Commentary: Beef- It’s What’s for Dinner, for Now


By Gary Truitt, Hoosier Ag Today (IN)

May 2, 2021


The month of May is National Beef Month; and beef is getting a lot of publicity, but not the kind we need. The vegans, tree huggers, animal activists, and other anti-meat forces have been joined by a new and rather unlikely group: Republicans.  In their non-stop effort to throw the Biden administration under the bus, they are claiming that the President wants to limit meat consumption and confiscate farmland as part of his climate change plan. Fox news reported, as fact, that the President planned to limit Americans to only eating one hamburger per month. Conservatives then spread this like wildfire across social media.


Soon other news organizations, both liberal and conservative, picked up the story. Never asking if it was true, they commented on the subject. Like often happens with such things, the original story was lost and was expanded to many other issues. This included that the government was going to take control of 30% of the nation’s land as a way of limiting beef production.


By the next day, the situation had gotten so out of hand that the Secretary of Agriculture had to issue a statement: “There’s no truth to the talk that the Biden Administration wants to take land away from people and discourage consumers from eating beef to help fight climate change.”  Vilsack did admit that, “The President wants to protect 30 percent of the nation’s land by 2030 but doesn’t plan to use eminent domain to take possession of that land.”


All of this provided great fodder for those who want to bash Biden and for those who want to propagate the myth that beef production is bad for the environment.  Cattle only account for 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.  They are efficient grazers and part of the ecosystem.


These facts get lost in the climate change rhetoric.  For example...





Pushing chicken doesn’t get people to eat less beef

Eating poultry and fish to reduce the production of land-based meat is an environmentally friendly idea, but it’s not working, research indicates.


by Jim Barlow-Oregon, Futurity

Source: University of Oregon - May 3rd, 2021


Sociologist Richard York of the University of Oregon recently conducted a new analysis of 53 years of international data. His findings appear in the journal Nature Sustainability.


“If you have increases in the production of poultry and fish, it doesn’t tend to compete with or suppress other meat source consumption,” he says. “It would be great if more poultry and fish production and consumption would reduce that of beef, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”


In 2012, a study by York in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the same human behavior played out with new technologies offering renewable energy sources to potentially replace fossil fuel-based production; adding new sources doesn’t substantially suppress an existing, long-used source.


“They end up not in competition,” York says. “Adding more wind doesn’t really result in using less coal. If we use more energy sources, we use more energy. Likewise, when additional meat choices are offered, that additional variety tends to, more simply, increase overall meat consumption.”


The new study provides a baseline view...


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