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The Truth About Grassfed Beef

A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals.  One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly.  Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S.  Now there are thousands.

How much difference does it make?  Is grassfed really better?  If so, in what ways, and how much?

If you read on, you’ll see why I’ve concluded that grassfed is indeed better.  But then, almost anything would be.  Putting beef cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain may actually be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cattle (like sheep, deer and other grazing animals) are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which we humans cannot digest, into flesh that we are able to digest. They can do this because unlike humans, who possess only one stomach, they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

In today’s feedlots, however, cows fed corn and other grains are eating food that humans can eat, and they are quite inefficiently converting it into meat.  Since it takes anywhere from 7 to 16 pounds of grain to make a pound of feedlot beef, we actually get far less food out than we put in.  It’s a protein factory in reverse.

And we do this on a massive scale, while nearly a billion people on our planet do not have enough to eat.

Feedlot Reality

How has a system that is so wasteful come to be?  Feedlots and other CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) are not the inevitable product of agricultural progress, nor are they the result of market forces.  They are instead the result of public policies that massively favor large-scale feedlots to the detriment of family farms.

From 1997 to 2005, for example, taxpayer-subsidized grain prices saved feedlots and other CAFOs about $35 billion.  This subsidy is so large that it reduced the price CAFOs pay for animal feed to a tiny fraction of what it would otherwise have been.  Cattle operations that raise animals exclusively on pasture land, however, derive no benefit from the subsidy.

Federal policies also give CAFOs billions of dollars to address their pollution problems, which arise because they confine so many animals, often tens of thousands, in a small area.  Small farmers raising cattle on pasture do not have this problem in the first place.  If feedlots and other CAFOs were required to pay the price of handling the animal waste in an environmentally health manner, if they were made to pay to prevent or to clean up the pollution they create, they wouldn’t be dominating the U.S. meat industry the way they are today.  But instead we have had farm policies that require the taxpayers to foot the bill.  Such policies have made feedlots and other CAFOs feasible, but only by fleecing the public.

Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but we’ve turned that completely upside down.  Now, thanks to our misguided policies, our beef supply is almost all feedlot beef.

Thanks to government subsidies, it’s cheaper, and it’s also faster.  Seventy-five years ago, steers were slaughtered at the age of four- or five-years-old. Today’s steers, however, grow so fast on the grain they are fed that they can be butchered much younger, typically when they are only 14 or 16 months.

All beef cattle spend the first few months of their lives on pasture or rangeland, where they graze on forage crops such as grass or alfalfa.  But then nearly all are fattened, or as the industry likes to call it “finished,” in feedlots where they eat grain.  You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass.  That kind of unnaturally fast weight gain takes enormous quantities of corn, soy-based protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.

Under current farm policies, switching a cow from grass to corn makes economic sense, but it is still profoundly disturbing to the animal’s digestive system.  It can actually kill a steer if not done gradually and if the animal is not continually fed antibiotics.

Author (and small-scale cattleman) Michael Pollan describes what happens to cows when they are taken off of pastures and put into feedlots and fed corn:

“Perhaps the most serious thing that can go wrong with a ruminant on corn is feedlot bloat. The rumen is always producing copious amounts of gas, which is normally expelled by belching during rumination. But when the diet contains too much starch and too little roughage, rumination all but stops, and a layer of foamy slime that can trap gas forms in the rumen. The rumen inflates like a balloon, pressing against the animal’s lungs. Unless action is promptly taken to relieve the pressure (usually by forcing a hose down the animal’s esophagus), the cow suffocates.

“A corn diet can also give a cow acidosis. Unlike our own highly acidic stomachs, the normal pH of a rumen is neutral. Corn makes it unnaturally acidic, however, causing a kind of bovine heartburn, which in some cases can kill the animal but usually just makes it sick. Acidotic animals go off their feed, pant and salivate excessively, paw at their bellies and eat dirt. The condition can lead to diarrhea, ulcers, bloat, liver disease and a general weakening of the immune system that leaves the animal vulnerable to everything from pneumonia to feedlot polio.”

Putting beef cattle in feedlots and giving them corn is not only unnatural and dangerous for the cows. It also has profound medical consequences for us, and this is true whether or not we eat their flesh. Feedlot beef as we know it today would be impossible if it weren’t for the routine and continual feeding of antibiotics to these animals. This leads directly and inexorably to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These new “superbugs” are increasingly rendering our antibiotics ineffective for treating disease in humans.

Further, it is the commercial meat industry’s practice of keeping cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain that is responsible for the heightened prevalence of deadly E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria. When cattle are grainfed, their intestinal tracts become far more acidic, which favors the growth of pathogenic E. coli bacteria that can kill people who eat undercooked hamburger.

It’s not widely known, but E. coli 0157:H7 has only recently appeared on the scene.  It was first identified in the 1980s, but now this pathogen can be found in the intestines of almost all feedlot cattle in the U.S.  Even less widely recognized is that the practice of feeding corn and other grains to cattle has created the perfect conditions for forms of E. Coli and other microbes to come into being that can, and do, kill us.

Prior to the advent of feedlots, the microbes that resided in the intestines of cows were adapted to a neutral-pH environment.  As a result, if they got into meat, it didn’t usually cause much of a problem because the microbes perished in the acidic environment of the human stomach.  But the digestive tract of the modern feedlot animal has changed.  It is now nearly as acidic as our own.  In this new, manmade environment, strains of E. coli and other pathogens have developed that can survive our stomach acids, and go on to kill us.  As Michael Pollan puts it, “by acidifying a cow’s gut with corn, we have broken down one of our food chain’s barriers to infections.”

Which is more nutritious?

Many of us think of “corn-fed” beef as nutritionally superior, but it isn’t. A cornfed cow does develop well-marbled flesh, but this is simply saturated fat that can’t be trimmed off. Grassfed meat, on the other hand, is lower both in overall fat and in artery-clogging saturated fat. A sirloin steak from a grainfed feedlot steer has more than double the total fat of a similar cut from a grassfed steer. In its less-than-infinite wisdom, however, the USDA continues to grade beef in a way that rewards marbling with intra-muscular fat.

Grassfed beef not only is lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, but it has the added advantage of providing more omega-3 fats. These crucial healthy fats are most plentiful in flaxseeds and fish, and are also found in walnuts, soybeans and in meat from animals that have grazed on omega-3 rich grass. When cattle are taken off grass, though, and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on grain, they immediately begin losing the omega-3s they have stored in their tissues.  A grassfed steak typically has about twice as many omega-3s as a grainfed steak.

In addition to being higher in healthy omega-3s, meat from pastured cattle is also up to four times higher in vitamin E than meat from feedlot cattle, and much higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a nutrient associated with lower cancer risk.

What about taste?

The higher omega-3 levels and other differences in fatty acid composition are certainly a nutritional advantage for grassfed beef, but come with a culinary cost.  These differences contribute to flavors and odors in grassfed meat that some people find undesirable. Taste-panel participants have found the meat from grassfed animals to be characterized by “off-flavors including ammonia, gamey, bitter, liverish, old, rotten and sour.”

Even the people who market grassfed beef say this is true.  Joshua Appleton, the owner of Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, New York, says “Grassfed beef has a hard flavor profile for a country that’s been raised on corn-fed beef.”

Unlike cows in a feedlot, animals on a pasture move around.  This exercise creates muscle tone, and the resulting beef can taste a little chewier than many people prefer.  Grassfed beef doesn’t provide the “melt-in-your-mouth” sensation that the modern meat eater has come to prefer.

What about the environment?

As well as its nutritional advantages, there are also environmental benefits to grassfed beef. According to David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist who specializes in agriculture and energy, the corn we feed our feedlot cattle accounts for a staggering amount of fossil fuel energy. Growing the corn used to feed livestock takes vast quantities of chemical fertilizer, which in turn takes vast quantities of oil. Because of this dependence on petroleum, Pimentel says, a typical steer will in effect consume 284 gallons of oil in his lifetime. Comments Michael Pollan,

“We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine.”

