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    ilikesubtitles's Avatar
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    Beef consumption and environmental concerns (especially methane)

    Primal Fuel
    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?

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    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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    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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    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

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    Quote 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?

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    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

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    Quote 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.

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    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.)

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