Debunking Cowspiracy


I recently took the time to watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix.  The documentary basically makes the case for doing away with animal husbandry because of its environmental impact.  One of the key points the documentary hammers on about is the impact animal husbandry has on global warming.  As many of you may already know, I think “global warming” is a gigantic scam being foisted upon us by scientists who need a bogeyman to pump their public funding.

That said, all the other points the documentary makes about the ecological destruction caused by animal husbandry are spot on.  I HIGHLY recommend people take the time to watch this documentary.  It’s a real eye-opener.  I think the most important point the documentary nails is the amount of water and land usage it takes to raise cattle.  The amount of water consumed is simply mind-blowing. It’s the number one reason why all of our lakes are running dry.  Droughts play a minor role compared to the amount of water that’s being siphoned off to support the meat industry.

The other really important point I wanted to touch on was the amount of subsidies the meat and dairy industry gets from the government.  This is a libertarian themed blog after all, so this particular issue really pisses me off.  The 2014 Farm Bill clocked in at a whopping one trillion dollars – that’s 1/16th of the entire US GDP handed to agribusiness in subsidies.  If meat and dairy producers were not able to externalize costs through subsidies, meat and dairy would be exponentially more expensive than they are right now.  For a detailed breakdown of this issue, be sure to read Meatonomics by David Robinson Simon.

I suspect that simply doing away with these food subsidies would pretty much rectify the bulk of America’s medical and environmental problems.  Medicare is bankrupt, and medical costs are going to keep increasing until people are forced to take responsibility for their own care, which means not getting sick in the first place.

It’s clear from numerous prospective large population studies, along with numerous interventional and randomized control trial studies, that meat and dairy cause cancer. Meat and dairy induce obesity. Meat and dairy clog arteries with high loads of saturated fat.  The incidence of cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, basically every negative health problem you can think of, is lower among people who eat a vegan diet, even when body weight and caloric intake are accounted for.

In the Adventist Health Study, only vegans as a group had ideal body weights and they had the lowest all cause mortality.  If everyone were to eat a vegan diet, the amount of savings in health costs alone would be enough to balance the entire US budget.  Be sure to watch these lectures by Dr. Michael Greger on the latest annual findings in nutrition research, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, where he goes over the evidence to support my claims.

But I digress.  Back to debunking Cowspiracy’s claims of global warming.  Some of you may recall the Climategate incident, where a huge load of hacked climate scientist emails and climate model source code was leaked to the public.  As a software developer, I took the time to carefully go over that source code and the research that accompanied it.  I learned a tremendous amount about how climate science works in the process of going over that code.

Climate science is really more theory than fact.  It’s much like theoretical physics today.  Physicists look at experimental or observational data and then try to wedge what they see into hypothetical models that attempt to explain the observations.  Of course, this doesn’t mean their models represent what is actually occurring, it only means that they made a model that accounts for all the observations that were made.  The validity of the model comes from its predictive power.  If a model fails to make accurate predictions, then it must be wrong.  And by all measures, climate models have consistently failed to predict at every level.

The issues are complex, but the biggest problems revolve around something called historical proxy data and the way present climate data is accumulated and calculated.  Proxy data comes from sources like ice core samples or tree ring growth patterns.  Proxy data is how scientists extrapolate what the temperature must have been like in a given area prior to the advent of thermometers and accurate historical records.

What the proxy data actually shows is a pattern of warming followed by cooling… except there was no measured cooling in the historical temperature data.  This is called the “divergence problem” because proxy temperatures diverge from the recorded thermometer temperatures.  The cause of this divergence has never been explained. In fact, many scientists blame the “divergence problem” on man-made global warming, which creates a circular argument as proof of man made global warming – pretty neat trick hey?  Thus the refrain, “hide the decline” which came about when scientists omitted data from their model that didn’t agree with their preconceived ideas.

What this means is that the proxy data scientists are using in their models is a useless and inaccurate measure of historical temperatures.  Scientists basically read into the proxy data what they want to see, without any scientific basis for their assumptions, and then they omit the data that doesn’t agree with their preconceived ideas, which is how we arrive at the outrageous and inaccurate temperature predictions that are being promoted today.  All of this is documented in painstaking detail on the site WattsUpWithThat.

The second large problem comes from how surface temperatures are measured.  There are basically mini weather stations stuck all over the planet which relay temperature data back to a central source.  The problem with this method is that the environment around these stations is constantly changing.  For example, if an asphalt road is built near a weather station that was previously surrounded by a field, this will raise the temperature readings of the thermometer.  So urban sprawl plays a large, yet unaccounted for, role in surface temperature increases.  There are also problems with how the data is aggregated.  Hypothetical models are employed to smooth the data, and all sorts of statistical trickery can creep into the measurements.

That said, it’s never been proven, nor can it be proven, that increasing temperatures will cause environmental devastation.  It may be that a warmer Earth is a good thing.  We know that plants grow far better when there is more CO2 and the weather is warmer.  In fact, indoor growers often intentionally add CO2 to their greenhouses to boost plant growth.  I mean what’s the purpose of a greenhouse anyways?  To keep plants warm!  Theories that speculate we may be better off are no less valid than those which say we will be worse off, and that assumes we are actually undergoing warming which is debatable in the first place.

Further, more and more evidence is emerging that the Sun and the plasma environment that surrounds Earth is far more important in driving climate change than anything humans could ever do.  Scientists don’t even know what causes lightning for god’s sake!  Yet they think they can predict what the global climate will be decades from now?  Their hubris is utterly shocking.