In addition to consuming less energy, grassfed beef has another environmental advantage — it is far less polluting. The animals’ wastes drop onto the land, becoming nutrients for the next cycle of crops. In feedlots and other forms of factory farming, however, the animals’ wastes build up in enormous quantities, becoming a staggering source of water and air pollution.

Less misery on the menu?

From a humanitarian perspective, there is yet another advantage to pastured animal products. The animals themselves are not forced to live in confinement. The cruelties of modern factory farming are so severe that you don’t have to be a vegetarian or an animal rights activist to find the conditions to be intolerable, and a violation of the human-animal bond. Pastured livestock are not forced to endure the miseries of factory farming. They are not cooped up in cages barely larger than their own bodies, or packed together like sardines for months on end standing knee deep in their own manure.

Grassfed or organic?

It’s important to remember that organic is not the same as grassfed. Natural food stores often sell organic beef and dairy products that are hormone- and antibiotic- free.  These products come from animals who were fed organically grown grain, but who typically still spent most of their lives (or in the case of dairy cows perhaps their whole lives) in feedlots.  The sad reality is that almost all the organic beef and organic dairy products sold in the U.S. today comes from feedlots.

Just as organic does not mean grass-fed, grass-fed does not mean organic. Pastured animals sometimes graze on land that has been treated with synthetic fertilizers and even doused with herbicides. Unless the meat label specifically says it is both grassfed and organic, it isn’t.

And then, as seems so often to be the case, there is greenwashing.  A case in point is the “premium natural” beef raised by the enormous Harris Ranch, located in Fresno County, California.  Harris Ranch “premium natural” beef is sold in health food stores west of the Rockies.  The company says it is “at the forefront of quality, safety and consumer confidence” with its “premium natural beef.”

But even Harris Ranch spokesman Brad Caudill admits that under current USDA rules, the term “natural” is meaningless.  Harris Ranch cattle are fattened in a 100,000 cattle feedlot in California’s Central Valley.  And the feed is not organically grown.  The only difference between Harris Ranch “premium natural” beef and the typical feedlot product is that the animals are raised without growth hormones or supplemental antibiotics added to their feed.  Despite the marketing and hype, the product is neither organic nor grassfed.  (Harris Ranch also sells a line of organic beef, but the cattle are still raised in over-crowded and filthy feedlots. There can be as many as 100 cattle, weighing from 700 to 1,200 pounds, living in a pen the size of a basketball court.)

Is grassfed beef the answer?

Grass-fed beef certainly has its advantages, but it is typically more expensive, and I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing. We shouldn’t be eating nearly as much meat as we do.

There is a dark side even to grassfed beef.  It takes a lot of grassland to raise a grassfed steer. Western rangelands are vast, but not nearly vast enough to sustain America’s 100 million head of cattle. There is no way that grassfed beef can begin to feed the current meat appetites of people in the United States, much less play a role in addressing world hunger. Grassfed meat production might be viable in a country like New Zealand with its geographic isolation, unique climate and topography, and exceedingly small human population. But in a world of 7 billion people, I am afraid that grassfed beef is a food that only the wealthy elites will be able to consume in any significant quantities.

What would happen if we sought to raise great quantities of grassfed beef? It’s been tried, in Brazil, and the result has been an environmental nightmare of epic proportions.  In 2009, Greenpeace released a report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which presented detailed satellite photos showing that Amazon cattle are now the biggest single cause of global deforestation, which is in turn responsible for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.  Even Brazil’s government, whose policies have made the nation the world’s largest beef exporter, and home to the planet’s largest commercial cattle herd, acknowledges that cattle ranching is responsible for 80 percent of Amazonian deforestation.  Much of the remaining 20 percent is for land to grow soy, which is not used to make tofu.  It is sold to China to feed livestock.

Amazonian cattle are free-range, grassfed, and possibly organic, but they are still a plague on the planet and a driving force behind global warming.

Trendy consumers like to think that grassfed beef is green and earth-friendly and does not have environmental problems comparable to factory farmed beef.  But grassfed and feedlot beef production both contribute heavily to global climate change.  They do this through emissions of two potent global warming gases:  methane and nitrous oxide.

Next to carbon dioxide, the most destabilizing gas to the planet’s climate is methane. Methane is actually 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and its concentration in the atmosphere is rising even faster. The primary reason that concentrations of atmospheric methane are now triple what they were when they began rising a century ago is beef production. Cattle raised on pasture actually produce more methane than feedlot animals, on a per-cow basis.  The slower weight gain of a grassfed animal means that each cow produces methane emissions for a longer time.

Meanwhile, producing a pound of grassfed beef accounts for every bit as much nitrous oxide emissions as producing a pound of feedlot beef, and sometimes, due to the slower weight gain, even more.  These emissions are not only fueling global warming.  They are also acidifying soils, reducing biodiversity, and shrinking Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer.

The sobering reality is that cattle grazing in the U.S. is already taking a tremendous toll on the environment.  Even with almost all U.S. beef cattle spending much of their lives in feedlots, seventy percent of the land area of the American West is currently used for grazing livestock. More than two-thirds of the entire land area of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho is used for rangeland. In the American West, virtually every place that can be grazed, is grazed. The results aren’t pretty. As one environmental author put it, “Cattle grazing in the West has polluted more water, eroded more topsoil, killed more fish, displaced more wildlife, and destroyed more vegetation than any other land use.”

Western rangelands have been devastated under the impact of the current system, in which cattle typically spend only six months or so on the range, and the rest of their lives in feedlots. To bring cows to market weight on rangeland alone would require each animal to spend not six months foraging, but several years, greatly multiplying the damage to western ecosystems.

The USDA’s taxpayer-funded Animal Damage Control (ADC) program was established in 1931 for a single purpose—to eradicate, suppress, and control wildlife considered to be detrimental to the western livestock industry. The program has not been popular with its opponents. They have called the ADC by a variety of names, including, “All the Dead Critters” and “Aid to Dependent Cowboys.”

In 1997, following the advice of public relations and image consultants, the federal government gave a new name to the ADC—“Wildlife Services.” And they came up with a new motto—“Living with Wildlife.”

But the agency does not exactly “live with” wildlife. What it actually does is kill any creature that might compete with or threaten livestock. Its methods include poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning, shooting, and aerial gunning. In “denning” wildlife, government agents pour kerosene into the den and then set it on fire, burning the young alive in their nests.

Among the animals Wildlife Services agents intentionally kill are badgers, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, gray fox, red fox, mountain lions, opossum, raccoons, striped skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings. Animals unintentionally killed by Wildlife Services agents include domestic dogs and cats, and several threatened and endangered species.

All told, Wildlife Services intentionally kills more than 1.5 million wild animals annually. This is done at public expense, to protect the private financial interests of ranchers who graze their livestock on public lands, and who pay almost nothing for the privilege.

The price that western lands and wildlife are paying for grazing cattle is hard to exaggerate. Conscientious management of rangelands can certainly reduce the damage, but widespread production of grassfed beef would only multiply this already devastating toll.

“Most of the public lands in the West, and especially the Southwest, are what you might call ‘cow burnt.’ Almost anywhere and everywhere you go in the American West you find hordes of cows. . . . They are a pest and a plague. They pollute our springs and streams and rivers. They infest our canyons, valleys, meadows and forests. They graze off the native bluestems and grama and bunch grasses, leaving behind jungles of prickly pear. They trample down the native forbs and shrubs and cacti. They spread the exotic cheatgrass, the Russian thistle, and the crested wheat grass. Even when the cattle are not physically present, you see the dung and the flies and the mud and the dust and the general destruction. If you don’t see it, you’ll smell it. The whole American West stinks of cattle.” — Edward Abbey, conservationist and author, in a speech before cattlemen at the University of Montana in 1985

Not the Stiffest Competition

Grassfed beef is certainly much healthier than feedlot beef for the consumer, and may be slightly healthier for the environment. But doing well in such a comparison hardly constitutes a ringing endorsement. While grassfed beef and other pastured animal products have advantages over factory farm and feedlot products, it’s important to remember that factory farm and feedlot products are an unmitigated disaster. Almost anything would be an improvement.

