Sunday, January 27, 2008

Money Changes Everything*

This method of poverty obliteration has been shown over & over to not be the best thing for the poor or for the world.
If cows are like factories, you could say an Ankole is powered by a water wheel, while the Holstein requires a nuclear reactor.

The principle of the “tragedy of the commons,” perhaps the most famous metaphor in ecology, is a cattle parable. It was first described by a 19th-century British economist and popularized by the biologist Garrett Hardin in a 1968 Science magazine essay about human overpopulation. Hardin was trying to refute the view that an unregulated free market invariably produces beneficial outcomes. “Picture a pasture open to all,” Hardin wrote. The benefit of adding a single calf went to each individual farmer, while the cost of adding that calf (the grass it would consume) would be distributed to all pasture users. “Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited,” he wrote. The commons, he predicted, would inevitably be picked clean.

With the introduction of the Holsteins, something similar seems to be happening in Uganda. Farmers aren’t literally increasing the sizes of their herds, but they are creating herds that consume unsustainable amounts of dwindling resources. And something else is being obliterated: genes. Each time a farmer crossbreeds his Ankoles, a little of the country’s stockpile of adaptive traits disappears. It isn’t easy to measure genetic “dilution.” What is evident, however, is that the Ankoles possess much worth saving. For instance, their horns, often seen as ornaments, actually disperse excess body heat.

My emphasis.

Tell me, honestly, which is the way cooler cow? Which one would you rather have in your back yard. Remember, they are both domesticated breeds.

First, the Ankole.

Second, the Holstein.

*Cyndi!, The Son-In-Law's favorite.

1 comment:

Us said...

like nails on a chalkboard to dada!