Considering January is National Meat Month, let us pause to reflect on our enduring love for red meat.
It’s worth noting the U.S. cattle population is actually in decline—it’s currently at its lowest level since 1951. Beef, which surpassed pork as America’s favorite meat in 1909, is now in second place behind chicken. And according to Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production, the amount of water needed for beef is only slightly more than the amount needed for rice. Two percent of greenhouse gases supposedly come from cattle (in the form of methane emissions, if you will). But as Niman recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, “Australian research shows that certain nutritional supplements can cut methane from cattle by half. Things as intuitive as good pasture management and as obscure as robust dung beetle populations have all been shown to reduce methane.” More important, “Research by the Soil Association in the U.K. shows that if cattle are raised primarily on grass and if good farming practices are followed, enough carbon could be sequestered to offset the methane emissions of all U.K. beef cattle and half its dairy herd.”
So by eating grass-fed beef, you’re helping the environment!