I am reminded of a brochure the Cattlemen’s Association used to distribute to schools. The pamphlet compared the nutritional realities of a hamburger to another common food, and made much of the fact that the hamburger was superior in that it had more of every single nutrient listed than did its competitor. And what’s more, the competitor had far more sugar. The comparison made it sound like a hamburger was truly a health food.

The competition, however, was not the stiffest imaginable. It was a 12-ounce can of Coke.

Comparing grassfed beef to feedlot beef is a little like that. It’s far healthier, far more humane, and somewhat more environmentally sustainable, at least on a modest scale.  Overall, it’s indeed better. If you are going to eat beef, then that’s the best way to do it.

But I wouldn’t get too carried away and think that as long as it’s grassfed then it’s fine and dandy. Grassfed products are still high in saturated fat (though not as high), still high in cholesterol, and are still devoid of fiber and many other essential nutrients. They are still high on the food chain, and so often contain elevated concentrations of environmental toxins.

Imagine

While grassfed beef has advantages over feedlot beef, another answer is to eat less meat, or even none. If as a society we ate less, the world would indeed be a brighter and more beautiful place.  Consider, for example, the impact on global warming.  Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, have calculated the benefits that would occur if Americans were to reduce beef consumption by 20 percent.  Such a change would decrease our greenhouse gas emissions as substantially as if we exchanged all our cars and trucks for Priuses.

If we ate less meat, the vast majority of the public lands in the western United States could be put to more valuable — and environmentally sustainable — use. Much of the western United States is sunny and windy, and could be used for large-scale solar energy and wind-power facilities. With the cattle off the land, photovoltaic modules and windmills could generate enormous amounts of energy without polluting or causing environmental damage. Other areas could grow grasses that could be harvested as “biomass” fuels, providing a far less polluting source of energy than fossil fuels. Much of it could be restored, once again becoming valued wildlife habitat. The restoration of cow burnt lands would help to vitalize rural economies as well as ecosystems.

And there is one more thing. When you picture grassfed beef, you probably envision an idyllic scene of a cow outside in a pasture munching happily on grass. That is certainly the image those endorsing and selling these products would like you to hold. And there is some truth to it.

But it is only a part of the story. There is something missing from such a pleasant picture, something that nevertheless remains an ineluctable part of the actual reality. Grassfed beef does not just come to you straight from God’s Green Earth. It also comes to you via the slaughterhouse.

The lives of grassfed livestock are more humane and natural than the lives of animals confined in factory farms and feedlots, but their deaths are often just as terrifying and cruel. If they are taken to a conventional slaughterhouse, as indeed most of them are, they are just as likely as a feedlot animal to be skinned while alive and fully conscious, and just as apt to be butchered and have their feet cut off while they are still breathing — distressing realities that tragically occur every hour in meat-packing plants nationwide. Confronting the brutal realities of modern slaughterhouses can be a harsh reminder that those who contemplate only the pastoral image of cattle patiently foraging do not see the whole picture.

Voices of the Food RevolutionAbout The Author:

John Robbins is co-founder of the Food Revolution Network, and author of many bestselling books.  His latest book, co-authored with his son, Ocean Robbins, is Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body And Your World — With Food! Check it out here.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=642496151 John Howieson

    Tom Schultz My favorite song used to be … "Oh give me a home … " Today we have neighbors 20 miles away who raise buffalo near Cornwall, Ontario (yes, Canada!).

  • John Howieson

    A little simplistic, but I hear you! The only place where it's wrong is where it states feedlots feed only grain. I was a dairy farmer here in the great white north (Canada!) just a few miles north of New York State. I ran a dairy operation for 25 years. If I had it to do all over again, I'd do it differently, for sure. Pastured yes, but I'd love to know how here in Canada, and states like New York (Northern 1/2), Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Dakotas, Montana … Basically the northern 1/2 of the USA, and all of Canada … has NO grass for 5 to 7 months of the year. Impossible! So for purely PASTURE-GROWN beef or dairy, GO-TO MEXICO. Or at least the southern 1/2 of Texas (and other states on that latitude).

    So for REAL SUSTAINABLE Beef, you're looking at making hay or haylage (grass grown, harvested, and enclosed in some way in an air-tight structure) to feed these animals. That's the least we would need.

    In the natural cycle for cattle (we'll talk pasture), the grass is leafy, and high in protein – ideal for the (lactating) cow with suckling calf at foot. Protein is important for milk yield and growth of calf. As the season progresses, more grass, more milk, bigger calf. Then nature takes a turn and the grass (also the clovers, alfalfa, etc.) begin to flower, get pollinated (good ole' bees, wasps, etc.) and then go to seed. At this point in time, the yield (plant mass) is higher, but protein goes down, energy in the plants go up. Result … The cattle consume less protein, more energy, with nature's purpose in mind of putting flesh (fat) on the 500 LB calf, and the mature cows, to insulate them for winter, and to build a resource of energy during lean times.

    But in the great white North (NY, PA, MT, MI, Canada, get-it?) we need to put feed in storage. So now we're feeding hay, silage … No pasture. No grazing.

    I could go on, but my last point about grain is that when hay is grown and harvested at its peak yield (and when weather is best for harvest) in July-August, protein is low. So as to optimize the animal's growth, added protein is required. This is why grain is fed. And for your information, for a high-producing dairy cow, the" highest" %-age of grain in a dairy cow's diet would be 60%. At the end of lactation 30%. Lots of calculations are done in order to maximize growth, production, and health. For example fibre in a diet is essential.

    In your essay, where you mention Acidosis, this is v.e.r.y extreme. Only knowledgeless city slickers without a bloody clue what they're doing, would end up with animals in this condition, let alone make such accusations of producers at large.

    If your readers are so intent on pasture fed beef & dairy, they should spend their holiday time touring USA & Canada, finding out how these pasture operations really work (get off the internet for a month or so, and see the real thing!). Get off your laptop, buy a couple of pairs of jeans and tee-shirts, and offer your muscle power; do some work.

    Animal husbandry is 12 months of the year. Maybe city folk can plow the fields, and find some Polar Grass to cover half the year. I'd be the first to read about it!

    • Jerry

      After reading the original posting, I felt like something was missing. It was like reading most articles esposing the philosophy of one nutbag after another–lots of feeling and a little psdoscience. Then your response appeared and brought me back to the pracitical reality of living life–stay with the facts but to remember that like statistics, there are facts and statistics that can be used selectivly to "prove " anything. Thanks for the well written article and the "experienced" facts.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=643304457 JD Mumma

    1.) Are you implying that
    A.) there are no deficiencies on a meat based diet?
    B.) meat eaters are not B12 deficient?
    C.) just by adding meat you will get all the " proteins and fats and minerals" needed to be "completely healthy"

    2.) "I tried to two years." When you say "tried" what do you mean by "tried"?
    Does tried mean eating a vegetarian diet that
    A.) you conducted a valid scientific self-experiment with objective protocols that monitored referencing an objective nutrient database, or
    B.) left your nutrient sufficiency to guessing and subjective feeling deficient?

    Lot's of people try all sort of things and try to rely on subjective 'feeling' as the basis for their proof!. I'm glad there is at least a few humans who have chosen to rely on objective measurements to validate their trying.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    This article contains several errors, e.g. about the environmental aspect, and it also ignores the aspect of animal rights (the right to live and not be kiilled and used): "Oppenlander, however, illuminates the environmental consequences of.
    choosing alternative sources of animal products. This is an important,
    much needed, emphasis. How many times have you heard, after all, the.
    comment that “I choose grass-fed beef because it’s more sustainable”?
    Well, it’s not more sustainable. Especially if you compare it, as.
    Oppenlander does, to growing kale and quinoa–two of the healthiest foods.
    on the planet.

