Some people may say that the animals these byproducts are derived from are already being “used for other means” and thus using their bodily functions and internal fluids to grow crops is still an environmentally sound thing to do. Waste not, want not?
It’s true that there is a heaping file of dung to deal with on this planet, but the question is: Are we really the ones that should be paying for it? Livestock in the United States create approximately 89,000 pounds of excrement per second! The nitrogen in this waste is converted into ammonia and nitrates that seep into the water system contaminating wells, rivers, streams and eventually the ocean. And let us not forget the blood, bones, fish sludge, eggshells and more that these farms must also dispose of.
Factory farms have a huge waste problem on their hands and while using manure, blood and bone, and slaughterhouse sludge in organic farming isnít going to fix this problem, industrialized farms have nonetheless figured out a way to get organic growers and us to pay for it. If you buy manure and other fertilizers made from animal byproducts, you are supporting the cruel and environmentally destructive systems these farms practice, instead of forcing them to deal with the impact of their claustrophobic feedlots and toxic slaughterhouses. Even with organic growers and homeowners buying some of the waste, the runoff from these unsanitary facilities is leaking into fields and poisoning our water and food supply.
It is not only possible, but practical and ethical to truly green our organic growing practices both on a large scale and in our own homes. If you’re interested in banning blood, bone, feces and other animal byproducts from your garden and subsequently your table, youíre in good company.
There are a number of organic growers out there that have gone stock-free, such as Tolhurst Farm in Whitchurch-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire, UK. They have been successfully stock-free for over 10 years now, demonstrating that this practice is definitely viable on a large scale! They aren’t the only ones though; there are a growing number of farms worldwide that are going veganic. For a list of these farms check out the Veganic Agriculture Network. This list is continuing to expand, but some stock-free farms still haven’t joined the network. If you know of a farm practicing veganic agriculture that is not on this list please contact the VAN and let them know.
I know many of the people reading this article believe strongly in organics and sustainable agriculture, as do I. This is why from our home garden plots to the sweeping crops that cover this land, we have the right to raise the standard, stop supporting environmentally destructive and unethical farming practices and go VEGANIC!
Look out for my next post on the animal-derived ingredients to watch out for in your fertilizer and their fabulous vegan-organic alternatives, coming soon!