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View Diary: What your hamburger really costs (36 comments)

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  •  What about free range? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl, Eddie L, debedb
    •  grass fed beef has it's own problems... (13+ / 0-)

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      And it's only 3 % of beef production

      Grass-grazing cows emit considerably more methane than grain-fed cows. Pastured organic chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming. It requires 2 to 20 acres to raise a cow on grass. If we raised all the cows in the United States on grass (all 100 million of them), cattle would require (using the figure of 10 acres per cow) almost half the country’s land (and this figure excludes space needed for pastured chicken and pigs). A tract of land just larger than France has been carved out of the Brazilian rain forest and turned over to grazing cattle. Nothing about this is sustainable.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:02:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks For That Info, Especially the Methane Figur (7+ / 0-)

        given that you've been pointing to it as the reason to start with meat reduction due to its ability to get cleansed out of the atmosphere so much faster than CO2.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:10:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow, excellent info to have. (6+ / 0-)

        People tend to think they've solved their problem of conscience by purchasing organic free-range products - like me with free-range eggs.

        The acre numbers are stunning and a great illustration of just how much beef we consume.

      •  Joel Salatin (mentioned in the NYT piece) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debedb, emptythreatsfarm

        has a rebuttal here.

        'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

        by Eddie L on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 06:32:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I also seem to recall, years ago, reading that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northerntier

        cattle and other very heavy quadrupeds raised for beef were also partially responsible for causing a lot more topsoil erosion than would otherwise exist, especially when they were 'free ranging' and allowed to walk down into streams to drink.

      •  I often read your diaries, because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini

        of their focus on global warming - the biggest environmental catastrophe to ever confront humans.

        However, you would really benefit from taking some time to learn about actual sustainable agriculture - not the straw man that the author of that craptacular NY Times article sets up simply in order to knock down.

        Sustainable agriculture currently produces a very small percentage of our foodstuffs, but compared to where it was twenty years ago, it has grown rapidly.

        Cattle shouldn't be put in feedlots.  Cattle should not be raised in fragile, arid areas.  Cattle production should not withdraw large volumes of water.  Cattle shouldn't be grazing for long periods in riparian areas.  Rainforest shouldn't be cut down in order to grow pasture or feed for cattle.

        And guess what, I personally know dozens of people who are raising cattle without doing any of those things.

        A recent study from the National Trust in the UK showed that in upland areas well-managed grazing can even result in a net sequestration of carbon into the soil.  And guess who is behind most of the "studies" claiming that grassfed beef has a higher carbon footprint than feedlot beef?

        I'm still working on calculations, but the soil tests on my farm have shown a significant increase in organic matter in grazed areas - and organic matter is heavy on carbon.

        So please, keep the laser focus on global warming.  Keep it on industrial agriculture.  Keep encouraging people to stop eating industrial meat.

        But stop claiming there is no thing as sustainable livestock production.

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