House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

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House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:19 am

Referring to stock reduction mentioned in Firefly’s Tidbit #10: Of Crops and Cattle, Pigs and Sheep, did stock reduction make sense to you? Was it a valid solution?

Did you agree with the way the rabbit problem was handled, as covered in my Tidbit #18: Is there a Dust Bowl in our future?

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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:58 am

I think thats a very hard question to answer unless you have a really good grasp of Farming and Economics which I don't. Reading through the tidbit again it seems to makes sense. My understanding of it is that during the First World War they encouraged an increase in productivity and paid a good price, but after the war there was a glut and prices fell so they encouraged people to produce less by leaving fields idle, and compensated them to do this. If it costs more to buy the seed to produce the crop than your return on the final produce then you will never make money. I'm assuming this was what was behind the stock reduction too, it would cost you more to feed the animals than is would to sell what you produce from them.
As for the rabbit culling, never sure that works after all unless you kill every single rabbit in the country you can't get rid of the problem altogether as when you kill in one place then animals come into the area again from somewhere else.
In Austalia to solve their problem they built a rabbit proof fence which ran from one side to the other.

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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:05 am

We raise cattle and stock reduction makes alot of sense to me. When there is a shortage of hay and drought conditions force feed prices to rise - reduction is necessary. Hopefully we never have to face the challenges that the folks during this time had to face. The government offered farmers to put their fields in the Soil Bank and paid them to do so. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I have always felt different about this - why can't farmers be compensated to raise crops for feeding our own people?
I don't believe that culling rabbits to extinction is possible. The little critters can really reproduce at a rapid rate!! As GG said - they will find another place.

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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:50 am

I raised goats for 30 years or so, and inevitably you come up with animals that are no longer useful to you -- too old, poor conformation, wrong sex, poor milkers -- and the truth is that I always felt better selling an animal to a meat buyer than to anyone else. I knew that when an animal was going for slaughter there would be a rapid end and no long term suffering. I was always haunted by the idea that someone else might not feed or care for one of those animals to my standards. If you look at the pictures of starving animals during the Dust Bowl, it should be easy to accept the end to their suffering with the stock reduction. Many of them didn't have enough meat left on their bones to be useful as food.

And I also come from a farming background, where animals are part of a business and have to be looked at as a product rather than a pet.

But I agree in general that paying people not to produce when we have people in our country who are hungry seems a bit convoluted.

The rabbit infestation was another really desperate situation. These weren't cute little bunnies hopping around in someone's grassy back yard! What else would you have had people do when the rabbits were killing what little vegetation was left, when they were even chewing the wood on their houses? It was a horrible situation on a scale we can't even imagine. The fact that at least some of those rabbits were eaten is a bonus.

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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:19 am

On first look, these two situations looked appalling to me.

I'm an animal lover, and I can't handle the death of any animal.

However, in the case of stock reduction, it made a lot of sense to me. As nebraska pointed out, the cattle at the time of the Dust Bowl were starving anyway. To me, stock reduction was in a sense a mercy killing. And the poor would be able to be fed by some of it, the way I understand it. To me that's a win/win. And I'm not quite sure I get how someone who raises cattle for slaughter would really develop any sort of feelings for the cattle they raised. That doesn't really equate for me.

About the rabbits. I had a harder time with their annihilation. I think it was because of the attitude of those being filmed. It seemed like a sport to them, or a photo op.

I was glad to hear that many were relocated to places that were without rabbits. That seemed much more humane to me.

As a side note, my old boyfriend's family had a vineyard. And they had a slight rabbit problem. I was just appalled that they would shoot them. BUT the grapes were their livelihood.
:-/
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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:55 pm

I guess things can be both logically necessary and absurd. It is one thing to have to put down a sick animal because they are in pain; it's another thing altogether to realize that they're coming to take care of your cattle today, and your neighbor's tomorrow. The scale of the undertaking pulls it out of the human dimension and so people feel out of control.

I think it's harder to understand the decision to kill animals in order to improve prices. Again, from a logical standpoint, the elimination of surplus pigs was necessary. But the pigs had a value that was more than dollar-driven. Farmers raise living things in order to feed or somehow nourish people. When this purpose is denied -- when the thing is killed and tossed away -- I think there's a sense of violation.

We read about these decisions from a very long distance and we know that what's been left behind as testament -- the articles, book, films -- just doesn't paint a complete picture of all that happened. I guess I wish that they made every effort possible to make sure that healthy animals' flesh ended up feeding someone. So that feeding people was given equal weight with raising prices.
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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby Buster » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:29 pm

Farmers raise living things in order to feed or somehow nourish people. When this purpose is denied -- when the thing is killed and tossed away -- I think there's a sense of violation.

It's a noble thought, raising animals to feed the hungry - but farming is unfortunately not a philanthropic occupation. It is very much a business, and as such, most, if not all, decisions are based on profitability.
To me, the tragedy is that we are not long-sighted enough to make the decisions that prevent this kind of senseless waste. As soon as man domesticated animals, he changed his responsibility toward them. Once humans started cultivating crops and breeding for specific traits, they set a juggernaut in motion that requires great deal of wisdom and courage to manage. Greed leads to over production, and to trying to squeeze every penny of profit without regard to consequence.

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Re: House of Earth Question #14 - Stock Reduction and Rabbits

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:21 am

Buster wrote:
Farmers raise living things in order to feed or somehow nourish people. When this purpose is denied -- when the thing is killed and tossed away -- I think there's a sense of violation.

It's a noble thought, raising animals to feed the hungry - but farming is unfortunately not a philanthropic occupation. It is very much a business, and as such, most, if not all, decisions are based on profitability.
To me, the tragedy is that we are not long-sighted enough to make the decisions that prevent this kind of senseless waste. As soon as man domesticated animals, he changed his responsibility toward them. Once humans started cultivating crops and breeding for specific traits, they set a juggernaut in motion that requires great deal of wisdom and courage to manage. Greed leads to over production, and to trying to squeeze every penny of profit without regard to consequence.

:ok:


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