only 7 weeks. Although chicken meat consumption is on par with beef the total mass of chickens should be two orders of magnitude below that of cattle.

    • Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Cats were probably omitted on purpose because they are of variable weight. At the vet’s office they weigh on the order of ten pounds, but that increases by an order of magnitude when they practice bilocation at 3 in the morning.

    • Lars
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I would assume that they are sitting on the humans’ laps.

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Shoulders, actually, in this particular case….

        b&

  9. Gasper Sciacca
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    And who says there is no global warming?

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Right, I read about studies to manage methane release by different feed. (And I would guess prokaryote management is studied as well.)

      Because it is enough of an AGW contribution to be of economical value to optimize here as elsewhere.

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Does grass v. Corn make a difference?

        Corn-fed beef is supposed to be sooo good, but grass-fed is better nutritionally (so I understand). Is it better environmentally, too?

        /@

        • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Best for the environment and the palate are un-pastured free-range cattle in sustainable populations — that is, cattle let free on a very large plot of land to graze for themselves on the native vegetation, but only in numbers commensurate with historical ruminant population densities. Even better still is native ruminants — American Bison rather than Texas Longhorns, for example.

          The problem, of course, is that it’s much more expensive to do it like that, and that it’s much more profitable in the short term to deplete environmental resources faster than they’re replenished.

          Again, if the global human population was at least an order of magnitude smaller, this wouldn’t be nearly so much of a problem.

          b&

          • Lars
            Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            You get that sort of thing in very poor places as well, actually, When I was in Madagascar I subsisted almost entirely on zebu, which were raised free-range, were never given industrially-produced feed laced with bits of their relatives and loaded with antibiotics, and never saw a feedlot from when they were calved to when they were slaughtered. They spent their whole lives grazing the native grasslands of central Madagascar, and their meat was hands-down the best I’ve ever had before or since.

            • Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

              Exactly.

              Now imagine the global population being small enough that all livestock could be raised like that….

              b&

              • Lars
                Posted March 5, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

                I think that you and I have a different definition of “rich” than most of the world’s population.

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

                Sad, but true….

                b&

        • Richard Olson
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Corn is irrigated in some growing areas, depleting aquifer levels that also supply regional household water (e.g. Web Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer).

          Grass survives (or not) based solely upon sunshine and rain, although in future there will be survival issues for all plants that evolved to exist in soil that freezes during reduced daylight months of the year — soil that no longer freezes will affect nutrient cycles (including insect life). Grass requires no tillage, although machinery may be utilized to harvest and store it. Most USA pasture grass is consumed by grazing stock.

          Corn requires water, too, of course, while extensive tillage/fertilizing/harvesting procedures consume carbon resources. Corn is certainly not necessary for livestock to survive or thrive. Cattle producers like to feed grain for rapid weight gain in confined feedlot operations, and these animals diets are also buttressed with undesirable antibiotic supplements more frequently than grazing cattle. Producers will “finish” free range grass-fed cattle with a few weeks of grain for supplemental weight.

          US corn production far exceeds human or animal food supply requirements due to hefty taxpayer subsidies for growing the low-nutrient value shit, due to artificial demand created by highly debatable gasoline additive and sweetener products policies that are ill-conceived and harmful, unless one is a corporate entity on the receiving end. Perhaps my low opinion of the entire slimy enterprise is ill-concealed.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          Corn as a crop is hard on the environment because of all the stuff they have to spray on it. I have a bunch of trees in my woods that were killed with corn over spray. That stuff usually isn’t spread on windy days because it kills everything except corn. Also, land that grow corn needs to be rotated a lot because nothing but grass will grow there after corn and its pesticides.

          The cows next to me are raised on grass. I’m sure they are cheap too as they don’t get hormone shots etc.

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            “Cheap” is a difficult term in this context. The land they’re being raised on isn’t cheap…but, then again, the environmental damage from feedlots isn’t cheap, either.

            The two best ways to look at it are that feedlots are far more profitable in the short run, and free-range unpastured animals are far more sustainable in the long run.

            There’s no such thing as a free lunch. You can borrow against the health and wealth of future generations by enriching yourself with feedlots and condemning your grandchildren to poverty (or nonexistence); or you can forego the quarterly profit bonus for yourself and let the future get their share, too.

            Now, add the tragedy of the commons into the mix….

            b&

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted March 5, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

              Yeah I guess by cheap I’m thinking the guy next to me rents his land to a guy with cows and the cows eat all the grass and poop in the pasture. It’s cheap for the land and you’d think cheap to raise them but probably they don’t make a ton of money because there aren’t 50 million cows jammed in there.

              Those cows are sneaks too. They regularly get out and I’ve had several people come to my house to ask if “those are your cows” because they are on the road.

