Shoot the lot

Dear Lord Stern,

Re your suggestion that the whole world should go vegetarian to save the planet.

Why don’t you just shoot all the people?

It would be kinder than letting millions die of starvation which is what would happen if we took your idea seriously.

Yours sincerely



If you don’t like my suggestion you may be interested in:

Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith posts on how Coppenhagen could threaten NZ’s very future.

Farmgirllive who says it’s time to get serious about countering this silliness.

Liberty Scott who says Lord Stern loses the plot some more.

and Fairfacts Media who urges Go on have that extra steak.

18 Responses to Shoot the lot

  1. adamsmith1922 says:

    Well said


  2. murrayg1 says:

    perhaps we could just shoot all those who don’t understand exponential maths, and the finite nature of our one-and-only planet.

    Lord Stern would survive that one.


  3. Tired Farmer says:

    Articles written by people like Robin Grieve make mincemeat of Lord Stern.


  4. […] blogs: Dear Lord […]


  5. Your comment is so counter factual that it is absurd. Growing animal protein, whether meat or dairy, takes vastly more land, water and fertiliser than growing plant protein, or other nutrients. In fact one of the causes of the recent food shortages (apart from conversion of crop land to growing biofuels) was the increased feeding of grains to animal to service growing demand for meat and dairy in emerging middle classes in Asia.

    You may not like them, but that doesn’t make his comments wrong. Read the FAO report from 2006 ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’ if you actually want to engage with some facts.


  6. murrayg1 says:

    He was part of Thatcher’s outfit, wasn’t he?

    Then he thought big picture.

    And worked it out. Every exponentially growing species or activity, falls over in the last ‘doubling period’.

    It has to happen on somebodys’ watch, it’s happening on ours. No surprise – if it’s taken people here by surprise, it’s because you forgot to get informed – or perhaps you thought you were superior to those bringing the message?

    Arguing for a now-past regime just because it happens to suit you, doesn’t make it any more the truth.

    Sorry, I know it doesn’t bring joy, nor does it to me (something folk don’t understand – they seem to think the messengers enjoy the message).

    it’s just that some of us are able to differentiate between reality and wish.

    So too, obviously, can Lord Stern.


  7. […] and others are bothered by Nicholas Stern’s pronouncement that: Meat is a wasteful use of water and […]


  8. cantab says:

    “In fact one of the causes of the recent food shortages (apart from conversion of crop land to growing biofuels) was the increased feeding of grains to animal to service growing demand for meat and dairy in emerging middle classes in Asia.”

    Simply not accurate Nandor, as I said elsewhere, the market place due to relatively few major production shocks in recent times got complacent about an ever decreasing global stockpile of grain, biofuels added to the problem, governments got the jitters and slapped export bans on grain and all of a sudden the marketplace seemed to have a problem. It wasnt due to a sudden increase in grain fed animals, it was a market getting complacent that hadn’t had a fright in a while. I’m a grain farmer, bring back the food shortage I say, I might sell some grain.


  9. homepaddock says:

    Nandor – You appear to be assuming that every hectare which is now used for raising animals could grow food crops. But climate, topography and soils which are fine for growing pastures grazed by stock aren’t suitable for cropping.

    Very little NZ stock is grain fed, most of our meat and dairy produce comes from sheep, cattle and deer which graze pastures.


  10. murrayg1 says:

    You’re right for NZ, HP, but world-wide, no. Grain-fed beef is the US norm. Grain produces more energy/hectare alone, than via cattle.
    I’m a meat eater/lover, but we need to have the debate – food for 9 billion or plan B?
    I don’t think the first is attainable.


  11. gravedodger says:

    Until governments abandon the politically expedient of protecting domestic production at the expense of the most sustainable option we will have manipulated misuse of resources. We in NZ who have produced meat milk and fibre for world markets for over 150 years only to have the economic viability of that production threatened or made impossible by other countries who prop up inefficient systems to ensure their political survival. In my lifetime I have eaten mostly free range meats but enough grain finished beef, poultry and pork (there is now no real option with the latter two) to know that the pasture based product is superior for subtlety of flavor. A very interesting program with Jamie Oliver in UK recently on this fact. I understand that to feed the world we need to adopt some “factory production systems but that the largest economies adopt protectionism for political advantage when a relaxing of such restrictions will allow farmers with more sustainable farming systems to develop their production.