    His juxtaposition of the inputs and outputs of raising a grass fed.
    cow on two acres of land versus growing kale and quinoa on that same.
    land is astounding. After two years of raising a cow on grass you’d.
    have 480 pounds of “edible muscle tissue. [Animals who all have the right to live.]” You’d also have produced tons.
    of greenhouse gasses (especially methane), used 15,000-20,000 gallons.
    of water, imported loads of hay for winter feeding, been left with a.
    carcass needing disposal, wound up with food that, eaten beyond.
    moderation, would cause heart disease, and very likely trampled the.
    soil, establishing preconditions for erosion. In a world of 7 billion.
    people (about to be 9 billion) crunched by diminished resources, we.
    cannot afford this waste.

    By contrast, if you used those two acres to grow kale and quinoa,
    you’d end up with–get this–30,000 pounds of nutrient-rich, delicious,
    fibrous food. You’d have done this while having used very little water.
    (if any), produced no greenhouse gases, and been left with loads of.
    green manure to work back into the soil as fertilizer. We could not.
    only feed the world this way (with, of course, a huge diversity of.
    plants), but we could do so on much less land."
    Learn more here: http://www.drmcdougall.com/video/expert_testimoni

    I also highly recommend World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle and this wonderful website: https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach
    All animals have the a right to live. Have you ever thought of why we love dogs and eat cows? And how the life of the cows and pigs (and possibly horses) that end up in your animal products-meal (milk, eggs, meat or other animal product) was, and if their purpose truly was to be killed for a "taste experience"?

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    There are no benefits. Not environmental, and not ethical: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/sustainabil
    No meat is healthy: http://www.adelicatebalance.com.au/

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    Matt H Kennedy,
    The paleo-diet is erroneous: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Debunking-the-Pale

    The book 'Vegetarian myth' is full of errors. You will realize many errors if you study this lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas
    and the book World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (www.worldpeacediet.org )

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    It can't be environment friendly, please watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    Please study this: http://www.adelicatebalance.com.au/ and this: http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/dairy.htm
    No risk of getting a protein deficiency.

    " Proteins are made from chains of 20 different amino acids that connect together in varying sequences—similar to how all the words in a dictionary are made from the same 26 letters. Plants (and microorganisms) can synthesize all of the individual amino acids that are used to build proteins, but animals cannot. There are 8 amino acids that people cannot make and thus, these must be obtained from our diets—they are referred to as “essential.”

    After we eat our foods, stomach acids and intestinal enzymes digest the proteins into individual amino acids. These components are then absorbed through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. After entering the body’s cells, these amino acids are reassembled into proteins. Proteins function as structural materials which build the scaffoldings that maintain cell shapes, enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions, and hormones which signal messages between cells—to name only a few of their vital roles.

    Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants."

    Please also read this article: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose
    If we love animals, and don't want to inflict them suffering, we shouldn't eat them: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/the-purpose
    They have a right to live.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071775080 Anders Branderud

    I saw the lecture.

    I suggest that we let the wild animals thrive and live free again without us killing them and destroying their environment, and let them graze the lands again. A vegan world where we stop killing all wild animals, let the forests grow back again, let the wild animals graze the lands, and let the humans only eat plants.
    If we care about what is good for the animals, we can't take their precious life. Their purpose is not to become our "food". He is trying to "mimic nature". No, lets restore nature again. Let all animals be free again, instead of being our slaves.

    I highly recommend this article: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/wh… , the book World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (http://www.worldpeacediet.org/)
    and this about environment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas

    I write more here: http://bloganders.blogspot.no/2013/04/why-allan-s

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=560197742 Carlos Ⓥ Oliveira

    Eating a well balanced Vegan diet will give you all that you need, in the real world the majority of cases of B12 deficiency is found in people that do eat meat and not in Vegans. The only reason to eat meat is basically wanting to and not a necessity. and even if you have to supplement with B12, I do not see any problems with that, it sure is better than having to kill innocent animals.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1412193724 Kate Dougherty

    Grass fed beef is part and party to the ranching welfare system that has been thriving in the west for ever. Cattle have decimated the publicly owned grazing areas of the wild horses and burros, and because of the ranchers we currently have 40,000 wild horses and burros in holding areas, and you and I are footing the bill and the horses are being held in atrocious conditions.

    Cattlemen pay $1.35 a year for cow and calf on your’s and mine public land. Plus they get other financial subsidies. Even this week, the BLM is stampeding hundreds of wild horses into capture because of the “drought” and NOT ONE head of cattle is being removed, on OUR land!

    The other issue with free grazing cattle is, the ranchers have either completely removed any natural predator on our public lands. The abusiveness of the hunting is staggering. Packs of dogs being used to tear coyotes, wolves, big cats apart, all in the name of “sport”.

    We need to start paying attention to our food supply and how grossly negligent we have been in watching out for our food supply.

    On another note, Smithville Meats, huge supplier of pork in the US is being bought by a large meat company in China! That is not good.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002025237151 Robert Howlett

    Wendy Myers – The VeggieReportDoc article was written 18 years ago. There has been a lot of research done since then so I would suggest you read some it.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=591229090 John Taylor

    Let’s see… ex-vegetarians… Ex vegans… People who lack the courage of their convictions, can’t be bothered to eat smart, healthy veg diets just so some other being can keep from being slaughtered at 3 instead of living out a lifespan that would normally go into the 20′s. A bunch of quitters looking for justifications. “It’s a KIND farming and a HUMANE death!”
    No matter how much time, energy and money you spend on setting up a theft, that stereo and computer will still not belong to you. Likewise, no matter how “humanely” you raise a cow, her life and body are not yours. They belong to that being.
    And yes, we DO thrive on plants. I and many others, including Olympic athletes, are proof of that. Do your homework!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1366688915 Erleen Tilton

    Personally, as an ex-vegan, I think it’s ok to admit that some do well on a completely vegan diet, and some do better on a Paleo diet. We all have different body types – the fact is that our bodies do require different things and even at certain stages of life. I’ve been in the nutrition field for over 30 years, and I have come to understand that even though I am Paleo now in my late 50s, that might change because my body changes. If you are vegan and vegetarian and that works well for you – I applaud you. If others choose to be otherwise, then let’s respect that too! I’m not you and you are not me, so let’s support good research and health eating of the whole, not what you absolutely think is the best, because in reality, I don’t think that exists!

    This was great research information – thank you!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=864080547 Nora Davies

    An optimal diet which include red meat would be ideally once in a blue moon like festivity and celebratory and so that would work out well with the concept of grass-fed cows because it would take longer process for them to be ready. Sadly, I’ve seen the amount of red meat that is being consumed on a daily basis and honestly it is scary! I’m not adverse to eating red meat because I know the benefit of eating red meat but I am an advocate for diet that is balance, moderation and sparingly.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001579298934 Jan McMichael

    I vote to give Malcolm King a break and a thumbs up! We all come to our vegetarianism/veganism at different points in our lives and through various means. Forty-three years without animal flesh is a very long time! Think of all the people he’s impacted over four-plus decades of being a living example!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002262921204 Christa Leduc

    I agree with Raederle Phoenix, I have been a vegan for nearly 17 years mostly raw. I started this diet for health reasons and I have never felt better in my life, all my health problems disappeared.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1241243055 Roya Massih

    Imagine this: If something happened to the world that only a handful of people survived, and earth became barren; no fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains…but you had all the warehouses at your disposal with all types of meat stored for you to survive for a long time. Do you honestly think you’d be able to stomach this type of diet? Don’t you think your digestive system would shut down? On the other hand, if there were no meat, no animals to feed on, no fish…but all you had was your veggies, rice, grains…you will survive and it won’t kill you! We are not like neanderthals; we have evolved. Maybe, just maybe they would’ve liked to have all the grains and fruits that we have now available to us. Maybe, they had no choice. But we don’t know how long they lived with their diet.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1426868362 Renee Renz

    Sadly we terms these days need a complete definition given to them. Gress-fed now legally can apply to any animal feed grass for simply a few months. Perhaps a calf had grass the first few months and then was moved to the fed lot and given corn. The proper term to look for now is grass finished.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000502587107 Christian Arsenault

    tfkfuyk

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000502587107 Christian Arsenault

    8yy

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000502587107 Christian Arsenault

    luiglbg

  • Brad Wilson

    The article fails to fairly address the enormous ecological and economic benefits of livestock, and the enormous harm that would be caused without them. These issues must be addressed by anyone claiming to get close to credibility. Of course it depends on how they're raised. He gives nothing on how the range and hilly lands would be treated in a vegetarian/vegan food system. It would be an enormous economic crisis, including gglobally, where the poor are largely rural, and depend a lot on livestock for survival. Without factory livestock, huge amounts of land, now used only for plants (soybeans, corn and other feedgrains) would be freed up for use by livestock. Vegans and vegetarians seem to have little knowledge of these factors. There seems to be a huge ideological/religious factor influencing these discussions, as seen in comments about murder and "rights." These are red flags for scientists, as at TEDx. While the word rights is commonly used, in fact, animals lack reflective consciousness, and don't have rights in the human sense. It's we who have the responsibility to care for them humanely, to protect their welfare.