Cumulus_clouds_in_fair_weatherIt may come as a surprise to many, but modern science has very little to say about most of the weather we observe on a daily basis.  Here are a few quotes to demonstrate what I’m talking about.

“Scientists are still puzzled as to what triggers a spark during a thunderstorm. The latest attempt to answer the question only adds to the intrigue. It seems hard to believe that we still don’t understand what causes lightning during thunderstorms – but that’s a fact.” – BBC’s Phillip Ball

Yep, scientists can’t tell you what causes lightning to form. However, they claim that they can predict what the global climate will be nearly a century from now.

How about tornadoes?

“We don’t know if a particular storm will produce a tornado so the truth is we really don’t know what causes a tornado. We do know the necessary conditions needed for tornado formation. ” – Steven A. Ackerman and Jonathan Martin, professors in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison.

And what about clouds?

Climatologists are remarkably mum on the subject of clouds.  While they have plenty of theories about cloud formation, virtually none of them address why clouds appear as they do.  Obviously an attractive and repulsive force is necessary for the water droplets in a cloud to stick together cohesively the way they do.  There is only one obvious force that meets this requirement, and it’s not dark matter.

A few scientists have seen the light, or should I say charge?  A recent study by Giles Harrison and Maarten Ambaum, from the University of Reading, found that the electrical connection between Earth and its surrounding electrified plasma environment may play a much larger role in driving Earth’s weather than anyone previously realized. “Particularly interesting is the possibility that space weather changes could affect weather in the lower atmosphere, ” Harrison notes in a recent PhysicsWorld article.

“The realization that the electrical heartbeat of the planet plays a role in the formation of layer clouds indicates that existing models for clouds and climate are still missing potentially important components,” adds Ambaum. “Understanding these missing elements is crucial to improve the accuracy of our weather forecasts and predicting changes to our climate.”

The Earth’s weather is obviously highly electrical.  From lighting storms to cloud cohesion, the electrical forces of weather are on display for all to see.  However, the vast majority of climate scientists want nothing to do with electricity.  Electricity screws up their models and injects a climate driver that they can’t model nor predict.  Harrison should be nominated for “Understatement of the Year” with his comment.

In fact, Harrison and Ambaum aren’t the only climatologists to see a connection between Earth’s weather and space.  Looking at hurricanes, a recent study by N.V. Isaev et al, noted that, “In some cases the ‘typhoon eye’ is formed over the tropical depression zone in the ionosphere, that is, the region with sharply decreased plasma density and pressure is observed a day and more prior to the moment when it happens in the atmosphere.”  The ionosphere is a region of electrified plasma on the edge of space that surrounds the planet.

Professor Gerald Pollack, University of Washington, has presented findings that demonstrate the water molecule has some amazing electrical properties that science is only now starting to uncover.  Pollack’s lecture will blow your hair back.  For example, I bet you didn’t know you that you can create a battery using water and piece of polymer. You can view Pollack’s presentation here:  part 1, part 2

Pollacks’ work with water casts some serious doubt on the climate models presently held up as gospel by the academic community.  Pollack contends that the like-likes-like electrical properties of water create a colloid crystal structure in clouds, giving them the cohesive shapes we observe.  The science he presents to back his case is nothing short of stunning.  If you’ve ever wondered why clouds are puff-balls with defined edges instead of diffuse blobs, there’s your answer.

Bill Nichols, a scientist for the National Weather Service, also has some serious issues with current theories of weather and climate that fail to incorporate the electrical nature of Earth’s solar environment into their models.  Quoting Nichols, “the present model suck.”  Nichols contends that the majority of Earth’s weather is electrically driven, and the space surrounding the Earth plays a large role in that process.

Nichols notes that weather formations can appear homogeneously out of nowhere, with no thermodynamic drivers, other than the Sun. This obviously indicates a strong correlation between weather and the Sun that goes ignored in climate models, but fits very well with Pollack’s findings about water.

Further, Nichols talks about the dozen or more atmospheric and oceanic oscillations that have been identified.  Of particular interest is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.  Contrary to Wiki’s claims, this oscillation is poorly explained by “tropical forcing and extra-tropical processes.”  This oscillation of temperature is statistically perfect across the entire Pacific ocean over the time frame of decades.  There’s just no possible way that can be explained by local thermodynamic drivers.  I’ll bet my bottom dollar that we see a matching oscillation taking place in the ionosphere. The data shows that the atmosphere goes with or leads the changes in the oceans, discounting the oceans as being primary drivers of weather and climate, as our climate models assume today.

To demonstrate just how out of touch our present weather science is with the rest of the physics world, Wikipedia claims that, “Electromagnetics and lightning have little or nothing to do directly with what drives tornadoes.”  As Pollack demonstrated, electromagnetic forces have virtually everything to do with clouds and their formation, so saying that electromagnetics play no role in tornado evolution is just flat out wrong. It’s also worth noting that dusty plasmas can naturally create vortex formations.  Plasma vortex formations appear everywhere we look in space, yet this simple electrical explanation for tornadoes remains ignored. Plasma vortexes have been identified in the Earth’s magnetosphere, on Saturn, on Venus, on Mars, etc.. etc.. etc..

The interesting thing about the Mars tornadoes is that Mars has virtually no atmosphere; certainly not enough to produce any kind of wind capable of moving dust or debris, yet clearly the Martian atmosphere is capable of moving huge volumes of debris.  The only explanation that makes sense is an electric discharge. An F3 tornado force wind on Mars is about the equivalent of a 20 mph gust of wind on Earth.  The debris must be charged dust grains and the “wind” must be caused by electric forces.  There are no thermodynamic drivers of note to power such raging dust storms. Dust storms on Mars can cover the entire planet – scientists who believe that thermodynamic drivers are solely responsible for that are delusional.

Another recent Thunderbolts article points out that tornadoes have been observed to electrically discharge.  I’m not talking about lightning, I’m talking about the entire column of air lighting up with the intensity of an arc-welder, causing near blindness in the people who observed it from thousands of feet away.  There are also reports from people who have survived being run over by a tornado that the interior column is lit up like a neon sign. Don’t believe me?  I was able to find an example of a discharging tornado on YouTube (video no longer available, screenshot below).

The event was so strange that it was filed under UFO conspiracy junk – but remember,  “Electromagnetics and lightning have little or nothing to do directly with what drives tornadoes” – so sayeth our great Wiki Overlords.  Learn more about the electric nature of tornadoes here.


If scientists can’t explain what causes lightning or tornadoes, how is it possible that they can model the climate?  They MUST be missing a big piece of the puzzle here.  I haven’t even touched on upper-atmospheric lightning, which is completely ignored by climatologists.  This lightning can stretch right to the edge of space.  Wiki notes that, “The global rate of TLE [upper-atmospheric lightning] occurrence has been estimated from satellite (FORMOSAT-2) observations to be several million events per year.”  This lightning shows that there is a direct connection between space and weather events occurring on the surface.

The Earth is a globe immersed in an ever changing sea of charged particles.  Given the proven electrical nature of Earth’s weather, it seems illogical to conclude the weather we experience on Earth is primarily driven by local Newtonian forces of pressure, confined to our lower atmosphere. It seems much more likely to me that the Sun, and the sea of plasma we are immersed in, are the dominant drivers of weather and climate here on planet Earth.  A growing number of scientists agree.

A little update: It looks like I was correct with my guess.  Here’s a paper showing that records of the aurora match the decadal oscillations:

We show that a harmonic constituent model based on the major astronomical frequencies revealed in the aurora records and deduced from the natural gravitational oscillations of the solar system is able to forecast with a reasonable accuracy the decadal and multidecadal temperature oscillations from 1950 to 2010 using the temperature data before 1950, and vice versa.

I didn’t know this paper existed at the time I wrote the article, but when you view things through the framework of the Electric Universe, it makes it easy to know where to look.

Dr. Nicola Scafetta, Duke University, has made some major contributions to this area of research.  There are several more papers available on his page that demonstrate the same kind of effect.

Dr. Scafetta writes (DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005),

We show that the IPCC GCM’s claim that all warming observed from 1970 to 2000 has been anthropogenically induced is erroneous because of the GCM failure in reconstructing the quasi 20-year and 60-year climatic cycles…

…The results of this paper reinforce previous claims that the relevant physical mechanisms that explain the detected climatic cycles are still missing in the current GCMs and that climate variations at the multidecadal scales are astronomically induced and, in first approximation, can be forecast.

Thanks for proving my point Dr. Scafetta.  If I ever meet you in person, I’ll have to buy you a beer.

So there you have it folks. Man made global warming is a pseudo-scientific theory at best, and a complete scam at worst.  There’s plenty of reasons to be skeptical about global warming, not the least of which is that temperatures have declined or remained flat as CO2 has increased.

Of course, we are still facing numerous and serious environmental problems, many of which were accurately detailed in Cowspiracy, which is why I still highly recommend watching it. We need to focus on the problems that we can fix.  If all of us who proclaim to be environmentalists followed the advice given in Cowspiracy, we would solve all of our environmental and budgetary problems overnight.   I give it 5 stars, and that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t even believe in man made global warming.

Be sure to watch the follow up to Cowspiracy called What The Health!

  • disqus_r6OBYmOoTV

    In this article you seem to focus almost exclusively on the ambiguity
    of global warming without seeing that the world’s sustainability issues
    extend far beyond temperature increases and emissions alone.

    What about the agricultural impact on deforestation and desertification ?
    How about Over fishing , and the acidification of the oceans?

    As for when you mention that the additional c02 is a good thing for plants
    and maybe the planet,which is a huge oversimplification please see this
    link for further information .There may also be some other reading on
    that site both you and readers should follow up with before making any
    conclusions. There’s a bit of an issue in trying to claim anything as
    psuedoscience without actually using any scientific citations to back
    your claims and arguments.

    “An argument made by those who prefer to see a bright side to climate change is that carbon dioxide (CO2)
    being released by the burning of fossil fuels is actually good for the
    environment. This conjecture is based on simple and appealing logic: if
    plants need CO2
    for their growth, then more of it should be better. We should expect
    our crops to become more abundant and our flowers to grow taller and
    bloom brighter.

    It is possible to boost growth of some plants with extra CO2,
    under controlled conditions inside of greenhouses. Based on this,
    ‘skeptics’ make their claims of benefical botanical effects in the
    world at large. Such claims fail to take into account that increasing
    the availability of one substance that plants need requires other supply
    changes for benefits to accrue. It also fails to take into account
    that a warmer earth will see an increase in deserts and other arid
    lands, reducing the area available for crops.”

