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· US: Senator Fischer: America's Beef Producers Are Not Villains
· UK: British farmers are not the enemy in the battle against the climate crisis
Senator Fischer: America's Beef Producers Are Not Villains
Senator Deb Fischer And Fox News
via Drovers - November 1, 2019
Gina Pospichal, a Nebraska cattle producer, was recently thumbing through the news on her phone when a certain headline caught her eye. She saw the anti-meat campaign rolling through her social media feed after Ellen DeGeneres made a tagline plea to her more than 77 million Instagram followers. "Be neat," DeGeneres wrote. "Eat less meat … It’s better for you and it’s better for the environment and for the animals."
On behalf of America’s cattle producers, Gina took great offense to those false statements which sparked this campaign. As she said, it was one more “punch in the gut to America’s cattle producers.” So, she decided to pen a letter to Ellen herself.
She recalled the memories of her father who was tough as nails, yet shed tears when his favorite cow died of old age. She wrote of her eight-year-old son who once spent the night in their barn to try to help nurse an injured calf back to health. And she remembered her husband who, as those severe floods raged through their farm last March, risked his life to save a calf in danger.
This is what the trendy food fads and campaigns fail to realize: feeding the world is more than a job. It’s an identity and a way of life for many Americans. It’s generations of hardworking farmers, ranchers, and ag producers like Gina who have been nurturing and regenerating our land for hundreds of years.
Still, anti-meat crusaders – equipped with faulty logic and cherry-picked statistics that villainize beef producers – think they wear a crown of moral authority.
A recent Bloomberg editorial beckons Americans to “curb their appetite” and “give up meat” claiming livestock are the boogeyman of greenhouse gas emissions. But if you look at the facts, they tell a completely different story.
New analysis from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service finds that beef cattle produce only 3.3 percent of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). By comparison, the transportation and electrical industries generate 56 percent of our nation’s total GHG emissions. In fact, researchers at Virginia Tech found that if every person in the country suddenly went vegan, GHG emissions would drop a mere 2.6 percent in the United States, while our national diet would suffer from insufficient nutrients.
Livestock regenerate the land, allowing us to produce food on marginal surfaces and provide much-needed sustainability to our global food system. Those "meatless Mondays" would only increase use of synthetic fertilizer and lead to higher rates of soil erosion.
For decades, professional activists have also linked eating to developing cancer and heart disease. But according to new research from the Annals of Internal Medicine, that connection was out of line too.
This study featured in The New York Times is among the largest evaluations in history. The research found that if health advantages exist from eating less beef or pork, it’s insignificant and evidence is insufficient to urge individuals to change their diets.
Other researchers at Penn State University found that beef contributes to a heart-healthy lifestyle. People who consume four ounces of lean beef every day as part of a nutritious diet maintain healthy cholesterol levels. A three-ounce serving of cooked lean beef also contains more than half of your daily value of protein. At the same time, it provides consumers with healthy sources of iron, B-6 and B-12, zinc, and many other essential nutrients.
What’s more, a popular plant-based meat alternative company recently announced it would take down misleading health statistics featured on their website, after critics called for evidence for their claims.
Beef only contains one ingredient: beef. While plant-based meat alternatives often contain a long list of ingredients commonly found in a variety of processed foods like magnesium carbonate, which is also in fire-extinguishing compounds, and propylene glycol, commonly used in e-cigarettes.
Does that sound like a healthier option to you?
The heart of America beats in the same rhythm as agriculture...
British farmers are not the enemy in the battle against the climate crisis
As a cattle farmer I come under constant criticism, but UK livestock production is among the most sustainable in the world
Joe Stanley, Opinion, The Guardian (UK)
3 Nov 2019
I am a farmer, the third generation to grow crops and pedigree beef cattle on my family’s modest farm on the edge of the picturesque Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. Summer and autumn is primarily given over to long days of harvesting and planting crops while our 150 traditional longhorn cattle munch at grass; in the long winter nights, they come indoors to shelter and chew at hay harvested and stored in the spring.
Most of you reading this, I would wager, are not directly associated with agriculture. It might therefore be assumed that there’s a gulf between our plains of existence, that we do not and cannot understand each other. I believe this is a false assumption.
In recent months many farmers have felt a genuine sense of beleaguerment; the tectonics of our world have shifted perceptibly. While a hard Brexit poses an existential threat to our livelihoods and heritage (the chill winds of which are already being felt), we are also baffled as to why we have come under sustained assault from much of the media for farming’s contribution to climate change. The echo chamber of the virtuous seems to have decreed that modern agriculture deserves a good hiding for its sins; real, exaggerated and imagined. Demand for help from charities specialising in aid for farmers, both mental and financial, is increasing.
Yet when it comes to our food, we all appreciate that we live in a world of finite resources, within a warming atmosphere, and that a sustainable approach to our food production is – in the long run – the only responsible approach. Trust me, farmers are at the coalface when it comes to the worsening consequences of the climate crisis. We feel the effects in our everyday lives.
Where our understandings may diverge, however, is in the reality of what sustainable food production really means for your shopping basket, your diet and for food policy in this country. Red meat is currently the bęte noire of the environmentalist movement. As a farmer, it’s impossible to go a day without being assailed by criticism of this oldest of farming practices. But it isn’t out of personal or professional pride that I take exception to the false, binary narrative that switching to a “plant-based diet” is necessary to avert climate disaster. It’s frankly a facile misrepresentation of the evidence.
Take the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on land use and climate change. Meat consumption was only one element of a balanced look at global agriculture, but it has become a clarion call to western veganism – despite the IPCC promoting the “opportunities and benefits of resilient, sustainable and low greenhouse gas-emission (GHG) animal-sourced food”. As the report says, there are vast global variations in the sustainability of food production. In the UK, we happen to be world-class. Ruminants such as cattle emit methane; they are a source of GHGs. But permanent pasture – accounting for 70% of farmland in the UK, on which nothing else can be grown – is also a GHG sink. Grassland absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as the grass grows, and sequesters it in the soil as organic matter; the more it’s grazed and trampled by livestock, the more it absorbs. In the UK, 10 million hectares of grassland hold 600 million tonnes of CO2 and sequester another 2.4m tonnes per year. UK agriculture as a whole contributes some 10% of the UK’s GHG emissions – but this takes no account of our ability to also act as a sink. This dichotomy makes farming unique in the economy.
British livestock production is among the most sustainable in the world...
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