Conventional meat production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, producing approximately 15% of our greenhouse gasses. There are ways to raise livestock that is less carbon intensive, in fact, those methods may even sequester some carbon, but they take much more space than conventional meat production does. We can’t even produce enough meat for everyone on the planet to eat as much as Americans do using our current methods, we certainly are not going to be able to produce enough meat for everyone using the carbon sequestering methods. If we want to fight climate change, a reduction in the amount of meat Americans typically eat is probably going to be necessary.
In general, there’s an AllOrNothism idea out there that if conventional animal production produces greenhouse gasses, then all animal husbandry should cease immediately. I respectfully disagree. I understand and respect the choice to eliminate some or all animal products from your diet on moral grounds about the rights of animals or the ethics of killing, although I don’t share the same moral concerns myself. But I am skeptical that we can make any kind of food system that’s intended to feed any kind of industrialized society work without any animal inputs at all.
We’ve been keeping quail for over a year now on the Rocking Homestead. It was something we thought we had researched pretty well, but no amount of reading really prepared us for it. Not that it’s been exceedingly difficult, but it was different than expected.
Here are some things we’ve learned so far.