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Ed Driscoll

Time Magazine Focusing on the Important Issues of the Day

April 5th, 2011 - 2:16 pm

In 1969, Time magazine’s Man of the Year was the American Middle Class:

The American dream that they were living was no longer the dream as advertised. They feared that they were beginning to lose their grip on the country. Others seemed to be taking over—the liberals, the radicals, the defiant young, a communications industry that they often believed was lying to them. The Saturday Evening Post folded, but the older world of Norman Rockwell icons was long gone anyway. No one celebrated them: intellectuals dismissed their lore as banality.

Time magazine, today: “Silence the Cows and Save the Planet:”

Since nobody is going to re-engineer the ruminant digestive tract anytime soon, the solutions are limited: stop eating meat or at least eat other kinds. (A 2010 study from the Science and Environment section of the Library of the U.K.’s House of Commons reported that a pair of Australian biologists have recommended eating marsupials instead of livestock, since kangaroos and their kin produce almost no methane when they digest.) But there’s one more answer too: reformulate the diet of the animals themselves. If you change what goes in, you should be able to change what comes out.

That’s the conclusion reached by a just-released DEFRA study, which not only argues that traditional animal feeds must be replaced, but suggests what the new mealtime fare should be. The big three additions to the livestock lunch-line, according to the DEFRA scientists, should be maize silage, naked oats and grasses higher in sugars.

* * *

The farm animals, of course, are aware of none of this, though they may one day wonder — if wondering is something they do — why their favorite foods have been replaced with something else. A cooler — if slightly less comical world — will thank them for their sacrifice.

Or not.

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