Letters Page

Please feel free to contact MPIG with ideas, comments or anything you would like to share and it may get published here.


Dear MPIG,

I see that you have yet to write a page about animals in permaculture.

This is a subject I am interested in.

I find myself in the dilemma of wanting not to kill animals to eat, but am concerned about what death and suffering has occurred in the production of many of the plant based foods I eat.

We can't afford everything organic so I know that some of the foods we eat will have been sprayed with pesticides. I know that these can get into the food chain and ultimately cause the suffering and death of creatures such as barn owls, voles, and other field dwellers.I suppose you could take that a step further and say that evey time the field is ploughed or driven over with a large tractor, thousands of soil dwellers are killed or injured.

Then there is the problem of distance. Our diets now are made up on average of 40% imported food. Where has that food been grown? Has natural habitat been distroyed to make way for field scale crops?Who has grown the food? Is it in a developing country and have children been exploited in its production?Have the farm workers been exposed to dangerous chemicals while growing the produce?

I certainly don't agree with intensive rearing of animals for food but am concerned that the indirect death and suffering caused by the production of plant based foods is often overlooked.

So permaculture is all about solutions, what is my advice?

1) Try and find alternatives to imported food. Dried raspberries, plums, apples can replace raisins, sultanas and dates. Dried runner bean seeds can replace soya and kidney beans, and there are several heritage varieties of peas which could form a replacement for chick peas.

2) Try and buy locally and organically produced food stuffs.

3) If you are going to eat meat, think about how it was reared, what it was fed on. Have the animals been fed corn or crops we could have eaten or have they been raised outside on hill side grass? How long have they lived for?

I hope you can use this letter on your website and that it helps some people choose what to eat to cause the least suffering to animals.


Best wishes