    • J.T.

      ROTFLMAO! Talk about Straw Man arguments! Until a little over 100 years ago, the earth was EXACTLY like that… and our economic BS will adapt. Get your priorities right, and open your eyes to the very real destruction that our way of living has caused.

      • Brad Wilson

        The 8 page paper requires quite a bit of work for an adequate reply. I've set aside a more comprehensive answer to some similar things, as it's planting season, plus farm bill issues (farmers not looking). It will be part 2 (livestock) of my blog, "Farm Bill Economics: Think Ecology," (about thought in the food movement). Part 1 might be useful on some of the points. I'm also working on a review of the "Food Revolution" documents, which misinterpret the biggest farm bill issues. The piece is a great collection of the arguments that we might expect, and more moderate than many others. It was a piece that was just begging to be written by someone, and I hope it will stimulate a greater sharing of knowledge. The structure can stimulate comprehensive responses, to further discussion, which is exactly what's needed. I'd like to know the straw man specifics. Certainly my short responses were mostly opinion, without the documentation that is needed. Google my name and "farm bill," and you'll find hundreds of much longer responses to a variety of food and farming issues, including the ones raised here. Allan Savory's TED talk is great on some of the issues (ie. climate) that few people know about (outside of the Sustainabile agriculture Movement. To Savory's credit, his focus on how livestock can help save the planet begins with acknowledgment of how destructive they have often been. So I'm fully on board about "the very real destruction that our way of living has caused." I'm a critic of a very small number major food movement ideas, (ie. that unknowingly support CAFOs) but not of the goals. I've been a critic of agribusiness and animal factories for more than a quarter century.

    • ken

      What about small children, and the mentally challenged. they are less self aware than many other animals.

      • Brad Wilson

        And we have something called legal age, with fewer rights for children.

        • nora

          actually, legal age means that children are more protected… if you mean with "fewer rights" that a child cannot legally be bound by a contract he or she signs, for example, well, that's just to protect them from someone who could deceive them because of their young age

    • Cedar

      We could certainly scale down our meat eating and eat more vegetarian dishes to the benefit of our and the planets health. We don't need to do it all at once but gradually and carefully it could be done. There are always people who get worried about the economics of change (especially the "vested interests", but their fears are usually groundless. Sometimes we need to do the right thing and have a little faith that it will work out well. In my experience doing the right thing even when it seems uncomfortable results in a lot more advantages than were previously thought of.

      • Brad Wilson

        I don't think you realize what you're saying, in this particular case. I say this, in this way, because the basic facts of the issue are rarely known online, and certainly are not known by John Robbins or by anyone in the Food Revolution series. It's a big topic, however, as indicated in the 8 pages or so it took for him to express the commonly believed perspective, and not one I have time to respond to in detail. I have no doubt that there are many Americans living on noncooking, fast food etc. diets who could greatly benefit from eating less meat and more vegetables, but there are many more people elsewhere who could greatly benefit from eating more meat and dairy. Beyond that there are a few billion or so who could benefit from a greater capture of the value of sustainable livestock production, which (though it's hardly evident in this article,) powerfully reconciles a wide range of values, not merely "adding value," but multiplying wealth and jobs, all across the poorest regions of the globe. The same holds for developed countries. At present we have incredible negatives in US livestock production which are of a radically greater magnitude than anything happening in crop farming (or with farm subsidies). The top 4 hog producers have captured 66% of the market, while the top 4 crop farms are, perhaps, one half of 1 percent market share. The main economic issue that I see is not the one you raise, where it's a trade off between making money and doing the right thing. Instead it's a case of how the economy is managed to either do the right thing or do the wrong thing. It's a question of the kinds of economic opportunities and incentives that are available, as in (part 2 of) my (part 1) blog, "Farm Bill Economics: Think Ecology." My basic argument is that what Robbins and you are arguing has a large economic impact in doing the wrong thing, (although the current farm-bill/livestock/economic system is also hugely doing the wrong thing, and you both get that major set of crises right).

        • Pat Volk

          Absolutely- if you love animals why do you eat them? And to quote GBS S
          haw, "Animals are my friends, I don't eat my friends,

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=844224569 John Mohan

    Raederle Phoenix

    Based on your answer I highly doubt you have a formal education as a nutritionist. Anyone with even a basic biology degree knows that comparing the dietary needs of Elephants and Gorillas (both herbivores) to humans (which are omnivores) is, pardon the old saying, but like comparing apples to oranges.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=844224569 John Mohan

    Because A, we can’t “thrive” on plants and B, because they’re yummy. :)

  • Jodi

    "Much of the western United States is sunny and windy, and could be used for large-scale solar energy and wind-power facilities. With the cattle off the land, photovoltaic modules and windmills could generate enormous amounts of energy without polluting or causing environmental damage."

    Image pollution in my opinion. I live in Arizona and do not appreciate the idea of behemoth wind turbines scattered across our beautiful landscape. The occasional cow, I can live with.

    • J.T.

      Yeah, and it's all about you and your "image pollution" and what YOU can "live with"? No, it's about the whole planet, and how we need to get over ourselves and start living like we're not the only species on the planet that matters.
      Think about this:
      “The Europeans see offshore wind turbines as sentinels,” Mandelstam told me, “protecting them from energy domination by foreign powers. When you put that against a few winter days of seeing turbines on the beach as you walk your dog, I think that’s a very easy trade-off.”

      • Renard

        @J.T. Just fyi, wind turbines are a real problem way more than "image pollution" as they KILL BIRDS!! Much as they are touted as a viable source of clean energy, which I completely support, I am NOT okay with killing birds so I can have electricity. Wind turbines also create a significant amount of noise pollution. Solar energy is a great supplemental source of energy, but solar cells are expensive, have limited capacity, and only work in areas on earth that get plenty of sunshine and are not subject to damage by severe weather. I have heard that solar "paint" that can be painted on a roof is up-and coming (see http://cleantechnica.com/2013/05/15/caution-wet-s…. That would be a wonderful option when it becomes affordable. If you have to be Bill Gates to afford clean energy, it really doesn't do the planet any good.

        You obviously have a very good heart and are seriously concerned about people's well being and honoring the earth. However, you seem to run on emotions rather than facts. We do need to find alternative energy sources that are clean and affordable. Do yourself a favor and do some research. Headway is being made. Check out geothermal energy which is clean and abundant. When we can figure out how to harness it to make it commerically available, we will have solved a good deal of our clean energy issues.

        • Cathy G

          Solar paint consists of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles have been dubbed "the asbestos of our time".

    • Cathy G

      Thinking about how amimals are treated in CAFOS is "image pollution" to me.

  • connie

    I understand the whole thing about eating less meat but some peoples bodies work differently. I have to eat meat not eating meat doesnt work for my blood type. I dont feel good so I think people need to look at this. I do eat small portions of meat and one steak can make 2 or sometimes 3 meals for me.

    • faye hall

      OK. But I used to feel that way and now I don't. It is a transition I went through, much to my surprise the last time I bought beef – and it WAS grass-fed beef – I had no appetite for it. It just felt too heavy. I do not know much about the eat-by-your-blood-type system, I just know that I felt unable to eat beef at this time. Yet I have friends who are happily chowing down on grass-fed beef and boiling bones to make stews, and I was eating that way at that time and it felt good then… I think we all go through different stages, and not necessarily in any order. I was at one time completely vegetarian but when I was pregnant I felt I needed meat…

    • J.T.

