For 51 years, April 22 has been designated as Earth Day.
But for even longer, cattle raisers have loved this land and worked to leave it a little better than they found it.
Here are five reasons you can feel good about choosing beef today (and every day).
- We’re not competing with cows for food. Cattle generate more protein for the human food supply than would exist without them because their unique digestive system allows them to convert human-inedible plants into high-quality protein. That’s because 90% of what cattle eat is forage and plant leftovers that people can’t eat and would otherwise go to waste.
- Cattle are basically magicians. Since beef is produced from land that is otherwise unusable for food production, they expand the land available for human food production.
- Fire-fighting power. Grazing during winter can mitigate the grassland that acts as fuel during wildfire season and can even increase moisture levels in the area.
- Reducing your beef intake won’t make a significant impact on the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gas from beef cattle only represents 2% of emissions in the U.S. And when you add in the production of animal feed and necessary fuel and electricity, all beef production is still only responsible for 3.7% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. In fact, if all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated and every American followed a vegan diet, greenhouse gas emissions would only be reduced by 2.6%, or 0.36% globally.
- Doe, a deer, a female deer — and all the other creatures that coexist with cows. Livestock operations help maintain and improve grasslands and wildlife habitats.
Anyone up for celebrating? I recommend steak.
Katrina Huffstutler is the executive director of communications for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.