DEAR DR. FOX: I read your column entitled "Climate change harming farm animals" and was appalled at your ignorance. You may know something about animals, but your knowledge of climate science is just plain wrong. I am not complaining about your lack of knowledge -- I am disgusted about you using your platform to try to influence other uninformed people.
Please stick to your claimed expertise as an "Animal Doc" and leave climate science to others who are qualified to discuss it! -- P.H., Ph.D., Seattle
DEAR P.H.: I am always open to receiving critical comments and will post corrections as warranted. Can you be more specific in your concerns? Also, in what specialty is your doctoral degree?
P.H. RESPONDS: My major concern is your pontificating about climate change and claiming it is proven science. That couldn't be further from the facts. Nowhere do you present any proof of the effects of climate change on animals or anything else. I agree the climate is changing (although there is no proof that the changes are a result of man's influence). Your article doesn't directly claim the changes are caused by man, but you certainly imply it.
You state: "Farm animals raised for human consumption are a major contributing factor to climate change" -- but then you then present no evidence for your claim. You cite overcrowding of pigs and poultry, ventilation problems, feedlot problems, lack of "cover crops," lack of control of animal waste, COVID-19 consequences, etc. for harming animals and people. All of these problems are solvable and are independent of climate.
I know adding the words "climate change" to your title probably increases the number of people who will read it -- that is why I read it -- but I am tired of everyone "knowing" climate is the cause of all our ills. In the future, please stick to your area of expertise and stop using climate change as a catch-all for all the problems in the world.
My qualifications include a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and many, many years in research and development on climate-related projects. My experience began back when "climate change" meant the world was cooling, and the next ice age was projected for the near future. Interestingly, some of the same "climate experts" of today were also champions of the cooling hypothesis in earlier years.
I have also consulted -- disagreed, mostly -- with the IPCC (the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). I just purchased and read a little book on climate change, called "Climate Miracle: There Is No Climate Crisis" by Dr. Ed Berry, that reviews the history and science of the climate change fad we are currently experiencing. -- P.H.
DR. FOX RESPONDS: I think the discussion of climate change, like the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot be divorced from human's contributions -- be it the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and related agricultural practices, or our habitat encroachment and exploitation of wildlife that harbor zoonotic diseases.
The human contribution to global warming cannot be denied, as per the latest "code red" report from the United Nations' IPCC. This report makes it eminently clear that nations have delayed curbing their fossil-fuel emissions for so long that they can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years. But there is a short window of time in which to prevent a catastrophic future of ever-more extreme weather events.
As for my opinions about the contributions of animal factory farming and industrial agriculture to the global dystopia we all face today, which you say I did not provide evidence for: I have done so in many articles and books, as well as on my website (drfoxonehealth.com). As a veterinarian with doctoral degrees in medical science and ethology/animal behavior, I have served in the past on two national farmed animal committees. I have addressed state, national and international livestock, poultry and agricultural organizations, speaking and consulting on the topics of farmed animal health and welfare and the environmental harms of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). Other topics of expertise include the negative climatic and biodiversity impacts of ranching, forest grazing of livestock, and the associated indiscriminate predator control around the world.
Regardless, therefore, of what is "natural" and what is anthropogenic (human-caused), the global reality of the climate and extinction crises -- and the consequential socioeconomic, public health and food-security issues -- cannot be denied. Scientific debate aside, we face a global existential crisis of extreme weather events like wildfires, droughts and floods, along with related crises of displaced refugees and starving, unemployed people. These issues call for international cooperation, rather than engaging in politicized blame-games, conspiracy theories and denial of human responsibility and culpability.
The age of nationalism, corporate colonialism, unbridled capitalism and militarism is coming to an apocalyptic end, from which may emerge a more enlightened humanity.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)