    • I didn’t focus on them because I agree with the movie’s assessment of them and I agree with the movie’s recommendations on what we should do to prevent them. Perhaps you didn’t read the whole article or didn’t understand what I wrote.

      As for this statement: “Such claims fail to take into account that increasing
      the availability of one substance that plants need requires other supply
      changes for benefits to accrue. It also fails to take into account
      that a warmer earth will see an increase in deserts and other arid
      lands, reducing the area available for crops.”

      It’s a theory, not a proven fact, that we will see increased desertification should the Earth undergo global warming. I suspect that if the Earth did actually undergo warming, we would see more tropical zones, not more desert zones. The oceans would regulate the increase in temperature by increasing evaporation. This would add more moisture to the air causing more rainfall. That’s my theory at least, and it’s just as valid as the alternative. Theories are not fact.

      • disqus_r6OBYmOoTV

        “I didn’t focus on them because I agree with the movie’s assessment of them and I agree with the movie’s recommendations on what we should do to prevent them. Perhaps you didn’t read the whole article or didn’t
        understand what I wrote.”

        Maybe you should consider altering the title if you were only ‘debunking’ certain aspects within the film and not the whole. Or perhaps that last paragraph (which i admittedly didn’t see until after my first post) should be placed nearer the beginning.

        You say > “It’s a theory, not a proven fact, that we will see increased desertification should the Earth undergo global warming. I suspect that if the Earth did actually undergo warming, we would see more tropical zones, not more desert zones. The oceans would regulate the increase in temperature by increasing evaporation. This would add more moisture the the air causing more rainfall. That’s my theory at least, and it’s
        just as valid as the alternative. Theories are not fact.”

        Yes theories are not facts, but some are based on more sound reasonings and come from the mouths of those who research these things with much more scientific rigor than we’re discussing. Not all theories are as valid as the next. If that were the case, you could say anything vaguely scientific sounding and expect people to believe it on the merit you have given it the label of ‘theory’.

        When speaking about desertification ,deforestation or reforestation you have to take into account that what happens in one region is entirely different to what happens elsewhere. T
        The environment is a non-linear system, remember.

        Yes ,some areas will become wetter and hence more tropical, but you need to understand that short term effects localized in certain regions do not equate to the effects felt globally. Regions which are already too wet, will not benefit from becoming wetter. Regions which are already too dry will not benefit from becoming dryer. Everything in balance, homeostasis etc
        Add humans to the mix , and well…

        You say that the oceans would regulate the temperature increase by increasing evaporation, but you have to consider how increasingly acidic the resulting rain becomes, which in turn contributes to soil degradation among many other chain-reactive factors.

        Desertification isn’t something that’s theorized to increase at a later date either, we’re already seeing it.

        • I don’t believe the desertification that’s taking place in some parts of the world is related to global warming. I don’t believe that because, as you can see from the satellite data, there has been no global warming for the past 18 years, yet we’ve seen some deserts grow in size during that time frame.

          Further, since we don’t understand clouds very well or what drives them, it would be presumptuous to say the lack of rainfall in those certain areas is due to human activity.

          • sam

            id like the name of the satellite that told you that. NASA’s satellites do not agree with your claim.

          • A link to the data is in the article.

          • sam
          • sam

            maybe you fell victim to the corporate think tank data that people can pay to put out to throw off the public. I hope you dont believe everything you read on the internet, Think tanks are beginning to falsify a lot of things to throw off a lot of big issues to one side or the other.

          • countpennies

            I might just be stupid, but how are the (poorly understood) relative rates various icing processes of antarctic geography related to desertification?

      • sam

        were already seeing desertification dude, stop ignoring the data being put out TODAY.

        • American citizen for democracy

          Yeah…cow’s caused the Sahara to form.

      • Matthew Montoya

        Statements you make, like “theories are not facts,” are incorrect. People not familiar with science say these things. Theories are abstract explanations of an unobservable phenomena that provide predictions of reality, which are provable with experiments based in reality. That is to say theories explain something that there is no way to actually observe. Just because something is not observable, doesn’t make it less factual or real. If we make predictions of outcomes of experiments based on a theory that are correct, the theory is proven to be true. Some theories are correct, some are not. So something being a theory doesn’t make it “not facts.” If a theory is proven to be correct from experiments, it is factual. period. Man made Global warming has been proven by experiment and prediction.

  • disqus_r6OBYmOoTV

    “We are in familiar territory in addressing problems by attacking
    their isolable, direct causes. That again is the mentality of war – end
    crime by deterring the perpetrators, end evil by dominating the
    evil-doers. End drug abuse by banning drugs. Stop terrorism by killing
    the terrorists. But the world is more complicated than that. As the war
    on crime, the war on drugs, the war on weeds, the war on terrorism, and
    the war on germs show us, causation is usually not linear. Crime, drugs,
    weeds, terrorism, and germs might be symptoms of a deeper, systemic
    disharmony. Poor soil invites weeds. A run-down body offers a salubrious
    environment for germs. Poverty breeds crime. Imperialism breeds violent
    resistance. Alienation, hopelessness, loss of meaning, and
    disintegration of community foster drug addiction.

    Climate change is like these.

    Earth is a complex living system whose homeostatic maintenance
    depends on the robust interaction of every living and non-living
    subsystem. I suspect that the biggest threat is not greenhouse gases,
    but the loss of forests, wetlands, and marine ecosystems. Life maintains
    life. When these homeostatic relationships break down, the results are
    unpredictable: global warming, perhaps, or global cooling, or the
    increasingly unstable gyrations of a system spinning out of control.
    This is the threat we face, and because it is multifactorial and
    nonlinear, it cannot be addressed by linear strategies for reducing CO2
    emissions. Yes, we should reduce direct CO2 emissions – the loss of
    homeostatic equilibrium is worsened by increasing the energy throughput
    in a dissipative system – but primary emphasis must go to the health of
    human and natural systems on every level, down to the local and the

    You might find this article interesting. It focuses on the larger
    picture of climate change and is sympathetic to the idea that perhaps
    co2 emissions alone are not the be-all-and-all of climate change and

  • joe

    You lost me after the “Global Warming is a Hoax” comment. Which is too bad too because I was really hoping to read a good debunking article. Unfortunately this isn’t it.

  • dsaulw

    I did not realize that the agricultural subsidies were so astronomical. Yes, they should be eliminated, but we might find that the food prices go up less than expected, if such a change forces producers to become more efficient and ecological in their utilization of resources. And that would be a good thing as well.

    Poor health is really only part of the problem with our country’s runaway health care costs. Probably the majority of it is due to the government interventions that have destroyed the market forces that would otherwise operate in that realm. There is no reason that many conditions, including dreaded ones such as cancer, should not be affordable to treat. We only think that these types of things are inherently expensive because our system has so thoroughly made them so.

  • sam

    Do the math idiot – scientists hit every nail on the head n this documentary, but global warming is still a scam? You’re a moron!

    What you did was dodge the entirety of your ideologies demise, you ignore a fact that has been displayed to you by the people reading the data. You have failed to acknowledge one of the most important facts in science today and write it off as a public funding gimmick. What a joke!

    NOx = 8% of all emissions
    CO2 = 60% of all emissions

    NOx (nitric oxide) is atleast … at the very bare minimum … 270 times as problematic as CO2

    Dont you find it suspicious that all we hear about is CO2 when the real problem is that NOx accounts for 36 times the damage of all CO2 emissions combined?

    Heres the math:
    1 unit of damage in my model = damage of 1% of emissions in CO2
    60% of CO2 emissions = 60 units of destruction.
    8% NOx emissions = 8% of CO2 emissions by quantity
    8% * 270 damage difference between CO2 and NO2 = 2160 units of destruction

    60% of emissions are CO2, they only impact the environments warming for 60 units of climate warming.
    8% of NOx emissions impact the environment for 2160 times the impact of 1% of CO2.
    8% NOx emissions are 36 times as bad as 60% CO2 emissions because 2160/60=36

    Knowing this and the fact that there are literally millions of cows producing NOx, its hard to imagine that what the scientists are saying is a lie.

    Take the time and do the math, run through it in your head. You will prove yourself wrong if you hypothesize global warming to be false, because DATA DOES NOT LIE.

    • There is no warming detected in RSS satellite data. If NO2 or CO2 were such a big problem, the temperature increases should be obvious. You’re right, the data does not lie. That’s why I don’t believe in man made global warming.

  • countpennies

    yea thank you for having a reasonable sounding perspective, so much so that I felt comfortable trusting you and not reading past even paragraph 2!

    But I did have time to ctrl-f “buffalo” which reaffirmed my notion that as yet, almost no people have realized that there used to be 500 million buffalo across north america. The GHG effect described in the movie that you distrust, is fake as you believe, because these livestock are at best replacing (probably not completely…) the carbon loading on the atmosphere provided by their formerly populous cousins. There is an obscure yahoo groups answer from years ago roughly calculating that buffalo in the past account for a similar amount of greenhouse effect as ruminant livestock today. Why I have only seen this information there? I don’t know, but it seems obvious since the buffalo were buffalo and actually there in these numbers.

    And of course, the horrible and brutal destructive elements of modern society in the movie do seem to be spot on and terrifying.

    • Murray

      I think there were only about 30-75 million bison in North America before the slaughter. Cowspiracy quotes about 70 billion food animals and 7 billion people on the planet representing a huge biomass compared to the natural system biomass. The carrying capacity for humans and food animals is much higher than for natural systems. The paper sited by Cowspiracy shows that total terrestrial biomass has gone up from about 58 Mt C (million tons dry weight) in 1900 to 180 Mt C in 2000. Total wild terrrestrial biomass in 1900 was 10 MtC and 5 MtC in 2000. Humans and agricultural animals represented over 97% of all terrestrial animal biomass in 2000.

      I suspect there are more animal farts now than in the time of the peak populations of the bison in North America. It would be interesting to have data from the 1700 and 1800s.


      • *<3 cows

        And as the biomass rises the amount of carbon we can sequester rises with it……no?

  • Joseph Smith

    Another person that makes up stats about farm subsidies?
    And watches a movie that is the same propaganda as Super Size Me and Bowling For Columbine?

    Are we supposed to take anything serious after the first paragraph?

  • Kacey

    If you are going to do a fact check, you probably should have your facts correct. Of the nearly $972 billion dollar Farm Bill, $786 billion goes to welfare- food stamps and nutrition programs. Another $89 billion is insurance (must be purchased), $56 billion to conservation programs and only $44 billion to commodities to keep food prices affordable. Sorry to burst your bubble, but farmers aren’t getting rich on government handouts.

    • When I see statements like yours, I just have to shake my head in disgust with our current education system. Do any of my readers wish to explain to Kacey here why food stamps and crop insurance are direct subsidies to agribusiness, or do I have to do it myself?

      • Kacey

        Enlighten me

        • What do you think the vast majority of EBT funds are spent on? Heads of broccoli and cabbage? How about fresh apples, rice and dried beans? Or how about prepackaged corporate junk food and TV dinners? How about fried garbage and processed meat?

          EBT funds may only be spent on agribusiness products, and the vast majority of products purchased are processed foods made by a handful of mega farms like ConAgra. The ultimate beneficiaries of EBT funds are mega agribusinesses, who lobby heavily each year to ensure those EBT funds remain flowing.

          EBT funds act in the exact same way subsidized student loans act on tuition prices. Without the subsidies, colleges would be forced to reduce tuition prices and slash administrative bloat. No bank in their right mind would loan a student 50,000 dollars to get a degree in theater or sociology or some other bullshit degree that has absolutely no chance of ever earning enough money to justify the cost of tuition.

          The same is true of EBT subsidies on food prices. Agribusiness would be forced to slash costs on food and the amount of processed junk food being purchased would drop significantly. Processed food obviously costs more than whole food because it has been processed. Food processing ain’t free. Poor people aren’t starving, in fact they are the exact opposite of starving. Poor people are far more likely to be obese because of all the processed shit the government is enabling them to buy with the EBT program.

          Eliminating the EBT program wouldn’t just lower food prices substantially, it would also massively reduce medicaid expenses dramatically, because diet is the leading cause of disease in America today.

          • Kacey

            Thank you for that lesson. Now, as disgusted as you are by my lack of education, I would like to point out how misleading your paragraph about farm subsidies is. You mention that you wanted to touch on the amount of subsidies the meat and dairy industry gets from the government, but you never give a number. In the next breath you talk about the one trillion dollar farm bill (only slightly overestimated by $28 billion -whatever, it’s pocket change) that is handed to agribusiness in subsidies. You say that if meat and dairy producers were not able to externalize costs through subsidies, meat and dairy would be exponentially more expensive. So an average, uneducated person such as me would be led to believe that beef rancher Joe and his milk slinging buddies are raking in a cool trillion dollars of the poor tax payers’ money. It worked! As one reader commented, “I had no idea agricultural subsidies a were so astronomical”. The farm bill was put in place for a good reason at its inception, but it is just like any other government program, it has become more and more corrupted over the years. I was simply trying to point out that of that $972 billion, the majority does not get handed out like candy to the average agriculturalists, and certainly not to mom and pop ranchers and farmers. By the way, you never did give that “amount” you were talking about, but rather redirect readers to meatonomics. This article refers to the check off system, that is a completely separate issue from the farm bill, (and don’t get me started on the mandatory check off!). Now if you want to go after the big guys, the largest 10 percent of corn and soy producers and accuse them of lining their pockets with dirty cash from junk food, go right ahead. You have no argument from me. If you want to say that the price of beef is directly related to subsidized corn and soy, sure, you’re right. But all the little cattlemen can do is ride the waves of price fluctuations, while the government plays with the big boys. If the EBT recipients are filling their guts with junk food, so be it. It’s not cattle ranchers that are telling them to buy corn chips, hot dogs and cola over lean cuts of beef. Cut the farm bill? Sure!! It won’t effect your average meat and dairy producer nearly as hard as the big factory farms. In fact, it may help the little guys (Unless there a drought, or a natural disaster, or if Las Vegas takes all our water, *sigh*). Anyway, please don’t lump ALL agriculturalists into the same category as those that only survive by exploiting government systems. But what do I know. I’m just the product of our corrupt public school system.

          • They get nearly all of it. The vast bulk of products that are purchased with EBT funds contain animal products. Virtually any processed food you can think of contains animal products, from ranch dressing to Doritos, if it has a label on it, chances are high that it has animal products in it.

          • Kacey

            So, what you are saying is that meat and dairy producers directly get “most” of farm subsidies? Reason being that processed food contains animal by products? Cattle producers are raising the cost of beef because we know people will pay for it in their……Doritos?
            Ok, let’s compare laptops to Doritos, it’s a stretch for me but you brought it up, so I’ll go with that. What they have in common is that they are made of many components. If the end product cost is raised because welfare recipients are paid to buy the product, what we need to do is take a look at who benefits from that? If the laptop is made of 90% plastics and 10% metals, does the miner of the metal profit most from that? Now let’s talk about Doritos since you mentioned it. If animal byproducts make up 1% of the Dorito, does the animal or dairy producer benefit most? In all honesty, that would be a difficult number to measure. But here are some more easily measured numbers:
            From 1995-2012
            62 percent of all farms in United States did NOT collect subsidy payments, which means that only 38% of ALL US farms received subsidies from 1995-2012
            The Top 10%: $32,043 average per year
            Bottom 80%: $604 average per year
            So 10% of those got 75% of the subsidies.
            The top 4 subsidized crops were rice, cotton, soybeans and wheat
            Typical livestock diets do not contain rice, and to my knowledge, cows don’t wear cotton. Which leaves wheat and soybeans, of which 10% of US grown wheat is fed to livestock
            75 % of soy By-Products are used for poultry and swine.
            So even if CATTLE producers are collecting subsidies, they would be in the bottom 80% of 38% of farms, leaving them on average $604 per farm. Do you know how much hay or corn $604 buys? Typically not even enough to compensated for wildlife that you, the public owns, that we feed too. So please tell me again how beef and dairy producers are getting “most” of the subsidies?

