Saturday, December 15, 2007


I am pretty much an all beef all the time type of consumer. Your recent video on YouTube re: beef and the environment is troubling. I have had my ears up for many years on the subject and, contrary to your stated experience, rarely hear anybody claiming that our beef industry is the biggest CO2 producer in the US. It seems like I might have heard a few comments like that back in the ‘70’s but not since that time. I occasionally do hear our approach to beef producing is a significant contributor of CO2 which fits with the facts of the 2% that you quote--two% of the amount of CO2 the USA produces is, in fact, a huge number. I cannot imagine what is gained by your exaggerating the truth to the point that most readers know that it is just not true at a glance? When you do that, the informed people you are trying to convert, sway, or inform just turn a deaf ear to anything that follows and your whole purpose of informing them about the virtues of the beef industry is defeated.

Beef is environmentally friendly because of the large segment of the beef production chain--from conception to the entrance gate of a feedlot--that is almost entirely based on native or low input domesticated perennial forage plants growing on land that cannot produce plant materials for human consumption in a truly sustainable and environmentally safe fashion. As you well know, whenever animals start consuming materials from land that can safely produce plant crops that humans can eat the degree of environmental friendliness decreases. It is not fiction that beans from a given acreage can feed more people than can be fed if the beans are fed to beef animals and the beef is consumed by people. Personally, I don’t like beans but that does not make the feedlot to slaughter segment of the beef industry more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ecologically efficient than using the same land to produce human edible protein as you have claimed. I agree with you on how much more efficiently we raise beef today than in the past and we should be proud of it and make it known to the public. I also agree with you about implants. And, I think beef producers should be especially proud of the way they have incorporated a vast variety of processing byproducts into high quality beef feed.

One thing that always amuses and amazes me is that beef producers and organizations do not brag about the environmental friendliness of their product as compared to that of pork and poultry products which comes from animals whose life-time diets come primarily from land that could safely grow human consumable protein that doesn’t need to be transformed by an animal.. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Jerry Dodd
Lawton, Oklahoma 73505