Is animal agriculture required for the nutrient cycle and producing food, as farmer lobby organisations often claim?
Let’s take a look:
Veganic agriculture is a regenerative form of agriculture recognised by the ministry of environment in Germany.
Here are examples of veganic farming – the amount of humus increases annually (from about 9:25) – can be viewed with subtitles in youtube settings
Whole documentary in German
In the UK
3.7 Profile: biocyclic vegan cultivation
Category: preliminary work, production
Description: The biocyclic vegan cultivation (also ›vegan organic farming‹ or ›organic vegan agriculture‹), in English ›biocyclic vegan farming‹, ›biodynamic vegan agriculture‹ or ›veganic agriculture‹ (as a combination of ›vegan‹ and ›organic ‹), Completely dispenses with animal husbandry and the use of animal or synthetic resources in the organic cultivation of vegan foods. This eliminates, for example, the use of liquid manure, dung, liquid manure or slaughterhouse waste as fertilizer.
Objective and innovation: The majority of farms rely on the use of animal or synthetic fertilizers in the production of vegan foods. Organic farming is also often associated with livestock farming. At the Demeter Organic Association, the keeping of roughage eaters is even mandatory and can only be omitted in exceptional cases124. Animal husbandry causes massive environmental damage worldwide, ranging from increased land requirements, damage to soil and groundwater to negative effects on the climate. According to a study by the FAO, over 14 percent of global human-caused greenhouse gases can be traced back to animal husbandry125.
At the same time, the demand for vegetarian and vegan products can also be measured in Germany. According to the data from the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy, 7.6% of consumers are “vegetarians or people who largely forego meat” 126. Another 1.1% are “vegans or people who largely avoid animal products”. These consumers of vegan foods are often not aware that these foods, too, are predominantly produced in a non-vegan manner in the narrower sense. As a rule, resources of animal origin such as blood, horn, hair, feather or bone meal are used. The health concerns of these ecological fertilizer pellets are great. They can be contaminated with germs, antibiotics and heavy metals. In the case of biocyclic vegan cultivation, animal fertilizers and operating materials of animal origin are completely avoided.127 Instead, high value is placed on the targeted build-up of humus on a plant basis, which can be achieved through composting in conjunction with green manure and mulching. If the plant residues used to build up the humus come from your own company, the municipality or the region, this also results in shorter transport routes. The fertility of the soil should also be promoted through a varied crop rotation, mixed crops and the cultivation of legumes such as grass clover, lupins and peas.
A field test in Greece showed that in the long term the nitrogen content and the content of other plant nutrients in the humus soil obtained from olive pomace compost increase128. Since the nutrients in the humus soil are no longer water-soluble, they are completely available to the plant without causing over-fertilization, so
124 Demeter e.V. (no year) Guidelines 2020. p. 54. https://www.demeter.de/sites/default/files/ guidelines/ guidelines_ overall.pdf (27.01.2020)
125 Gerber, P.J. et al. (2013): Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. P. 15.
126 INSTITUTE FOR DEMOSCOPY ALLENSBACH (undated). AW A 2016. Allensbacher market analysis advertising medium analysis CODEBUCH. P. 80. https: //www.ifd- allensbach.de/fileadmin/AWA/AWA2016/Codebuchausschnitte/AWA2016_Codebuch_Essen_Trinken_Rauchen.pdf (27.01.2020) 127 Vegconomist (2019): In an interview with the Förderkreis Biozyklisch-Veganeraner eV about the Organic vegan agriculture. October 31, 2019. https://vegconomist.de/interviews/im-interview-mit-dem-foerderkreis-biozyklisch-veganer-anbau-e-v-ueber- die-bio-vegane-Landwirtschaft / (27.01.2020)
128 Biocyclic Park Kalamata, IFOAM ABM 2017. (2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=_HPCm- 5acI0 & feature = emb_logo, (27.01.2020)
TEXTS Niche Innovations in Europe for the Transformation of the Food System – NE Europe
Dr. Johannes Eisenbach, board member of the Association for Biocyclic Vegan Cultivation, 129. A study on the cultivation of tomatoes confirms these observations. Tomato plants that grew in humus soil produced up to 45% higher yields than plants that were not treated at all or treated with inorganic fertilizers130. In addition, plant health improves and the humus soil can bind more carbon in the soil. 131