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  • Beef consumption and environmental concerns (especially methane)

    Hello all,

    I am a former vegetarian (and yes I am bitter about it). I've been transitioning from pescetarianism to more meat-eating for the past month in order to go fully primal. But despite the fact that I don't believe a vegetarian diet is optimal for health, I do continue to have environmental concerns about some meat production, especially beef. I realize pastured beef is much more environmentally sound than CAFO beef, but I am still unversed in the specifics of it. I am especially concerned about the methane that cows produce, which happens no matter what they eat. But does anyone know if pasturing them offsets that in any way? Anyone interested in starting a discussion about this?
    I don't own a scale and don't care to!

  • #2
    Honestly, in my view if the world is in such a delicate balance that some cows burping, farting, or whatever is going to screw things up that badly we are just f*cked anyway. How many cow farts = one volcanic eruption? Animals have been digesting, volcanos have been erupting, and the world keeps on spinning. Why stress it?

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    • #3
      Interesting article here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/natur...tarianism.aspx
      Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
      Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
      Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article

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      • #4
        Read The Vegetarian Myth.

        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-b...ested-reading/

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        • #5
          I am more concerned about the deforestation throughout the world to clear land so farmers can grow soy beans and corn for Monsanto. And if you think the forest are being cut down to graze cattle at anywhere near the rate they are disappearing to grow monoculture you are sorely misinformed.

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          • #6
            One book that presents a more personal view of the issue is The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend. I especially liked her non-strident take on how to improve your "hoofprint," gradually.
            "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

            My primal log

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tokenn View Post
              I know the ins and outs of the basic argument of "The Vegetarian Myth," but that's beside my point here. I know conventional agriculture is extremely damaging to the environment but I'm wondering about livestock, not agriculture. Reading "The Vegetarian Myth" seems to be a typical prescription for ex-vegetarians around here but I don't need to be convinced that conventional agriculture is detrimental.

              "The Compassionate Carnivore" seems more pertinent. ennasirk, would you say that after reading "The Compassionate Carnivore" you eat more, less, or different kinds of meat than most PB-ers? How do you tend to choose and eat your meat?
              I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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              • #8
                I'm not too worried about the methane produced by the animals, but there are other ecological concerns that affect my choice of meats. I try to eat local, seasonal food whenever I can, and that translates into also eating meat from local producers. I buy my meat at my farmers market and check carefully into the practices of the producers. We've also been working on buying whole animals rather than cuts when we can and using more parts of the animal.

                Another good option is to consider what animals are ecologically appropriate to your region and eat those meats more. For us that means eating bison and venison rather than beef most of the time--some local ranchers raise them around here, and they have the added benefit of great omega 3/6 ratios and being totally grassfed and antibiotic free.
                “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                Owly's Journal

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Karma View Post
                  I am more concerned about the deforestation throughout the world to clear land so farmers can grow soy beans and corn for Monsanto. And if you think the forest are being cut down to graze cattle at anywhere near the rate they are disappearing to grow monoculture you are sorely misinformed.
                  And given that trees absorb methane....


                  Of course, since I think the cows and methane argument is complete bullshit I don't really care.
                  A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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                  • #10
                    Belching from the nation’s 170 million cattle, sheep and pigs produces about one-quarter of the methane released in the U.S. each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That makes the hoofed critters the largest source of the heat-trapping gas.
                    Heat-trapping gas, hmmm … Considering that animals who burp and fart have been around for millions of years, you’d think this information would prompt intelligent people to wonder if the whole global-warming theory is a lot of cowpie. But that’s not how our friends at the Associated Press reacted. The article is clearly lamenting the fact that Congress is too afraid of the farm lobby to include cow burps and farts in legislation “to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

                    But of course, that legislation isn’t really about limiting greenhouse gases; it’s about collecting new taxes in the form of “air pollution” permits. If you have a functioning brain, you ought to be suspicious when natural gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are labeled as “pollutants” - especially when plants and animals have produced the vast majority of those gases since the dawn of time, at least among living creatures.

                    Normally, politicians can barely contain their excitement when they realize they’ve found something new to tax. If you’re a Monty Python fan, you may recall the sketch in which members of her majesty’s government were trying to figure out how to tax sex. So I believe the Associated Press when it says politicians are sidestepping the gassy-cow issue because they fear the farm lobby. But that misses the point. The intelligent reason not to tax this form of “pollution” is that it’s a deeply, totally, and unbelievably stupid idea.

                    In fact, the idea is so completely and utterly stupid, greenies and vegetarian activists couldn’t stop themselves from supporting it. The greenies love it because they tend to be scientific illiterates who believe natural gases are imperiling the planet, and the PETA crowd loves it because it punishes people who eat meat.

