[permaculture] Pet wastes....

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Mon Aug 7 12:39:46 EDT 2006

On 8/6/06 5:46 AM, "Marimike6 at cs.com" <Marimike6 at cs.com> wrote:

> To be sure. The intestinal flora of humans has an entirely different cast of
> characters than does that of ruminants. And there are probably few profound
> differences between the flora of vegans and meat eaters-- a subject that would
> be interesting to explore.

Most of our epidemic diseases have transferred from livestock or other
animals with intestinal flora having "an entirely different cast of
characters" from humans. Have you read "Guns, Germs and Steel"? Smallpox,
flu, TB, malaria, plague, measles, and more all evolved in livestock and
transferred to humans. From cattle we get TB, measles, and smallpox, and
those evolved back when cattle were eating their natural vegan diet.
Hantavirus is from rodent droppings, and most rodents are vegans. Though the
differences in vegan and omnivore flora probably are significant, I doubt if
one is less pathogenic than the other. In fact, most of our epidemic
diseases come from herbivores.

I would minimize contact with any animal waste until it's been thoroughly
composted. Bird droppings, for example, can pass a host of diseases.

Personally, I'm pretty lax about sanitation with composts--I put just about
anything in ours. But I'd recommend caution when making statements about
medical issues unless you've got a good background in the subject. I have
been caught, myself, by a line of thought that goes, "well, if A is true,
then B seems like a logical consequence." Then someone points out that the
actual facts are quite different from my conjecture. That's why people do
science, so as not to be fooled by what seems like the obvious conclusion to


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