Hi my name is Pete Lytton-Hitchins. I was born a country boy and ever since I can remember all I wanted to do was be a sheep and cattle farmer. I remember the first time I killed a kangaroo, the first time I fell off a horse and I used to think all I would ever do was be a sheep and cattle farmer.
With the help of my family over a period of 20 years we own and killed over 100,000 sheep and 10,000 head of cattle.
In 2015 we sold the farm and stopped making money from meat farming. I say the words “meat farming” because when we farm animals we are in the business of producing kilograms of meat for human consumption.
I gave up what I thought was my life long passion. Once I released that eating meat and killing animals was wrong I no longer wanted to make money destroying the planet.
You see farming for meat is the biggest issue facing the health of the planet right now.
The “2016 The State of Food and Agriculture” report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations makes it very clear we are in big trouble and that climate change related to greenhouse emissions is translating into more extreme and frequent weather events, heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels.
Cutting down forests for grazing animals and enteric fermentation are the leading sources of agricultural greenhouse emissions. Enteric fermentation is the process in which livestock produce methane via digestion. Methane is a greenhouse gas that absorbs the suns heat and is a major contributor to the warming temperatures of the planet. Greenhouse emissions will need to cut by 70% to prevent the continuing warming of the planet.
Emissions from Agriculture in 2014 was 10.6 gigatonnes (10.6 billion tons) of carbon dioxide also known as greenhouse gas. The main source of these emissions is deforestation and enteric fermentation
Every time we eat meat we are supporting the destruction of the Amazon. The Amazon once covered 14% of the Earths surface in land, but today it barely covers 6%. It provides 20% of the world’s supply of oxygen and absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide. Over half of all plant and animal life on Earth lives in the Amazon rainforest. It represents 54% of all rainforests left on the planet. Meat farming occupies 90% of the converted forest that are cleared.
Every time we eat meat we destroying land that once grew large trees and forests that maintained a healthy vibrant eco system. Trees are often called the lungs of the planet for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Forests are homes for half the planets wildlife and at least two-thirds of the planets species of plants. Tropical rainforests for example contain over 30 million species of plants and animals
Every time we eat meat the farmers and feedlots that grow it have used huge amounts of land, water, grass, grains, hay and natural resources.
Meat farming is the biggest land user on the planet using one third of the world’s fresh water and crops. Meat farming is the leading cause of land degradation, soil erosion and animal extinctions.
I was a farmer who said he loved his animals, cared for them and gave them a good life. How can you love something that you consistently kill? If you love something, you wouldn’t kill it. The truth is I used animals for personal financial gain.
When you are born into farming you are indoctrinated by family beliefs and inter generations of conditioning to do things a certain way. Often what we see as ‘normal’ skips over the facts of what is truly going on. It takes a lot to want to know the truth about our beautiful planet and how we contribute to its destruction personally.
The science is there, we are all experiencing the changes, seeing the extreme weather events and yet we want to look the other way, justify our actions and make excuses. Our actions are showing us how we truly feel about the planet and the plants and animals we share it with.
Growing and eating meat is not about how much we like animals or need meat for our health and wellbeing. Our bodies do not need meat for our survival. Our bodies thrive on fruit and vegetables. Human health and longevity greatly improves once meat is taken out of the diet.
Eating meat is about addiction and until our attitude changes we will not change.
We eat meat because we want to. This is the reason why no one wants to talk about it. Most people don’t want to give it up.If we blame something else for why our planet is warming then we can keep our addiction to eating meat going and be unaccountable for our actions.
Meat farmers will continue to produce meat while the world demands it. If the demand stopped meat farmers will change what they farm.
Saying the world’s problems are too big to change and that what I do as an individual doesn’t make a difference or wont change anything gives me an excuse. It means I can keep my addictions and keep on eating meat. It means I don’t have to change. I don’t have to be responsible for my own actions.
People are not the problem with the planet. Our planet has plenty of food if the land used for farming domestic animals is rehabilitated back to healthy natural eco systems or used for growing live plant based foods.
Healthy air, running rivers, reliable rainfall and abundant fresh tasty food would become the norm again.
We needed to look after our farmers. Farmers have adapted for thousands of years. Farmers can adapt again and help save the planet.
It wont be farming animals in the future that makes the difference, it will be feeding the soil to feed the intelligent life in the soil that makes the difference. Supporting the microbes, bacteria, fungi and living creatures that live in soil will make the soil we need to feed the worlds population and grow new forests. Our farmers can be involved in making this happen.
We cannot love our planet while we continue to eat meat. Every day she is telling us change is coming whether we like it or not. Every day our planet gets a little bit warmer.
Due to climate change the temperature of our oceans is warming, the ice shelfs in both poles are melting and coral reefs are dying due to these warmer temperatures caused by greenhouse gases.
It is now a possibility that all the coral reefs around the planet will be dead in years to come. These reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor yet support an estimated 25 percent of all known marine species
To stop this rapid climate change we are going to have to give up eating meat.
What will you choose to do?
For me personally it has been extremely difficult to make the change. Going against my rural upbringing and not always knowing how to make the change has been very hard.
What I have learnt about myself is my reasons for why I didn’t want to know the truth are I thought it would be painful and too hard to change. I didn’t want to feel like an outsider, a crazy hippy or one of those weird vegans when people talked about me. I didn’t want to challenge my family and the way I was brought up.
When you have paddocks full of grass and you know you can make heaps of money out of growing meat it’s hard to say, “no enough is enough”. I spent my life learning how to be a good farmer. Show me a sheep or a cow and I can tell you why you should buy it or leave it in the saleyards. I learnt how to be a good meat farmer and gloss it up as Natural and Sustainable.
Giving up something you have done all your life is a very traumatic experience. I gave up eating meat once I felt how wrong it was to kill animals and destroy the planet. I could no longer justify my actions. I was part of the problem.
The Facts and Truth do not lie.
Some Meat Farming related links. I do not endorse them. They do help fill in the picture about what is happening to our planet