Free Range Chickens in Northern China

Meizhen Liu, Bingxue Wang as well as Colin Osborne published a paper in January 2013 titled Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency in the PLoS One scientific journal. The group performed an experiment and wrote a paper on the credibility of replacing Grazing sheep in north china with free range chickens. The areas of northern china have been severely overgrazed by sheep and while efforts have been made to restore the degraded grazing land little has been accomplished.

The groups experiment tested whether raising the chickens on the overgrazed areas is a suitable replacement for sheep both economically and whether or not the raising of chickens will help regrow foliage on the overgrazed lands. The findings showed that the grass lands where the chickens grazed showed much greater signs of recovery and plant growth than areas where the sheep grazed, and also yielded a better income for the owners of the pastures than those that raise sheep.

In my opinion all of North China should start implementing free range chickens in their pastures. Not only are the chickens helpful in the recovery of the grass lands but they actually are more economically efficient than raising sheep in the same pasture (Meizhen). On top of this, if the raising of free range chickens started to become popular it may help support Chinas ever growing population and curb the need for factory farming which comes with many negatives.

Liu, Meizhen. “Chicken Farming in Grassland Increases Environmental Sustainability and Economic Efficiency.” PLoS One (2013): n. pag. Print.

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Fish Farm: Friend or Foe?

                Craig Leisher, a writer for the New York Times wrote an article about fish farming entitled Mile Stone Looms for Farm Raised Fish. In the article he details how this year the amount of fish we receive from fish farms will exceed the amount we receive from actual fishing.  Craig goes on to detail that while aquaculture is efficient, it can cause problems for surrounding areas such as oxygen depletion and eutrophication. Personally I am torn on the subject of aquaculture. I can see many possible benefits of aquaculture. Aquaculture can help the growing problem of providing food to an ever growing human population and can help cut down on overfishing by eliminating the need to over fish in general. However, due to the close proximity and large numbers of fish in a fish farm many problems arise. The wastes of the fish which include and are not limited to fish feces and the dead bodies of other fish are for the most part left to float around the farm, causing potential for contamination. Additionally a wide variety of drugs are needed to treat the fish of diseases that come from being in such close proximity to so many fish. (Advocacy For Animals) Personally I don’t know if I want to be eating fish that are grown in such an artificial and unhealthy way, even if it is practical. 

Leisher, Craig. “Milestone Looms for Farm-Raised Fish.” Green Milestone Looms for FarmRaised Fish Comments. N.p., 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

N.A. “Advocacy For Animals.” Advocacy For Animals The Pros and Cons of Fish Farming Comments. N.p.,  4 Aug. 2008. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

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“Pro Pasture Friday”

I believe that the ideas in Chris Hunt’s post to the blog ECO Centric on pertaining to Pro Pasture Friday are a great step forward in fighting factory farmed livestock. Chris Hunt is a blogger for Eco Centric and the senior policy advisor to the GRACE Communications Foundation. In his Blog post, Chris goes into some of the problems associated with industrial meat production, including but not limited to the damage it causes to the environment, the threats to public health it can produce as well as the ways it compromises animal welfare. Chris proposes that once a week on so call “Pro Pasture Friday” that people choose to eat only meat, eggs and dairy products produced by farmers who use sustainable pasture methods in raising their livestock. Personally I feel that this is a great idea. While I understand the negative effects and problems associated with factory farmed meat, I know that if I tried to switch completely off of factory farmed meats I wouldn’t make it a week. However if it was only once a week that I had to really try and focus on eating responsibly raised meat I think I could easily handle it. However, while I believe Chris’s solution is relatively good I would propose we take it one step further and add another day where we completely cut meat out of our diets. While I love meet and there is no way I could ever become a vegetarian, I think I can abstain from the wonder that is meat for one day a week. Having this meatless day would not only cut back on total meat consumed , but a Harvard study showed that not eating meat once a week can decrease your risk of heart disease by 19%. (

Hunt, Chris. “GRACE Communications Foundation.” Web log post. GRACE Communications Foundation. N.p., 8 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

N.A. “Meatless Monday: Cutting Out Meat One Day a Week.” / Nutrition / Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

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