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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meatless Mondays a farmers perspective

Have you heard of it? 

More and more you may have heard of this thing called Meatless Monday - a great way to save the planet, improve your health, improve animal agriculture - I say rubbish. However, there will always be people out there that disagree with me. Like Grant Butler, from the Oregonian. He writes,

Last month, the health and environment advocates at the Environmental Working Group came out with their "Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health." The guide is designed to help consumers understand how food choices affect both their environmental footprint and their health, and ranks the carbon footprint of protein sources, factoring in every stage of food production, processing, consumption and waste disposal.  
The three protein sources with the biggest carbon footprint were lamb, beef and cheese, which require the most greenhouse gas emissions to produce. Among the greenest choices were lentils and beans. 

Butler is a big fan of meatless meals. Let's take a further looks at the "Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change and Health," that he quotes. I am not sure how they developed their numbers, listing beef as one of the worst things you can keep due to it's high impact on the environment as Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Associate Professor was interviewed for the USA Today story on the Meat Eater's Guide, and put this report into perspective, saying that "scientific lifecycle assessments of meat production haven't been conducted." If the research hasn't been conducted where does the numbers come from? 


He goes on to say that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 3.4 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of animal agriculture and "by changing the focus to eating habits, people think it doesn't matter whether they drive a Hummer or a Prius, it's whether they eat a burger or not." 


One of the Boy's Hereford Steers that
we will be eating this fall. We hope one
 day to sell freezer beef to consumers.
And what is my response to eating beef? Well beef is environmentally and nutritionally friendly. Raising a serving of beef today uses 30 percent less land, 20 percent less feedstuffs and 14 percent less water than it did when we were raising beef in 1977. In each serving of that beef you are giving to you family you are getting 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins. Beef is like Mother Nature's vitamin. 


I am going to make sure those light switches are turned off at home and we use a programable thermostat in the house to control the temperature to help be more environmentally I will not be participating in Meatless Mondays.


For another great blog on Meatless Monday's and how the numbers add up visit Bovidiva's blog Meatless Mondays don't amount to a hill of beans or do they?


I also like this fact sheet comparing the Environmental Impact of the U.S. Beef Industry in 1977 to 2007.


And for some great recipes check out my Hunk of Meat Monday recipe or visit Beyer Beware and check out tons of her Hunk of Meat Mondays.

10 comments:

  1. Seriously? The world is just going crazy! Eating meat or not is not going to change the world. Obviously, people have too much time on their hands. They need to get out there and raise some beef or veggies.

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  2. Crystal someone also needs to comment on soy bean production and how its increase is now a major factor in deforestation in tropical zones (plant life, and in particular trees, are a huge carbon sink...meaning they help offset CO2 production instead of it accumulating in the atmosphere). The deforestation negatively affects a multitude of species in these areas, which are also the most species rich on earth, and are responsible for not only moving humans into areas which were previously not easily accessible without the roads etc to reach the now agricultural area.

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  3. Oops! Posting from my iPad :/ . To finish my point, while soy production may not require a huge carbon output to produce, on the surface, the amount of damage it does to the environment and the cruelty to animals resulting from a loss of habitat as the markets attempt to supply the increased demand tends to be ignored. Loss of habitat is the largest contributor to loss of species richness...and ironically the increase in soy production to supply those who do not wish to hurt animals is doing just that. So I too will skip meatless Mondays and try to find other more effective ways to aid our environment. Ok, I'll get off my soap box now. If you'd like references I'll send you some when I'm back on that side of the pond.

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  4. lol. They are funny. They use feed lot beef when they come up with those figures, not beef raised the way God intended.

    And those same people did away with old fashioned light bulbs that could be recycled and replaced them with bulbs that have to go to Hazardous Waste disposal. Where's the green footprint there?

    I'd eat your beef 7 days a week, if I could. :)

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  5. Yes, this is too funny yet somewhat irritating. As a born and raised farm/ranch girl with my own small cattle herd, I feel I need to help argue the point! But, go ahead and refuse to eat meat on Mondays, I'm not sure that the small amount of people participating would really hurt production anyway. People are so easily manipulated when it comes to "being green" or "eating healthy." But, sorry "Meatless Monday" participants and advocates, I am going to enjoy a big juicy steak every Monday just for you! O, and probably a side of something with cheese!

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  6. I agree, Danielle. More for the rest of us. :)

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  7. Meat is a part of any healthy diet. I cannot change the opinions of the screamers but I will influence those that are unsure of the media headlines and WHY the need for meatless meals at all. Thanks for highlighting Hunk of Meat Mondays!

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  8. Thanks for everyone's comments.

    Suzie I would love to read some of your information on this subject. However, I don't think I am about to discredit soy products yet. They are an important crop to American farmers, who are raising them in a sustainable way.

    LindaG - although they may be comparing them to feedlots, I think feedlots are an important part of our beef industry. We simply don't have enough land to raise all of our cattle on grass. However, I am able that the consumers have a choice on what kind of beef they purchase.

    Katie - awesome point!

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  9. I love me some Beef! I encourage all of my friends to eat more of it. They are on this big chicken kick right now because it is so "healthy". ughhh!

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  10. Sassysoutherliving - be sure to let them know of the 29 lean cuts of beef. They are the ones that have loin or round in their name. Also, think of it this way - you order chicken and then cover it in all those fatty sauces.

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