Baby goats wearing scrap-cloth blankets to keep them warm.

Yesterday, the Mongolian government announced that 16 million livestock animals have been born in Mongolian this spring, exceeding government estimates by a million. There may be a few more births; horses and camels may be giving birth for another week or two.

If you were to base your answer on taste alone, you might be tempted to conclude that human flesh most closely resembles that of swine, making ours the other other white meat. It’s been said that cannibals on the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia, for example, referred to human meat as ”long pig,” on account of its likeness to pork. Infamous German cannibal Armin Meiwes, in an interview conducted from his prison cell, once described human flesh as tasting like pork, only “a little bit more bitter, stronger. It tastes quite good.”

Similarly, serial killers Fritz Haarmann and Karl Denke – German and Polish cannibals, respectively, of the early 20th century – are both said to have sold the flesh of their victims on black and local markets as “pork.” Even robots, for their part, think humans “taste” like pig.

But taste isn’t everything. Another way of approaching this question might be to ask what human meat looks like. For instance, is human meat red or white? This line of inquiry warrants a discussion on the meaning of “red meat” versus “white meat,” and what those terms really mean. When most of us think of red meat, we think of meat that is visibly reddish in color before cooking. But this traditional definition isn’t exactly written in stone, and is a known point of culinary confusion.

When we talk about meat we’re of course talking about the muscle of a butchered animal.Muscle’s red color can be traced to the presence of a richly pigmented protein called myoglobinand, more specifically, hemes, the chemical compounds that myoglobin uses to bind and store oxygen as a fuel source for active muscles. The more myoglobin a muscle cell contains, the more heme groups it carries; the more heme groups a muscle is packing, the redder its meat appears. [MORE]

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The Zwartbles is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the Friesland region of the north Netherlands. There it was primarily used for the production of sheep milk as well as lamb and mutton. They were often kept alongside dairy cattle herds (Wikipedia, April 2014). 

Came across 3 of them yesterday, before retreating from the rain whilst trying to walk to the town from a very rural higher educational institution, Newport, Shropshire, England. 

Medieval Italian Skeleton's Surprising Diagnosis: Livestock Disease

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A sip of unpasteurized sheep or goat’s milk may have spelled doom for a medieval Italian man.

A new genetic analysis of bony nodules found in a 700-year-old skeleton from Italy reveal that the man had brucellosis, a bacterial infection caught from livestock, when he died. It’s not clear if the disease killed the man, but he likely would have suffered from symptoms such as chronic fatigue and recurring fevers, according to the researchers who analyzed the bones.

This medieval Italian man joins many other long-dead people in getting a postmortem diagnosis of brucellosis. Signs of the disease have been found in skeletons from the Bronze Age and earlier. In fact, the disease predates modern humans: In 2009, researchers reported possible signs of brucellosis in a specimen of the human ancestor Australopithecus africanus, who lived more than 2 million years ago. Read more.

There is something seriously wrong with a world in which half of the population is severely underfed while the other half overfeeds itself into a state of illness and even death. You might think the most sensible thing for people to do would be for those with excess resources to share their bounty with those who are starving. If those enjoying the excess were to make the change to a starch based diet, this would free up sufficient rice, corn, wheat, and potatoes (now going to animal feed) to allow the entire world population adequate or even bountiful food supplies.
In fact, reallocating land from animal to crop production would increase our food resources at least seventeenfold: crops like potatoes can produce 17 times the calories as animals on the same piece of land. There would be additional positive consequences of replacing animal foods in our diet with plants. Fossil fuels used in the production of food could be reduced fortyfold. Consider that about 2 calories of fossil-fuel energy are required to cultivate 1 calorie of starchy vegetable food energy; with beef, the ratio can be as high as 80 to 1. We would also reduce the needless suffering from the health consequences of our lives of excess, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and breast, prostate ad colon cancer, to name a few. We would reduce our national debt by vastly reducing the health care costs associated with these unnecessary illnesses. And we would free a great portion of the world from starvation.
—  John McDougall
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