      Sorry, people's bodies aren't that different. I'm certain the problem is with the rest of your diet. Just not eating meat doesn't mean you're eating properly, any more than if you were to get all of your dietary needs from Frito Lay.:)

      • Renard

        @J.T.: You are incorrect. Everyone's body is completely unique, the same as a fingerprint. Therefore, everyone's physical needs are completely unique including what they eat, what type of physical exercise they can or can't do, how much food and exercise they need to maintain optimal health, what types of foods they can and can’t eat due to their genetic makeup, the amount of vitamins they need and in what proportions based on their individual makeup, the medication or natural remedies they use, etc.. One of the major problems on this planet that I see is the push to make everyone the same. My DNA is unique to me. It is my genetic fingerprint. There can be close matches, but not exact (even with identical twins). So your supposition that "people's bodies aren't that different" is completely off the mark. If you have type A+ blood and someone gave you B-, you'd die! Wouldn't want to do that. You might seriously want to re-think your belief and understand how unique we all are, including our bodies and our bodies' needs. Some people can't eat any animal products at all; it will hurt them profoundly and may kill them so they should be vegans. On the other hand, some people absolutely have to have meat or they will die. I know someone who simply cannot survive on a plant-based diet as he becomes completely emaciated based on his metabolism and level of physical activity, and he cannot possibly eat enough plant-based food and grains to keep weight on him as it would take about 50lbs a day which is impossible! Do yourself a favor and don't make such sweeping statements as "people's bodies aren't that different," especially when that is truly not the case. A good (and humorous) example are a couple of lines from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.” Brian is standing on a porch outside his room in the town inn and below him are a crowd of people in the town square. Everyone is shouting, “Brian, Brian…” Brian says, “We are all individuals.” One person in the crowd shouts out, “I’m not.” Brian was right!

      • Jose

        I agree with connie. I too have had to eat meat to feel better. I was a vegetarian for 2 years and a vegan for 6 months and my body deteriorated so badly that my body was eating my muscles just to keep going. Your average true vegetarian needs about 20g of protein a day. Tests done on my showed I needed 60-80 a day to stop this deterioration and this was very difficult to get from the more feminizing proteins in my vegan/vegetarian diet. I am sorry but there are really different types of bodies. Mine does not do well on starches and I cannot eat nuts or seeds due to a severe food allergy to them. I was never sicker than when I was vegan, semi-healthy when I was vegetarian, but much healthier as someone who incorporates some meat into my diet from organically raised chickens/eggs, and also some grass fed beef/lamb. I say some because my diet is mainly vegetables and fruits, but more so vegetables. I don't need dogma. I need what works for me and being a vegan/vegetarian strictly does not work for me. It does not mean that I don't care about animals. I think they are tortured in these big feed lots and I have signed tons of petitions to stop these dangerous 'farms'. These animals are not healthy and deserve fresh air, green pastures, and warm sunshine. At the same time I think the plants are tortured with herbicides and poisons. To me a plant is just as alive as an animal. Who wants a sick plant either.

        Often I hear that our digestive systems are more like the herbivores than carnivores and this is offered as proof that we are meant to be vegetarians. But many people fail to see that we are predators. Our eyes face forward like a tiger, lion, hawk and not are not angled more to the sides like a herbivore's (cow, rabbit, sheep) are. According to this, we are not only mammals but we are part herbivore part carnivore. Some people are closer to the herbivore side while others are more to the carnivore side. The proof for anyone is in the blood tests and their fitness regardless of any dogma.

  • Pingback: The truth about grassfed beef | Just The Messenger

  • sherman

    Several years back I started moving toward a Paleo diet, away from grains. Not a protein type person, so this is an uneasy balance that seems to work for me. I have several updates to this discussion: feeding cattle grains causes inflammation, as evidenced by marbelized fat running through most standard cuts. A similar belly-fat response occurs in humans from eating inflammatory foods, mostly from grains and milk, perhaps only 1/3 of all Americans are responsive, and no one responds in exactly the same manner. Bison cuts are amazing, their meat is so dense, you eat much less of it. Similarly, the grass-fed beef from Australia only has thin bands of fat at the edges. I can understand north of the Mason-Dixon line, it is unlikely that any cattle can be outdoors all year round. But what is sorely missing to better balance this discussion is N2 and the formation of N2O, the disruption of the nitrogen cycle and its effect on climate change. The US applies tens of millions of tons of synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers each year on the monoculture crops being grown in the midwest, and N2O is about 300 times more potent than CO2. Some of this goes up in the atmosphere and comes down with rain. Then there is direct nitrogen run-off into small and major waterways around the nation, promoting over-growth of algaes and weeds, choking off oxygen for fish and other aquatic life.
    Here, read one of the recent articles for yourself, it is not a pretty picture: http://www.whrc.org/resources/publications/pdf/Su

    • Cathy G

      Let's not forget that the corn is GMO.

  • Alexandra Wilson

    BOYCOTT THE COWS & BRING BACK THE BUFFALO!!!!!!! END THE INVASIVE SPECIES INDUSTRY & RESTORE OUR ECOSYSTEMS!!! WILLPOWER!!!!!!!!!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • Katrina

    We do not KNOW that OTHER animals lack reflective consciousness. The only reason they don't have rights in the human sense is because human animals do NOT give it to them – in the human "sense."
    My rescued several times over male mini-schnauzer Otto James definitely was a "person" in his own right and without a doubt in my mind he was aware of his life and his desire to struggle to survive and live and to protect me to keep me alive – he had more "morals" and "feelings" and so-called human attributes than almost all human animals I have ever known.

  • Katrina

    The majority of human animals are extremely sefl-centered and selfish and thus cannot grasp the concept that these other animal species have JUST as much right to their lives as humans have. Without a doubt, human animals can thrive on a vegetarian diet (real meaning is a diet of ALL plant foods without all the prefixes of lacto-, ovo-, etc used as seflish excuses to continue to kill other animal species for pleasure) – and thrive much better than on the "standard" diet that most humans consume. Thus, because human animals can thrive on a plant diet, then it becomes immoral to take another person's life for their pleasure.
    Being "nice and understanding" to those who are not nice and understanding really has NOT helped most human animals grasp the value of all animal species' lives. I believe humans need to be told bluntly what they are doing to themselves and other animals and the earth.

  • Katrina

    Will comment more when I have time, but after 16 years of eating a vegetarian diet and striving for a vegan lifestyle, I have very little hope that even a small percentage of human animals will ever really care about other animal species right to live, including those "other human animals" of whom they do not agree or approve.

  • Alan Kardoff

    I may be missing something. If the feed used now produces good cows ready for the slaughter, what is wrong? Trying to switch from corn to grass can be harmful.

  • Tyler
  • paul siemering

    pardon me if somebody said this, bit the problem of land use is huge. I'm reading about landless peasant in Brazil. So one they live in a shanty town the government sent them to. So one of them tells the reporter "they have everything and we have nothing" "who do you man" "the" he says pointing across the street where cattle graze on thick rich grass-300,000 acres. they also get health care, plenty of fresh water, none of which the peasants get.So i quit eating meet again.

  • Cathy G

    Over ten years ago, the New York Times magazine published an article discussing the difference betweenn grass fed and corn fed beef. The article said that grass fed beef has vitamin K and corn fed beef does not. I don't recall the explanation, but I remember the postulated conclusion that corn fed beef is responsiblr for heart attacks, not beef. Somehow the vitamin K keeps the cholesterol from clogging the arteries.

  • Cathy G

    There just are too many people for the earth to support and stay viable for further support of humans. We have crossed the line for how we treat animals in order for us to surive. We have crossed the line inn how we treat the earth in order to survive. Ii fear that if we do not accept the reality that we are overpopulating the earth, the line will be crossed to reduce the human population.

