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Beef’s Dirty Secrets (VIDEO)

Beef’s Dirty Secrets (VIDEO)

Is meat a sustainable food? In 2006, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization released a revealing report that showed animal agriculture may potentially contribute more to global climate change than cars, producing roughly 18% of the greenhouse gases that human activities add to the atmosphere each year.

And the environmental damage caused by large scale industrial production of meat doesn’t stop there — improperly handled animal waste from factory farms has been implicated as the cause of poisoned crop fields and contaminated water supplies.

Inform, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, recently created a video, The Secret Life of Beef, that highlights several major environmental problems associated with industrial farming of cattle for meat.

It’s a great quick summary of the primary reasons why many environmentalists and sustainable food advocates are concerned about the industrialized world’s ever-increasing consumption of beef. Vegetarians who are tired of explaining their dietary choices to skeptical relatives over Thansgiving dinner, take note: The Secret Life of Beef could serve as a good introduction, for the uninitiated, to the environmental argument for vegetarianism.

But for the benefit of eco-conscious omnivores, Inform’s video also highlights the efforts of environmentally-conscious farmers who are working to promote more humane, eco-friendly methods of producing beef.

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Photo by Jon Sullivan. Public domain. From Wikimedia Commons.

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6:04AM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Grazie delle informazioni.

4:46AM PDT on Apr 26, 2012 The Secret Life Of Beef. A link.

4:44AM PDT on Apr 26, 2012 The secret life of beef link.

7:02AM PST on Jan 22, 2011

I bless the day I decided to be a "veggie!"

5:51PM PST on Jan 13, 2011

Diane, we can't go 'back', but we certainly can go forward to family farms. Small, locally-based farms CAN feed the current population.

We just need to invest in them in the same way we currently invest in the Industrial Agriculture model with billions in subsidies. Imagine of that money was directed towards sustainable farmers instead of Cargil and Mopnsanto!

7:14AM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Reducing our population would help reduce the need for fast turnover, production of our food sources, both plant and animal.
It's the need for more food to support our ever growing population that causes the current problems. I wish we could go back to the manageable family farms, where people really cared about the treatment of their farm animals.

10:59PM PST on Dec 20, 2010


12:24AM PST on Dec 11, 2010

you don't need to give up meat to help the environment immensely.

kangaroos produce almost NIL greenhouse gasses, the meat looks & tastes exactly the same as beef but with less fat, and 'roos domesticate incredibly easy. I eat more 'roo than beef, pork & lamb together & my health is fantastic for it.

1:13PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Ms Judy-The exception I take is your first paragraph that inaccurately attempts to interpret the UN study in question as implicating all 'meat' when it is ACTUALLY a an indictment of factory farm methods, and not animal husbandry in general.

To inaccurately reference the 2006 UN study is a common tactic I see here on care2, and from other PETAphiles. Since I have actually READ the study numerous times, I know just how badly you are bastardizing it's info and conclusion in order to prop up your pre-determined ideas about 'meat'.

So, perhaps it is you who needs to actually read the UN study in question instead of repeating PETA talking points that have been debunked repeatedly for years now.

9:39AM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Sir Walk F.,

Jaelithe is my real name. It is an uncommon name, but it's not fake.

I invite you to reread (or perhaps read in the first place?) the last paragraph of my post, in which I state that the video highlights eco-friendly farming methods for those who wish to eat meat that is raised in a more sustainable fashion. Nowhere in my post did I state that all meat is factory-farmed. Nor did I assert that meat could not be sustainable -- I only pointed out that some scientists have questioned its sustainability.

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