                    (If you want a good laugh, check out Penn & Teller’s Bull@#$% episode on environmentalism. They got hundreds of greenies - including supposed experts on the environment - to sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide … otherwise known as H2O … otherwise known as water.)
                    Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
                    Starting Weight: 294 pounds
                    Current Weight: 235 pounds
                    Goal Weight: 195 pounds

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                    • #11
                      If you're looking for book recommendations, I would suggest "Meat: A Benign Extravagance" by Simon Fairlie. GREAT book, especially if you're a nerd for scientific/agricultural details. Covers the whole methane thing pretty well, amongst other facets of meat production as a function of sustainable agriculture, and why animal husbandry is essential to a secure food supply.

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                      • #12
                        The amount of methane that I no longer expel since I gave up grains has got to make up for at least a couple of cows.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kenn View Post
                          Heat-trapping gas, hmmm … Considering that animals who burp and fart have been around for millions of years, you’d think this information would prompt intelligent people to wonder if the whole global-warming theory is a lot of cowpie. But that’s not how our friends at the Associated Press reacted. The article is clearly lamenting the fact that Congress is too afraid of the farm lobby to include cow burps and farts in legislation “to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

                          But of course, that legislation isn’t really about limiting greenhouse gases; it’s about collecting new taxes in the form of “air pollution” permits. If you have a functioning brain, you ought to be suspicious when natural gases such as methane and carbon dioxide are labeled as “pollutants” - especially when plants and animals have produced the vast majority of those gases since the dawn of time, at least among living creatures.

                          Normally, politicians can barely contain their excitement when they realize they’ve found something new to tax. If you’re a Monty Python fan, you may recall the sketch in which members of her majesty’s government were trying to figure out how to tax sex. So I believe the Associated Press when it says politicians are sidestepping the gassy-cow issue because they fear the farm lobby. But that misses the point. The intelligent reason not to tax this form of “pollution” is that it’s a deeply, totally, and unbelievably stupid idea.

                          In fact, the idea is so completely and utterly stupid, greenies and vegetarian activists couldn’t stop themselves from supporting it. The greenies love it because they tend to be scientific illiterates who believe natural gases are imperiling the planet, and the PETA crowd loves it because it punishes people who eat meat.

                          (If you want a good laugh, check out Penn & Teller’s Bull@#$% episode on environmentalism. They got hundreds of greenies - including supposed experts on the environment - to sign a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide … otherwise known as H2O … otherwise known as water.)
                          I'm not with you there. I do believe in global warming as someone who believes in the measurable effects of human activity on this planet...aka science. This just sounds like a lot of anti-vegetarian sentiment that I find so overwhelmingly pungent on this forum. Also, the whole conspiracy theorist thing around here irks me; yes, we're up against capitalism as we know it, but as a city dweller in a cash strapped state that believes in public schools and transit and such, I really can't blame politicians for wanting to solve major issues with increased taxes on those that exacerbate existing environmental problems. I do believe there are plenty of corrupt and misguided leaders out there, believe me, but I'm not going to wallow in the even more misguided anti-tax, anti-government crap when I plan on using public services for the rest of my life.

                          Let's make this clear: I am no longer a vegetarian, but I am not ANTI-vegetarian. I think a lot of the really committed, informed, and active ones are dead-on in their environmental convictions and do express that with their consumption habits well. I.e., turning against conventional agriculture, and becoming locavores like a lot of people around here.

                          I do believe the methane issue is real and would like to start a discussion about it. The PB is NOT perfect in all ways, just like vegetarianism. Which is why there is a forum for discussion about it.
                          Last edited by ilikesubtitles; 01-27-2011, 10:18 AM. Reason: grammar!
                          I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by spughy View Post
                            If you're looking for book recommendations, I would suggest "Meat: A Benign Extravagance" by Simon Fairlie. GREAT book, especially if you're a nerd for scientific/agricultural details. Covers the whole methane thing pretty well, amongst other facets of meat production as a function of sustainable agriculture, and why animal husbandry is essential to a secure food supply.
                            Thanks for the recommendation! I will look that one up. Hopefully they've got it at the library.
                            I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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                            • #15
                              GW has proven to be based on bunk science; so they changed it to Climate Change

                              In the 70s people were told that the world was cooling and entering an ice age, in the late 80's early 90s that acid rain would destroy us all.

                              The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot,

                              according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulafft, at Bergen , Norway . Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.


                              Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

                              Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.
                              Oh...this was reported by the Associated Press and printed in the Washington post on November 2, 1922.

                              The stuff behind AGW/CC is as bad and full of CW as thinking that FDR lead us out of the depression when in fact he merely enhanced Hoover's policies and made the country suffer more. Reference the depression of 1920/1921 that was avoided by doing the exact opposite of FDR.
                              Last edited by kenn; 01-27-2011, 12:34 PM.
                              Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
                              Starting Weight: 294 pounds
                              Current Weight: 235 pounds
                              Goal Weight: 195 pounds

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