    • Leah

      I agree, it bothers me that no politician in the western world or the east, excepting China has the guts to do anything about the population problem. We can't go on without massive wars or disease decimating us. It would be better for us to control our fertility and to stop strutting around the diminishing world insisting on our right to choose how many children we have. The earth is our home and the more people there are in it the tighter everything will get. Look at us now having to worry about pollution and having to recycle everything because we've been so reckless. (Or have been pushed into consumerism by the profiteers. We all NEED some money to survive but not as much as we WANT. What situation are we going to leave our children in? It's heartbreaking.

  • Cathy G

    Factory farms are not healthy/inhumane for people/. See the below petition about a USDA inspector and factory workers at a Tyson chicken plant that are being poisoned by toxic chemicals that are put on the chickens.
    https://www.change.org/petitions/tyson-foods-stop

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • rawsomegal

    As much as grass fed beef is definitely a healthier option, I would never eat it. I live a whole food plant based lifestyle for over 22 years and will never eat animal foods.
    Yes, giving up meat will completely change the ozone layer and global warming in a very short time compared to driving a Prius and recycling. Research has been done and there is scientific proof that this is true.
    If everyone would start giving up meat one day a week and then over time eat less and less the people and Planet Earth will be healthier.

    G-d Bless all people!

    Click on my name to check out my blog with articles, product reviews, interviews and my 42 day coconut water cleanse. I promote companies and products that are pure, have integrity and care about the planet. If I don't use it, I don't recommend it!

    • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004603594716 Alidu Saayibu

      hello

    • Jane

      I hope you don't eat the processed veggie burgers that pretend to be meat. I would never have a problem with vegetarians if the food they choose wasn't processed to emulate animal products.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1037886586 Gerhardt Steinke

    It would further our understanding to have SPECIFICS on composiiton of EXACTLY a self-described “ex-vegan” ate.
    The “vegan” term rivals “low-fat” in being vague.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=649587739 Sara Vancea

    All people do best eating a vegan diet. This diet is high in these factors -anti-inflammatory, detoxifiers, nutrients and is good for elimination. It’s only those who don’t eat the right vegan foods, don’t do well. A diet very high in good fats, fresh greens, vegan proteins, vegetables and a small amount of fruit/sugar, will be having the most optimal diet in the world. Check UN research and population studies on a plant-based diet. Plenty of info there.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1799391598 Donna Chadick-Brown

    I “liked” Linden’s post, not for what she said but for the fact that just because I choose to not eat meat, I do not preach to others who do eat meat. Everyone makes decisions for their own reasons. Besides, unless a meat lover actually looks for information, they just do not want to hear about it! It helps keep them from feeling guilty. See no evil………hear

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112652419 Paul E. Nehrig

    So, Erleen, you kill animals and eat them and that’s ok with you?!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112652419 Paul E. Nehrig

    Linden Mae Morris Thank you !

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

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  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • https://www.facebook.com/ledabeth.gray Leda Beth Gray

    This is a test

  • juana

    come on people. what is WRONG with this whole picture? It's time to evolve and stop looking for excuses to why we can't follow a vegan diet. If you're not healthy on a vegan diet, than you haven't found the right combination of foods yet. There is no such thing as 'my body doesn't do well' on an exclusively plant-based diet. Meat is poison, carcinogenic, it is DEAD!! and we a live beings. How can you thrive on something that is DEAD??? and from an energetic perspective..it is dark. and karmically?? yeah, you're better off eating grassfed on a cozy farm rather than a factory farmed downer cow, but how about NOT EATING THE COW.???
    it's time to evolve.
    end the debate. shut down slaughterhouses. End consumption of animals.
    Animals exist for their own right. they have their own vitality and want to live as much as we do.
    Can you imagine killing your son or neighbour or friend but then saying 'well i gave them a humane death?
    senseless.

  • Pat Volk

    .

    ;Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian. vegan diet/"This remark was made by Einstein, who was a lot smarter that those who blather nonense. It will be necessary as the population grows to 9 billion. Do the math, 7 lbs of grain =I lb of meat.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000076888123 Janet Rossi

    there are currently no laws about the grassfed industry that prohibit ranchers from FINISHING their cattle in the feedlot right alongside the regular McDonalds cows. So essentially you could be paying big $$$ for grassfed – but if it does not say grass finished – you are eating meat from the feedlot…. I agree with minimizing animal consumption…more emphasis on vegetables and supplementing with B-12′s. too many drugs in the cows in general anyways regardless of grass or corn fed. Seems like we are destined to have a poor food supply……

  • Billy

    I would never presume to correct John, and I know that there are just too many inner-connected details on the subject of growing commodity animals to state every one conclusively in an article-length piece._With regards to:_“Natural food stores often sell organic beef and dairy products that are [[hormone- and antibiotic- free]]” _This is not accurate, because all meat and milk contains someone else’ hormones, especially milk, which is literally a hormone serum (saturated of course with about 60 hormones, so far identified, specifically designed by nature to grow a baby bovine into an infant

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  • Bea_S

    Eating grain-fed beef is extremely health hazardous. I also agree that we do eat way much more meat than we need. However, grass-fed beef is a great nutrient source. From the book, "Stop Worrying About Cholestrol", doctors have found that stop eating animal fats or reduction in animal fats, saturated fats consumption has been one of the true causes of health problems. The other point is I think that grain-fed plays a role in foodborne illnesses as shared here: http://www.waymae.com/Preventing-E-Coli_ep_56.htm….

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  • http://www.momsacrossamerica.com daysleeper3

    Regarding vitamin K2, please read Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. Dr Mercola has an free video interview online (googling vitamin K2 will get you there) with the author. Thank you.

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    While most seem to be happy about the presentation, I will take a contrarian position. The uncut hair (in this case the beard) and the dastar are Khalsa icons. While on a sociological level, there may be reasons to think 'we made it,' or we are 'stylish,' going back to Reema's point, do we want these gifts of our Dashmesh Pita to be commodified by a consumerist media? Are the 'bug-glasses' and name-branding also ways of 'domesticating' the Khalsa? If today we are 'stylish' and 'in-fashion,' do the gifts of our Guru become 'out-of-fashion' next year at Paris' determination?

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  • Farmer Mark

    As a small farmer who raises grass fed beef I have some sympathy for the article. However it gets pretty simplistic as well. In the cold, humid East we can effectively rotate the animals in ways that build the soil over time. My farm is quite sandy, but under intensive management the sod is improving every year. In the more brittle environment of the arid west it is harder to manage for soil improvement, but it's not impossible; same for the tropics. There is a lot of diversity of farms, some do a heck of a job, some not so much. If it worries you that your food isn't raised to your ethical standards, get out a look at the farm or at least ask some questions. My soils are pretty marginal for crop production, that's that case for a lot of soils around the world; it's well suited to grazing. While I would need employees and a high level of input to raise veggies or small scale grains, my cattle take maybe 100 hours of my attention per year and last year was a big input year at about $1000 worth of seeds and fertilizer. While I'm sure the cattle will have a bad day when they get killed, they lived well while I had them. I sleep just fine, and I eat like a king. My customers are happy with the product, think I'll stick with the program.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470134482 Diane Hebert Pease

    I have not eaten one bit of meat for over 30 plus years. I am 63 and very healthy. We can ALL thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I can’t stand the thought of an animal being cruelly slaughtered so that I could sit down and chew on its carcass for twenty minutes. If anyone thinks that animals are slaughtered humanely, think again. Most often they are not killed before they are being butchered and having their throats slit. There is no blood on my hands and there is no guilt in my conscience. If you had to kill the animal yourself instead of buying it’s remains in the grocery store, would you still eat it? Could you look into their eyes and take their life for your own enjoyment? Would you have your pets slaughtered when there is an alternative?

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470134482 Diane Hebert Pease

    I have not eaten one bit of meat for over 30 plus years. I am 63 and very healthy. We can ALL thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I can’t stand the thought of an animal being cruelly slaughtered so that I could sit down and chew on its carcass for twenty minutes. If anyone thinks that animals are slaughtered humanely, think again. Most often they are not killed before they are being butchered and having their throats slit. There is no blood on my hands and there is no guilt in my conscience. If you had to kill the animal yourself instead of buying it’s remains in the grocery store, would you still eat it? Could you look into their eyes and take their life for your own enjoyment? Would you have your pets slaughtered when there is an alternative?