          • I have no idea where you’re getting those absurd numbers from, just to point out one example, the most subsidized crop in the US is actually corn. That’s because not only does it get direct ag subsidies, it also gets energy subsidies in the course of ethanol fuel mandates.

            You’re an idiot. Seriously. You’re stupid. Stop wasting my time.

          • Paul


            Kacey’s reference – I do not understand the debate here since both of you guys are arguing on the same conclusion? – and why is Kacey scared of just putting her reference up for show? copy and paste…

            You’re not wasting your time Michael, it’ll lead readers to figure out what the debate is going on about. But as noted above is the article that Kacey is referring to, although I find the article and what Michael is saying to be somewhat identical.

            Summary – agribusiness(Rich guys/founders owning agriculture in US) lobbies millions of $$$ to congress and political campaigns to keep their happy life afloat. By doing so, they have the power to eat a nice chunk of tax payers money, because they have political power due to their huge chunk of $$$ in their pockets and they’re solely responsible in putting those in power to power. (Excuse my summary for dummies version :P)

            Logically, if investing 1 billion dollars gives me 300 billion dollars back, I’d do it… and that’s what the agribusiness people are doing, and they’re so heavily influence in politics and established such a stronghold in their business, it’s like they make drug lords look like a start-up business that just posted on kickstarter; or by the time people figure out how lightning works, agribusiness already own a time machine to travel to the future to buy themselves a lightning gun that makes slaughtering livestock much more efficient and profitable. (Too much ? ) 😛

          • Kacey

            I was not scared to site my source, it was an oversight on my part (probably because I’m an idiot)
            I still have not seen numbers from Michael, sourced or not. And I was actually agreeing with what Michael said about the biggest business getting most of the $$$. But they produce the most, so this makes sense. My point in posting to begin with was the misleading statement about the farm bill, and that the average family farm livestock and dairy producers are lumped into the argument along with biggest agribusiness getting the most payments. I left the corn out of the top numbers simply because ethanol subsidies are no longer in the Farm Bill, and those payments go to the producer of the ethanol, not the farmer. (These subsidies are now under a renewable energy bill, which should make the global conservationists happy). But this does effect the price that livestock producers pay for corn, leading us to look for cheaper input costs. Maybe Michael missed the part where most of the feed he is referring to are by-products? Which means that livestock get the leftovers unfit for human consumption after the main product goes into human use. If you read back, I said CUT crop subsidies and see what happens. Maybe since Micheal is the smart one, he can inform his readers about cost of raising a pound of beef, vs the cost a producer gets paid per pound. I would do it, but I’m a stupid fat-cat farmer who doesn’t have time. I must go check the mailbox for my government check!! (Right after I get home from my lobbying trip).

          • *<3 cows

            Do you know what the average corn, dairy, or beef margin is currently?

          • *<3 cows

            If we stop financially assiting people in poverty on their food purchases reduce food prices and eliminate disease………or it would leave people starving. Either way god forbid money goes into the agriculture sector aka the backbone of our country.

          • If there is one problem this country does not have, it’s starving poor people. They should set BMI requirements for food stamp assistance. Poor people are keeling over dead of heart disease and obesity related disease at an absolutely fantastic rate. Much higher than the middle to upper class are.

          • Kacey

            Some information you might find interesting regarding the 2014 farm bill

            *funding for the organic certification cost-share program increase from $22 million to $57.5 million
            *increased funding levels for specialty crops by 55 percent to about $4 billion over 10 years
            *Allows SNAP recipients to use benefits at Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) ventures, and provides farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer marketing outlets with equipment that can accept SNAP benefits.
            *National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program is now funded at $11.5 million annually, up from just over $5 million annually
            *$100 million for Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
            *$100 million In matching funds to organizations that provide food in communities for projects that encourage SNAP recipients to purchase fruits and vegetables by reducing their cost.
            *exempts organic producers from having to pay into conventional checkoffs, and to allow the organic sector as a whole to establish a checkoff program if so desired.
            *$600 million in mandatory research dollars to support specialty crops, organic agriculture, and beginning farmers.
            *Pollinator research is expanded to include health and population surveillance and a broader definition of pollinator disorders.
            *wood quality improvement, new products and renewable energy, management of timberlands, and “green products” from forest products.
            *supports projects at Land Grant institutions and Federal intramural research facilities

            Source: H.R.2642 — Agricultural Act of 2014


  • *<3 cows Cowspiracy did a good job finding numbers that makes animal agriculture look scary, what it did a bad job doing is telling you why those numbers matter.

  • Trypt

    Water is a renewable resource, there is enough water just in the smallest of the great lakes for every human on the planet to drink for a thousand years. It’s energy that is the problem, the energy needed to get the water to people, the energy needed to clean the water etc. Get it together people.

    • Well that’s kind of true. The problem is more nuanced though. How do you propose getting the water in the Great Lakes to irrigate the crops in southern California? Fresh water is a scarce resource. In some places it is abundant, in others it is hard to come by.

      Free energy is coming. We will see fuel-free clean energy generators in mass production by the end of 2017.

      • Trypt

        Like I said, energy and transportation are a problem, it is the same with food. And wealth for that matter. It has always been lack of technology and imagination when it comes to the global problems. They shouldn’t even be problems at all, we need to figure out the logistics and technologies to make distribution of food, water and whatever else efficient. We must be the least efficient beings anywhere, the way we waste (and no, I’m not talking about recycling, but mostly the false economic and goods cycle). Water? I’m Canadian from Lake Ontario region, I’ve been saying to get pipelines through middle America down to the deserts, or get into desalination. Where there’s a will, there is a way, in this case all is needed is a little will.