  12. nandor says:

    cantab – it may well be that a declining stockpile contributed, but its a simplistic analysis to blame a single factor – especially complacence. Grain production actually went down, as a result of drought in eg Australia (and we’ll see more of these with climate change), and growing demand for dairy and meat was also a factor despite your easy dismissal.

    see eg…/China%20Industrial%20Aminal%20Ag%20Sp%2009.pdf

    The growing demand for animal protein in China is very well documented – in fact celebrated by the NZ and Australian agricultural sectors. If you think this demand has no effect on feed supply, you need to read some basic economics.

    I’d love to see our NZ grain growers doing really well, and all my best wishes.

    Homepaddock – I’m not assuming anything of the sort. I’m not calling for a global ban on farming animals, I’m agreeing with the FAO that pastoral farming is one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, world wide. I’m echoing Lord Stern in saying that reducing consumption of meat and dairy products, esp in the West, would benefit the planet.

    If people grew crops wherever it was suitable, and only grew animals where it wasn’t, that would be an improvement. The land no longer needed for production could then be left to return to a more natural ecology.


  13. homepaddock says:

    Nandor – the impact of reducing conusmption of meat and dairy products wouldn’t necessarily be better for the environment. It would depend on what they were replaced with and how the replacements were produced.

    If the food supply was reduced because less meat and milk was produced, farmers would have to produce more from crops and would change how they farm to do that.

    It’s more difficult and often more expensive to get enough of the nutrients needed for a healthy diet without meat and dairy products. Reducing the production of animal protein would increase the demand for and price of alternatives.

    There are already far too many people in the world who get too little to eat, making everyone go vegetarian as Lord Stern proposes would make that worse.


  14. nandor says:


    “t would depend on what they were replaced with and how the replacements were produced”

    I largely agree with that.

    “making everyone go vegetarian as Lord Stern proposes…”

    he isn’t proposing this at all. How did you jump from a ethical exhortation to a compulsory dictate?

    “It’s more difficult and often more expensive to get enough of the nutrients needed for a healthy diet without meat and dairy products”

    sorry but that is simply untrue, both now and if meat consumption declined. The study you cited cannot be extrapolated to this outlandish conclusion.

    Given that most industrial meat farming is based on feeding grain to animals (which yields I guess between 10 – 50% of the nutrition) it is pretty obvious that eating this grain directly will feed vastly more people, more cheaply per person. Even for grass fed animals, much of the land it is grown on could more productively (if not more profitably) be used for growing plants. If you did that, I suggest we would already have enough food for everyone. If meat and dairy production was limited to grazing land not suitable for other uses, sure meat might be a valued food for many, but at much lower levels of consumption than at present.


  15. murrayg1 says:

    This is – dare I say it – an energy question. Nandor is right – direct eating of the grain is more efficient.

    Lord Stern simply knows where tha planet is heading, and has a human concern for what he knows will be hungry billions.

    Discussing this with folk who are still in denial that there is a problem at all, is somewhat fristrating.

    Never fear, the cheese got you the Panel today – one of the most sub-standard pireces of ‘reporting’ I think I’ve ever heard fron RNZ – and I’ve listened for 50 years. An MC, two panellists, and a ring-in, all being sanctimonious, and – incidentally – wrong.



  16. murrayg1 says:

    HP – you are right when you say that some land is unsuitable for grain. The problem is bigger than that. It is also needed for trees, and will shortly (look around you) be required for housing too.
    In short, there are too many of us – a classic example of a species in overshoot.
    We wouldn’t need to be having the discussion if there were one billion of us.


  17. homepaddock says:

    Nandor – I’m no fan of feedlots. I prefer the taste of free range meat & the idea of animals grazing outside – even if that’s based on emotion not science.

    But it’s easier, and often cheaper, to get enough protein, iron, B vitamins and calcium from meat & milk than vegetarian alternatives – especially for children.

    Murray – I haven’t sent the cheese yet & I’m quite sure that, delicious as it is, a box of Whitestone isn’t going to buy a particular point of view.


  18. murrayg1 says:

    ha ha, it was tongue in cheek. I’ve just been fromaging myself – makes the merlot go down well.
    It wasn’t the most balanced of programmes though, by a long shot….
    Lord Stern was actually trying to sound a wake-up call- something I’m reasonably familiar with…


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