  • https://www.facebook.com/michelle.wilsonbermingham Michelle Wilson Bermingham

    This article is excellent. It clearly makes you think and weigh your food/health options.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002038565824 William Hiatt

    I do not see where wind and solar farms are mutually exclusive of grazing cattle, Buffalo , elephants, and T-Rex perhaps.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002038565824 William Hiatt

    I do not see where wind and solar farms are mutually exclusive of grazing cattle, Buffalo , elephants, and T-Rex perhaps.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002038565824 William Hiatt

    I do not see where wind and solar farms are mutually exclusive of grazing cattle, Buffalo , elephants, and T-Rex perhaps.

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  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514155942 Leda Beth Gray

    Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  • K D

    There is nothing we can do to make our population growth sustainable. It doesn't matter if you eat meat or not. And when the fossil fertilizers run out people will starve. It's amazing none of the articles I've read even bother mentioning this.

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  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514155942 Leda Beth Gray

    Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514155942 Leda Beth Gray

    Here is what a friend said about the article– how would you respond? My biggest complaint is these people are still looking at old grazing management methods and not new ones. Why isn’t he helping change a horribly mismanage industry by promoting better methods? He complains about grazing in the Amazon and out west and does not encourage LOCAL production or differentiate between open-range grazing and intensively managed rotational grazing- there is a huge difference! Particularly on how grazing effects the climate. Management intensive grazing sequesters carbon (more than trees!), eats methane, reduces erosion and can encourage species diversification (hundreds of species of grass, herbs, forbes, etc evolved WITH BUFFALO) as anyone who has read Alan Savory, Andrew Voison or Joel Salatin knows. The focus should be on where your beef (or any meat and vegetables!) comes from. The more local the better.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1515483899 Raederle Phoenix

    Great article. The only part you’ve got it wrong on is that grass fed beef can’t be great for the environment. While I’m a vegan and a nutritionist, and support vegan living, I also say it is fine if animals are raised in a way that is good for the planet and good for the animals. Here is how that can be done (and still feed the absurd American hunger for meat): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI&list=PL296C08B1328A562E&index=16.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1515483899 Raederle Phoenix

    Great article. The only part you’ve got it wrong on is that grass fed beef can’t be great for the environment. While I’m a vegan and a nutritionist, and support vegan living, I also say it is fine if animals are raised in a way that is good for the planet and good for the animals. Here is how that can be done (and still feed the absurd American hunger for meat): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI&list=PL296C08B1328A562E&index=16.

  • Jordan

    If we want to feed 9 or say 50 billion people we need billions more farmers working smarter and harder on a lot smaller farms, tending multi layered animal and plant ecosystems. That means eating some meat and mostly plants is responsible. The people who say the earth won’t sustain say 10 billion are assuming the current monocrop, chemical fertilizer, GMO air-conditioned, diesel fueled paradigm, which is not sustainable. Also to say that we should eat only plants is naive, as nature always uses animal manure and grazing as part of a healthy ecosystem. Traditional Chinese agriculture produced yields per acre with indefinite sutainability that would feed any forseeable population but the farmers had to work physically hard and do smart things like composting human and other animal waste.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1515483899 Raederle Phoenix

    Great article. The only part you’ve got it wrong on is that grass fed beef can’t be great for the environment. While I’m a vegan and a nutritionist, and support vegan living, I also say it is fine if animals are raised in a way that is good for the planet and good for the animals. Here is how that can be done (and still feed the absurd American hunger for meat): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI&list=PL296C08B1328A562E&index=16.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000686882033 John Swart

    I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000686882033 John Swart

    I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000686882033 John Swart

    I just bought a bumper sticker that reads”there is no such thing as HUMANE MEAT”. Regardless of how they are raised animals (sensitive feeling beings like us) are still viewed as mere commodities and possessions and then killed by bleeding to death. Where is the humanity in that? I highly recommend the “world peace diet” by Will Tuttle to get the big picture on animal consumption.
    l

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=501529521 Stacey Citraro-againstanimalabuse

    Go Veg!!!!!! Make the connection if you love animals don’t eat them!!! If not for the animals, do it for the planet or your health???

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  • Jeffrey Michael Barefoot

    This is a wonderful summary of nearly all the key points of meat-eating that matter to me. Thank you. …And, thanks to Food Matters for reposting as well! I will be reblogging this at MinorityOutcry.com. :-) All the best.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000303251599 Susie Wilson

    Seems to me the only good answer is don’t eat any beef…cows won’t mind

  • Elephant108

    Eating Animals Kills You Too!

    Before animals are killed they are actually aware of what's going to happen to them, they secret adrenaline and other toxic chemicals that you consume when you eat them.

    Eating meat results in early heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease, diabetes, etc.

    What about killing plants?
    Plants do not secret dangerous chemicals when they die nor do they suffer when they are killed. Their nervous systems are not developed enough.

    Might Does Not Make Right
    Animal exploitation utilizes the sad "might makes right" doctrine that allows one group to dominate another group, oppress and abuse them.

    Animals are subjects of horrible abuse not just for food and clothing, but for entertainment, research and sport as well, none of which is necessary.

    There are other reasons to avoid meat (global warming, water pollution, grain shortages).

    Some call for more humane slaughter of animals, but what can be humane about killing animals against their will? It's no longer the ice age folks! We have a choice, so there is no morally justifiable reason to eat animals.

    Humane Meat? No Such Thing http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/can-animals-sav

  • Bill Hunt

    I think you should tell your readers where livestock fit into a balanced farming system rather than making blanket statements like “The sobering reality is that cattle grazing in the U.S. is already taking a tremendous toll on the environment.”
    Here in Australia, we graze our livestock (mostly sheep) on legume based pastures which are an integrated part of our total farming system. The pastures run for 3 years in which time the soil is enriched by dung & urine and a buildup of organic carbon and nitrogen from the decaying root materials of the pasture. While all this is happening hard to kill weeds are brought under control. This dramatically reduces our reliance on herbicides and fertilizers. Then at the end of the third year, after we terminate our pastures in the spring by making silage or fallow, we begin a four year grain crop programme, the profitability of which is enhanced by lower inputs and higher yields due to better soil fertility and drainage.
    The only access to grain our sheep have is the stubbles, principally the stuff that is lost at the cutter bar front and the lightweight grain, husks and straw that goes out the back of the harvester. There is also the question of droughted, flooded and frosted crops which are of no use to us weak gutted humans, but sheep & cattle find delicious. In a world where climate is becoming increasingly capricious, that is a pretty important question.
    If we were to run a continuous cropping programme the damage to the environment would be much higher. The risk of herbicide resistance to weeds, lower fertility, poorer soil drainage and hard panning would increase as would our reliance on artificial fertilizers and chemicals.
    For every 1 tonne of meat we produce about 55 tonnes of grain, so I think you are right, people need to get used to more vegetables and less meat, because I’m not about to change my farming system so some fat slob can pig out on meat. But there are a delicious range of casseroles, curries and stews which use a little meat and a lot of vegetables, beans and noodles and people should get used to them. But don’t think for one minute that because you can do without meat, that farmers can do without livestock, because they are the basis of a sustainable production system. Livestock are but one leg of the three legged stool of pasture, stock and grain.
    Take one away and the whole lot will fall over.

  • Ralph Graham

    Being from the land Bill (in Australia), I empathise with many things you say.
    .
    Change is hard, especially when it means changing one’s way of life, but if you grew crops you could opt out of this unsustainable ( globally, in the long term) system. You believe way less meat in the diet is good. Can you imagine, no meat? It is unimaginably good with a whole chapter of health benefits. And being able to sit down to a meal with the knowledge that you are at last not contributing to the needless suffering and death of animals, is a very nice bonus. A good reference is heartattackproof.com – and this only on the health benefits.