Sunday, August 9, 2009
Giving up Meat to Save the Planet
GreeenIsm piece by Guest: Dennis T. Avery
One of the persistent, shallow global food myths is that the world could feed more people if we gave up eating meat. Ezra Klein wrote another misguided column about this - “The Meat of the Problem” - in the Washington Post of July 29. Klein cites as his authority a naive “study” by the kids at Carnegie-Mellon University.
Klein asserts, “It is more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people.”
No, Mr. Klein, it isn’t. Either your kids haven’t done their homework, or they deliberately set out to promote vegetarian diets.
Point One: Our biggest source of livestock feed is . . . (drum-roll) . . . grass! Humans can’t get nourishment from it, but huge tracts of the earth’s land are too dry, too steep or too rocky for grain. We let cows and calves harvest sparse crops of grass from massive tracts of the American Great Plains, Canadian Prairie Provinces, the Australian Outback, New Zealand, the sandy steppes of Hungary, and huge tracts of Khazakstan—to name but a few grasslands.
Point Two: If these grassy areas aren’t grazed by animals, the dry grass will ultimately be struck by lightning, ignite, and release fiery clouds of CO2! Read More
The article that Ezra Klein wrote has received a lot of attention from both sides of the argument. Since people like Klein are so uneducated about beef production, they don’t realize that all cattle spend the vast majority of their lives eating grass. Dennis Avery does a great job of trying to educate consumers on the subject. Ruminant animals give us the ability to use a natural resource that humans can’t utilize. We would literally starve to death with our stomach full of grass. Ruminant animals on the other hand can take this resource and convert it into a protein source that is readily available to our digestive system. The argument that eating meat is destroying our planet is being made by those that don’t fully understand the beef industry.