Monday, June 1, 2009

Maher and Pollan Using Their Own Facts

Bill Maher on global warming: forget the beef!
May 31, 5:21 PM
By: Jean Williams

On Maher’s show Friday night, Real Time with Bill Maher, he talked about the need to reduce beef consumption and change eating habits, as an effective way to combat global warming. A subject Bill has been advocating for years and considers methane gas produced by cows, to be one of the “giant facts that goes unreported” when discussing global warming contributors.Bill interviewed author Michael Pollen, who was promoting his latest book, “In Defense of Food”, and his recent documentary, “Food, Inc.”

Mr. Pollen made the observation that our country’s food system has been taken over by large corporations that go to great lengths in their packaging and marketing to keep the public naïve about how cows are raised and processed. Pollen said that herds are kept on feedlots in confined spaces, while standing in their own feces, and exist in brutal conditions, before they are slaughtered.

“Cows are fed corn, which makes them sick” said Pollen, “then they have to be given antibiotics to make them better. They should be eating grass, not corn, but it is cheaper and it makes the meat more marbled (tender). Also, grass eating cows produce less methane, because it is their natural diet.”

A recent article in, was entitled “Skip the Steak”, and asked the question, “which is more responsible for global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac?” Turns out it’s the Mac.

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There are many things in this article that need to be corrected. First, herds aren’t kept in feedlots. A majority of the time, cattle that are being finished for harvesting will spend some time in a feedlot, but normally only 60-90 days. The cows that produce the calves that eventually are finished may never see a feedlot during their life. Pollan also talks about feeding corn to cattle. He claims that cattle on grass produce less methane, which is in direct disagreement with scientific research on the subject. And again, he refuses to acknowledge that the US livestock industry contributes less than 3% of GHG emissions in this country according to the EPA.

Several years ago, Maher did another interview with Pollan, where he told his version of the story of the corn industry and all of the “evils” of utilizing corn. At the end of the interview, Maher said that he knew Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of thousands of American, but he didn’t realize how many the corn industry was responsible for. Pretty much they are both against American agriculture. Pollan admitted to my family after interviewing us for his “Power Steer” article that he has to sensationalize stories to make them sound good. It’s just too bad that he has lied to himself and the American public enough that they are both starting to believe it.


Tiffany said...

I recently read an article that grass feed beef is worse for the enviroment than conventional corn feed beef.

diana said...

Telling half truths is well self serving. Natural is better. We raise black angus and they are all grass fed we eat vegetables that are grown on our farm. We can not eat at resturants because it makes us sick!! To me it is what is done to the food after it is raised. Eat real food and you will be healthier. REAL milk, Real meat, Real vegetables and if you can't identify it on the label its not REAL food.

Troy Hadrick said...


i think it's great that you have found a production system that works for your particular operation. However, why do you feel the need to run down other production systems. Natural isn't necessarily better than anyother way of raisisng cattle. It's just different.

It's important that we continue to provide the consumer with many different choices.