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Should I reduce my consume of cattle?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Absolution, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Absolution

    Absolution Chieftain

    Mar 6, 2010
    **Just to make it clear, I'm not a vegetarian, and this is not the point of this thread**

    In recent years I hear a lot about how the cattle husbandry in the industrial world is one of the prime anti-environmental processes humans do.

    As an extreme environmentalist, and yet an anti-vegetarian (when it is used by vegetarians, I find the claim above, as well as some other scientific or pseudo-scientific claims, to be the supporting arguments for the initially emotional issue which wouldn't sell enough on its own), I started thinking that maybe I should check out ways to take my part in a future global reduce of mass cattle husbandry. It means reducing the use of anything that involves industrial cattle hold.

    But before I dive into this change of habits, I would like to make sure that I'm doing the right thing.
    I'd have to make some research regarding the real damage caused by this kind of industry.

    Several questions I have for you:
    1. Out of the vegetarian context - Is it really one of the top polluters / environment-destroyers? Can it be compared to Oil/Plastic industry, wood chopping, water consuming, stone/marble quarrying, or idk whatever industry is there that we should reduce as soon as possible?
    2. Is it only the cattle? Do the same arguments (water, food and land wasted on growing them) apply to other kinds of agriculture, such as fishing, poultry husbandry, or even grain growing? I assume they don't, but I would like you to point it out for me in case they do.
    3. Is there anything else I ought to consider? What is your general suggestion, regarding cattle husbandry, to someone who would like to achieve the most environment-friendly consuming habits?

    Thank you, and sorry for my cumbersome English...
  2. Michkov

    Michkov Chieftain

    Jul 5, 2010
    Clearly we should increase our cattle consumption. There has to be a point where we eat them to extinction thereby solving the issue.
  3. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Warlord

    Jun 26, 2014
    Two concerns I have when it comes to large-scale meat production are deforestation and the overuse of antibiotics. I know that 'grass-fed beef' has become a thing - I just saw 'grass-fed milk' in the supermarket this morning, for the first time - but I haven't really looked into why it's better, better for you, or better for the environment than meat from grain-fed animals. I think it might be better for the world if things like (good) barbecue and (good) hamburgers became expensive, occasional treats and tasty garbage like fast-food burgers and microwave burritos were replaced entirely by soy or whatever.
  4. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald stupid idiot

    Mar 4, 2013
    The end
    It doesn't really make sense to differentiate between industrial farming like cattle holding, and excessive water consumption (this enormous consumption is largely taken by agriculture) and wood chopping (usually done to make yet more farms)
    It's also hard to quantify environmental destruction, no?

    another thing is that farm animals these days get like filled with antibiotics, which only accelerate development of antibiotics-resistant diseases

    Cattle, hens, pigs, sheep et.c. are all handled in almost the same way. Wild fishing has its own set of issues, but like fish from "fish farms" are much the same story. obviously grain is an issue, partly because so much of it is used to feed livestock
  5. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

    Nov 24, 2005
    Pale Blue Dot youtube=wupToqz1e2g
    Yes. You should reduce your consumption of cattle.

    In general, cattle 'cost' more resources to raise to the point where you buy them. What happens is that they are fed many kilos of grain in order to get them to the 'proper' weight before market. Raising all of this grain expands our need for cropland - this means more deforestation and fertilizer runoff. Smaller animals, like chickens, require fewer kilos of grain per kilo of meat. Not just in total, but on a per kilo basis. Sheep and pigs, too, require less grain (per kilo of finished meat) in order to bring to market.

    This is a major reason why so many environmental organizations ask us to eat less beef.
    Absolution likes this.
  6. Hrothbern

    Hrothbern Warlord

    Feb 24, 2017
    Cows (ruminants) produce a lot of Methane compared to other animals we eat. Methane has a strong green house effect and after it decays in the atmosphere into CO2 it has still the normal green house effect of CO2.

    From a report of the FAO (global Food & Agricultural Organisation of the UN): http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/
    "Total emissions from global livestock: 7.1 Gigatonnes of Co2-equiv per year, representing 14.5 percent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions"
    "Emission intensities (i.e. emissions per unit of product) vary from commodity to commodity. They are highest for beef (almost 300 kg CO2-eq per kilogram of protein produced), followed by meat and milk from small ruminants (165 and 112kg CO2-eq.kg respectively). Cow milk, chicken products and pork have lover global average emission intensities (below 100 CO2-eq/kg.)".

    In Denmark they found out a nice way to reduce the methane of cows by adding oregano to the food.

    The FAO report indicates that there is in general still a lot of improvement possible in reducing GHG by the way we handle our livestock.

    The hype of grassfed cows is only partial justified. Here it also depends on what kind of grass cows get. The cows in my country are having more diarhea as natural because they eat grass with a high yield per sqm instead of the natural combination of grass and herbs of a truly natural environment.
    Cows that do eat that natural mix get more vitamins, minerals and micronutrients they need, and part of that good feeding is reflected in the quality of their milk, butter (more yellow from natural carotene), and meat.

    Is the same as with many vegetables that grow on soil that is meanwhile depleted from for example Magnesium. Causing less green and more yellow leaves, that also contain less magnesium for us when we eat it.

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