What if human consciousness isn’t the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn’s clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant’s-eye view.


  • In addition, cattle raised on pasture is not more effective, although a lot of cow-calf operations do free range their cattle (look at northern Idaho and Oregon). Finishing cattle on feedlots is a highly effective way to minimize the exposure to various pathogens. Keeping animals infected with Salmonella (for example) sequestered from the rest of the herd decreases the likelihood of them transmitting the pathogen to the rest of the herd. Simple epidemiology.

  • The reasoning of your first sentence if flawed, although intuitively it sounds like it would make sense. You can’t look at all 500 head on a feedlot a lot faster than you can on 500 ha. If any of the cattle are showing ill thrift on a feedlot, you can quickly pull them and put them in a hospital pen for further evaluation. There are very few parasite infections on feedlots. This is due to the tight control measures and LACK of environmental exposure.

  • New animals are quarantined when they first arrive to feedlots. This decreases the chances of spread of non-endemic pathogen. I don’t know if you’ve been our riding fences and know the differences between feedlot and range grown cattle farmers, but they are both extremely intelligent. Believe it or not some of the largest corporations in the animal production business are private businesses that have been farming for decades.

  • As far as manure goes you should read a bit on the USDA site about CAFO, NPDES & the EPA standards of deposition of manure as fertilizer. I hope I replied with “substance,” like I said I can write you a dissertation on nullifying the arguments Pollan brings up. One more thing, the animals you eat via feedlot farms are healthy. It does the producer no good to raise unhealthy animals in an inhumane manner, think about it, the animals are their livelihood.

  • OK 2nd year student. Look, these factory farms are ruining the land, ruining small farms and ruining our health. That’s why former presidential candidate john edwards called for a ban on them. If these factories were responsible for the waste they spewed out into the community they would be devastated financially. If their feed (corn) wasn’t subsidized they would go out of business as well. Take your junk biased science and read a book that’s not from your feedlot university

  • Where are your facts? I read scientifically peer reviewed papers. Have been since I graduated high school in 2002. What “junk biased science” I write from is derived from esteemed individuals in the scientific community. Essentially, individuals who have paid their dues in academia and through at least 8 years of higher education (Doctors). If you don’t want to listen to what individuals like us have to say, then there will be no changing your junk biased ignorance.

  • I only presented my arguments because there is a huge disconnect between the general public and the veterinarians/producers. Look at Prop 2, no veterinarians were involved in its development. This is a common theme across America with various other props. Pollan has a M.S., he is a journalist, not a scientist, or a health care professional. Use your common sense, listen to veterinarians (not me, ask one with a DVM), ask an individual with a PhD, not a journalist that gardens.

  • I noticed you referenced John “ambulance chaser” Edwards. Nice source of legit information. This argument will never concluded because your disillusioned ideals receive his advice with open arms. The man is a lawyer, not a animal producer/veterinarian/animal scientist. As far as you are concerned Pollan craps gold and “factory” farms are WMDs. Learn real facts, I won’t be reading conspiracy theory info anytime soon, I’ll stick to experimental/epidemiology and peer reviewed papers.

  • Except that any esteemed biologist would support the major tenants of biodiversity which Pollan talks about here (in not so many words) in the place of monocropping (or mono-meating) which, while perhaps “efficient” for total throughput, is ecologically unsound, and, in particular, genetically unhealthy. Short term veterinary practices may keep a living stock healthy, but as the genetic pool becomes homogenized it is susceptible to wide spread disease. History agrees.

  • It is true that a lack of biodiversity in the genetic pool leads to an increase in overall disease susceptibility. (i.e. a lack of haplotype diversity in the molecular rearrangements of MHC I and II). However, these animals not only serve as a food source but also as research subjects throughout academia. Therefore the very animals that are becoming susceptible to emerging disease are also being protected with new biotechnology (sometimes applicable to humans).

  • I don’t condone the idea of decreasing biodiversity, and neither do producers. They implement registered programs to ensure that semen/breeding stock come from diverse genetic background. Keep in mind Ramada, we’re not talking about a rainforest/cheetah population; we’re talking about animals within our food production systems. It a lot of cases it is easier to control the quality, production efficiency, and medical Tx of animals that are genetically similar.

  • I believe Darwin did come to use the term survival of the fittest later on. Not to replace natural, but as a modifying factor selection

  • Sorry that fact your cat has health insurance, is because it’s more about you than the cat. You know that you are likely will have the critter treated if ever need be, and are covering your butt financially. Not that I’m saying that’s wrong.

  • that may be so, but a faintly recall something about him speaking out against the popular conception that it is was evolution is in a nutshell. it isn’t.

  • -that fact just isn’t intuitive, so people by and large abandon the bigger picture in favor of a tournament model, which leads to an over-all cultural rigidity, where before weakness could have been accepted as a boundary for directing cultivated growth [in people], now the prevailing attitude is if you don’t start-out the fittest, you’ll never really be especially fit for any conceivable purpose.

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