              • Posted March 5, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

                I sure wouldn’t mind living somewhere with pastured cows clever enough to escape….

                b&

  10. Maria
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Factory farming, methane, and climate change were the first things that came to my mind — in that order, of course. That and the cruel, deplorable living conditions of these animals are why I quit meat.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      But we have a moral problem here. As Jerry has described so many times over, zoo conditions are much more cruel than the ordinary domesticated environment. And domesticated species generally can’t survive in nature. (Except perhaps pigs, since domesticated are still a reasonable semblance to wild ones.)

      So what to do? We can’t genocide them, we can’t place them in zoos, and there is humane meat production in place if consumers are willing to ask and pay for it.

      Yesterday I watched a program from a norwegian fish farm. The fish were happy when alive. (When they had no parasites, a too common problem.)

      And the method for killing them was tested to knock out the brain in less than 0.5 s. [E.g. they simply crushed the skull individually.]

      • Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Exactly — and that’s a perfect summary of why I have a moral problem with “militant animal rights activists.” They have some sort of a fantasy world in mind that simply isn’t self-consistent, let alone realizable.

        If nobody ate meat, livestock species would go extinct. If meat were suddenly banned, the extinction of livestock species would be swift and brutal and devastating to humanity.

        The short version is that they’re missing the fact that humans are carnivores, and that we have preferred prey species — and, most importantly, as with all other such examples, eliminating the predators is devastating for the prey as well.

        The only humane solution is to provide good lives for the prey and swift and painful deaths when it comes time for them to be eaten. Humans have the potential to be far more merciful predators than any other in the wild, and that should be our goal.

        Maybe some far-distant technological future will offer alternatives including vat-raised meat, but that doesn’t have much bearing on the reality on the ground today.

        b&

        • gbjames
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Putting on my pedant’s hat I can’t help pointing out that humans are omnivores, not carnivores.

          That said, I have the same problem with militant animal rights folk. And I don’t eat meat, which makes some of the arguments I get into interesting.

          Nevertheless, there are far to many humans for us to continue consuming the quantity of meat that we do, let alone the amount that would be required if the rest of the world all eat a western-style diet. We need to eat less of it or we’re going to pay the price.

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            Agreed — but we can simplify even further: there are far too many humans, period, full stop. Somewhere in the area of half a billion total worldwide is probably in line with a reasonably comfortable society, and we’re over an order of magnitude beyond that.

            Considering resource exhaustion and pollution, it’s looking likely that human numbers will be reduced through population collapse rather than through birth control, which is tragic.

            b&

        • Kevin
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          “The only humane solution is to provide good lives for the prey and swift and painful deaths when it comes time for them to be eaten.”

          Well said. When I was vegetarian (~15 years), I worked on a ranch in Montana and noted that the cattle there were treated quite well and lived a really nice life until the end which I was told was done quickly.

          We do have the capacity to raise animals humanely for the purpose of eating and I think, we are learning more about how to do that rationally and eventually apply that knowledge to practice.

        • Lars
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          …swift and painful deaths…

          Um, is this really what you meant?

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            Argh! No, of course not. Damned lack of edit….

            b&

        • Maria
          Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          I’m far from a “militant animal rights activist”, but I do think we have an obligation to animals. They feel fear and pain, and I don’t see why we need to torture them the way we do just so people can have bacon with EVERYTHING and say it’s their “right” to eat as much bacon (or any meat, for that matter). Haven’t read it lately, but I’m sure the Right to Eat Bacon is not in the Constitution. I have had many arguments with “militant meat eaters.”

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            I dont see why we need to torture them the way we do

            We don’t. That’s why I buy meat from Whole Paycheck.

            b&

        • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          “My rump is particularly tender.”

          /@

          • Posted March 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, but I’m thinking it might be nicer tonight to gnaw on some ribs. How’s the barbecue here?

            b&

  11. Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The Bull Cult is the world’s oldest, most widespread, and least recognized religion. Entire ecosystems, and a large part of all continents but Antarctica, have been and are being sacrificed in its name.

    For readers in the U.S.:
    “Public lands grazing provides less than one percent of total employment and income in the eleven western states, and less than three percent of the national beef supply.”
    Source:

    http://www.publiclandsranching.org/htmlres/myth_plr_economics.htm

    • gbjames
      Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      You mean the Bullshit Cult, no?

  12. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I was made aware of these numbers the other week. IIRC our own+domesticated percentage of mammal biomass is ~ something like 80 %. And we should perhaps count fish (from catches) as majorly human use as of today?

    The biomass budget isn’t quite so dire for birds and reptiles, and the next vaunted food source of insects.

  13. Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh, there it is! https://www.dropbox.com/s/h56ew4evtzqbbyq/IMG_4753.JPG

  14. Gordonius australis
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I would like to see a similar chart of the plant kingdom, then for completeness, another for fungi etc, Kingdoms.
    When referring to insects eaten, please separate the non insects. I fancy a nice fried arachnid myself, perhaps a tarantula or several. All simply fascinating.

  15. Posted March 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes in our huge human number we’re domesticating the entire surface of the planet. Crowding out the remaining free living species.

    http://www.chompingclimatechange.org/


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