  • “The amount of water consumed is simply mind-blowing. It’s the number one reason why all of our lakes are running dry.”

    That’s nonsense. The water is not consumed. It is drunk, some of it turns to milk, some if to sweat, some of it to meat/cells, most of it to urine. Lakes are not running dry because of animals, unless they pee in a different watershed from where they drink.

    • The water isn’t drunk, it’s used to irrigate vast fields of soy and corn that are then fed to the cows or dumped into our gas tanks. If you’re going to criticize the movie, at least watch it first.

      • That water doesn’t disappear either – just turns into sugar, which the consumer animals turn back into water.

  • BlueBest

    It’s amazing how ignorant you are.

    Let me make global warming real simple for you:

    (1) If global warming IS caused by humans, it’s a damn good thing we’re making positive environmental change to attempt to reverse it.

    (2) If global warming IS NOT caused by humans, it’s STILL a good thing we’re making positive environmental changes to attempt to reverse it.

    Either way, the planet wins. Stop being such a selfish prick.

    • Great rebuttal bro. You know who’s selfish? The people who are squandering all the resources that could have gone to feeding homeless African children, but instead are being dumped into unnecessary CO2 scrubbers.

  • Warren Clark

    Regardless of the fact that animal farming produces far more green house gases than cars, needlessly killing a sentient being when we have technology to produce far more economically lucrative alternatives is just plain ignorant and arguably immoral for a industrialized civilization.

    Your clear personal qualms with scientists makes your article hard to read. I will be the first to admit that there are scientists you use tricks to make a game out of publishing papers with no substantial facts but that does not account for the majority of published research papers.

    Climate Change is inevitable whether we are causing it to occur faster or not. That does not mean we should ignore the fact that animal farming is a grotesque blight in a developed world.

    • LOL

      Personal qualms?

      Please quote the parts of the article that constitute a “clear personal qualm” with specific scientists.

      Just because you don’t like what I have to say doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

      • Warren Clark

        ” I think “global warming” is a gigantic scam being foisted upon us by scientists who need a bogeyman to pump their public funding.”

        ” As a software developer, I took the time to carefully go over that source code and the research that accompanied it. I learned a tremendous amount about how climate science works in the process of going over that code.

        Climate science is really more theory than fact. It’s much like theoretical physics today. Physicists look at experimental or observational data and then try to wedge what they see into hypothetical models that attempt to explain the observations. Of course, this doesn’t mean their models represent what is actually occurring, it only means that they made a model that accounts for all the observations that were made. The validity of the model comes from its predictive power. If a model fails to make accurate predictions, then it must be wrong. And by all measures, climate models have consistently failed to predict at every level.”

        You have failed to support your thesis. You clearly do not know what you are talking about when it comes to theoretical physics or the models that are created as a result. You should first gain a basic understanding of what you are talking about before you make outrageous claims. A few failed models does not make all models and science regarding said observations “hypothetical”.

        You need to first understand the difference between a hypothesis and a theory. You have not provided anything but circumstantial “evidence”.

        “That said, it’s never been proven, nor can it be proven, that increasing temperatures will cause environmental devastation.”

        With this one sentence you failed to understand what climate change is. A temperature can drop in one area and rise in another. There is overwhelming data that shows that the median global temperature has gone up and you can see the affect this has on the environment by simply watching as lakes and rivers dry up. When the environment changes just slightly, the ecosystem changes drastically. This may not affect the daily lives of humans immediately but it will have measurable impact in the end.

        Just because we do not have the resources to see how natural disasters occur or what causes them to occur does not change the impact that climate change has on an ecosystem. We are changing the climate by simply changing the make-up of an environment when we urbanize rural areas. Agriculture has had the biggest impact on ecosystems with our use of pesticides alone. Obviously it is not all bad as we benefit from these events.

        Your attempt to discredit all climate science is completely bogus.

        • You sound like you have a psychological disorder. Apparently your brain systematically blocks out all evidence that may run counter to your preconceived belief system. I would talk to a doctor about that. I referenced around a dozen or so scientific lectures and articles that support my position.

          • Warren Clark

            You can cherry pick models til you have none left to cherry pick. The fact is that the temperatures are rising and the rising temperatures affect ecosystems. Hence, climate change. The only person who needs a doctor is the person who talks in circles as you do. If you based your beliefs on science you would not be having this discussion.

            Yes, there are corrupt scientists who will do anything for funding. It is not hard to follow the evidence without the papers from these particular scientists. The science is conclusive regardless. Climate changes and it is rarely ever in our favor. End of story.

            Now rather than fight over whether it exists or not, we can figure out how we will adapt without destroying ourselves in the process.

          • Warren Clark

            I don’t see where I mentioned Carbon Dioxide. Maybe you can directly quote me to help me find where you thought this counter point was useful in this discussion. You are pulling strawmen thinking that anyone says increases in Carbon Dioxide alone contribute to climate change.

            Climate changes. We are at the end of an Ice Age. Be prepared for more climate change. If we don’t adapt, we will perish. While I will always hope humans will strive to become smarter and adapt to their environment, there is much doubt in our abilities when there is an abundance of people who think their actions carry no consequences.