Eating beef isn’t as manly or as patriotic as you think it is, and it definitely isn’t doing your health or the health of the planet any good.
Here are 10 reasons why you should skip the Big Mac and leave cows to get on with their own business:
1. Someone had to die for that steak (obviously). Beef is the flesh of a cow, and that cow was once a living, breathing, feeling individual that had a right to live free from pain and suffering. Cows are branded, have their horns cut off and males are castrated, all without anesthesia. At the slaughterhouse, they are shot with a bolt gun to the brain, hung upside down and their throats are slit. Many cows are still conscious throughout the process.
2. Dioxin. Beef contains worrying quantities of the toxic organic chemical dioxin which has been linked to cancer, ADD, immune deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, birth defects and nerve and blood disorders. A single hamburger contains 300 times as much dioxin as the EPA states as an acceptable dose for an adult!
3. Beef is an inefficient use of grain. One third of the world’s grain harvest is used to feed cattle. It’s not logical to grow grain to feed animals when there are an estimated one in every six people going hungry each day, and only a fraction of what we feed cows is actually turned into flesh that humans can eat. It’s much more efficient for grain to be consumed directly by humans.
4. Beef is a waste of water. Water is a precious resource and it’s wasteful and irresponsible to squander this for something we don’t need. It takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. There is no alternative to water so we cannot underestimate usage. If we run out, we cannot grow food or maintain vital life functions.
5. Beef is a pollutant. Factory farms and feedlots produce a massive amount of toxic waste that pollutes both the air and water. The feces, which is stored in huge lagoons, seeps into nearby waterways killing fish and destroying water quality. It also emits harmful chemicals into the air. Studies show that people living near factory farms have higher rates of miscarriage, neurological diseases and respiratory problems.
6. Beef is destroying the world’s rainforests. The high demand and price of beef encourages ranchers to burn forests to create new rangelands. This never ending cycle of destruction has driven thousands of plant and animal species to extinction, and is causing a strain on the earth’s ability to covert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
7. Beef is causing desertification. Beef production is one of the major causes of desertification around the world. Delicate root systems are destroyed by overgrazing, unsettling the topsoil which is then eroded by winds leaving only the clay/sand subsoil behind.
8. Happy Meals are making our children obese. Fast food industry giants target children in their marketing, causing them to associate eating at these restaurants as a positive and fun experience, and as a result our children are fatter and unhealthier than ever before.
9. Cows are amazing animals. Like humans, cows have best friends and form close friendships with their herd mates. They choose to spend their time with 2-4 preferred individuals, and can hold grudges for years if they take a disliking to someone. They get excited when they solve problems, they like sleeping close to their families, can detect odors up to five miles away, have a 360 degree panoramic vision, are devotional mothers and are generally extremely inquisitive animals.
10. It’s probably not beef. Chances are that lasagna you’re tucking into is not even beef after all. It could be horse, donkey, pig or who knows, it may even be stray dogs or cats that have been rounded up from the streets, especially if it’s an imported product!
Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison)