Yesterday I paid $16/kg for chicken mince so Im now looking at my girls in a different way - Im seriously contemplating raising some for meat, so will have to visit the library for some relevant texts. Mollison argues that the vegan contention that a meatless society will solve the worlds food crisis is a fallacy. He reasons that the more complex systems in permaculture are by far the most productive in terms of bio-mass but that livestock (which includes poultry and aquaculture) is required to convert much of that bio-mass into forms people can eat. The vegan utopia model of monocropping edible vegetables has never been tested extensively, and the largest vegetarian populations, which are in India, use cows for milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter and transportation, and their dung for manure, heating and house building. I suspect that the sacred status of the cow is an ancient sustainability tactic, similar to tapus imposed in the Cook Islands to allow food resorces to recover, and allowing fields to lie fallow. In cold regions livestock were kept under the house to provide under-floor heating.