I read with interest about the Buffalo Fighting Festival in Do Son, Vietnam, in the 23 Sep 2011 edition of the Business Times’ Special Focus Section. Having done a little research on smallholder dairy farming in the tropics a while back, it was heartening to note that interest in buffalo farming remains high in this part of the world, and that this interest is growing worldwide. Buffalo meat and milk are touted as having better nutritional value than that of their grain-fed cousins on large commercial establishments. I have no doubt about that, but why is it so?
In nature, there are times of feasting and there are times of fasting. Wolves feeding on passing caribou herds are experiencing a time of feasting. So are antelope in the desert after a rare spell of rainfall. Bears which go into hibernation each winter are actually going on a regular prolonged fast. So are male Emperor Penguins taking care of their chicks during the long freezing months in the Antarctic while the females go off to feed. Times of feasting are times of celebration, for those feasting, at least, and these are times when muscle and bone mass are built up and excess nutrition is stored away in the body, ready to be used during the times of fasting. When the times of fasting come, the body burns away excess fat, gets rid of toxins built up over the times of feasting, and, at least in the case of hibernating bears, actually uses the stored fat to build up muscle tissue, so that the bear emerges from its period of hibernation in better shape than when it started! We humans could probably learn a thing or two from the animals where this is concerned! Now, what about the differences between buffalo meat and milk and that of commercially-raised cattle? I do not have the research to back this up, but I do conjecture that hard work, physical labour, is good for both buffaloes and humans. Buffalo meat and milk are better because buffaloes are made to work hard. The meat of a stall-fed cow that is massaged every day may indeed be much more delectable than buffalo meat, but I wager that buffalo meat is exponentially higher in nutrition and tastes better any day. Research on stress in humans has also shown that people who are physically fit are better able to deal with mental and emotional stress. There is something to be said for hard physical labour and fasting, and I think most of us are choosing to ignore it, to our detriment.
Where the economy is concerned, there are also times of feasting and times of fasting. We might be facing a time of prolonged fasting ahead of us. Let’s embrace this time as a time when we get to rid ourselves of toxic waste, inure our bodies to lean, optimal operations, have our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch heightened, develop the ability to thrive in adverse conditions, and be ready for the next time of feasting when it comes again, we know not when.
Have a fruitful period ahead! Go well!