Environmental Impact of Feedlot Beef

Environmental Benefits

Traditionally, all beef was raised on pasture, but today nearly all beef available commercially is feedlot beef. Like industrial farming, it is faster and more profitable ā€“ until the real environmental and health impacts are factored in.

Environmental Benefits

Cows are designed to forage for grasses. In feedlots, they are fed grain, primarily corn, to increase their weight in the shortest time. But because this is unnatural and disruptive to their systems, it causes bloating which they relieve by belching. Recent studies reveal that the methane gas from feedlot cows belching accounts for upward of 20% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That is in addition to the emissions from cutting down the forest to grow the corn, the fertilizer and diesel fuel it takes to grow the corn, and the emissions from transporting the cows to slaughter and then the beef to its point of sale, which often is across great distances. That is why replacing feedlot beef with beef that is pasture-raised–especially if it is raised, processed and sold locally–is one of the most important things we can do to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels. In all, it takes 3.5 times the number food calories to produce 1 calorie of factory-raised beef than it takes to produce local, pasture-raised beef.

May 13, 2013Permalink Leave a comment

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