Eat­ing meat not bad for en­vi­ron­ment

Lethbridge Herald - - READER’S FORUM -

This letter is in re­sponse to com­ments in The Her­ald as well as some pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment mem­bers ad­vo­cat­ing eat­ing less meat.

As a farmer, I would like to tell you why eat­ing meat is not harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment. Quite the op­po­site; agri­cul­ture with­out meat pro­duc­tion is not sus­tain­able!

Through­out the ages farm an­i­mals were raised not only for food pro­duc­tion, but also for the much-needed nu­tri­ents an­i­mals pro­duce in the form of ma­nure. Ma­nure con­tains both macro and mi­cro nu­tri­ents needed to re­plen­ish the nu­tri­ents in the soil which the plants re­move. Also, be­cause ma­nure is re­new­able, it’s the most sus­tain­able fer­til­izer. Live­stock pro­duc­ers help feed ve­g­ans that pre­fer to buy fruits and veg­eta­bles grown with re­new­able, or­ganic fer­til­iz­ers.

Se­condly, there are many by-prod­ucts from food pro­duc­tion that are not suit­able for hu­man con­sump­tion, such as corn dis­tillers grains, canola meal, soymeal, wheat mid­dlings and many, many more. Not to men­tion all the marginal land that can only grow grass which can’t be used for pro­duc­ing food for hu­mans. These prod­ucts are cur­rently all used in an­i­mal feed ra­tions where they are be­ing re­cy­cled into meat, dairy, eggs, etc.

As live­stock farm­ers, we must be con­scious of the en­vi­ron­ment and we are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. Even so, I think here in North Amer­ica we have a suc­cess story to tell; live­stock farms have come a long way from back in the ’50s. I’ll give you an ex­am­ple: in 1950 there were 22 mil­lion dairy cows in the U.S. pro­duc­ing 117 bil­lion pounds of milk. In 2015 there were nine mil­lion dairy cows in the U.S. (-59 per cent) pro­duc­ing 209 bil­lion pounds of milk (+79 per cent). The car­bon foot­print per pound of milk pro­duced in 2015 was one-third of that for ev­ery pound of milk pro­duced in 1950! We see im­pres­sive im­prove­ments across all live­stock sec­tors in both Canada and the U.S.

There are over 200 mil­lion cats, dogs and horses in North Amer­ica eat­ing mil­lions of pounds of food daily. Amer­i­can cats and dogs are re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing around 64 mil­lion tons of green­house gasses an­nu­ally. The ex­cre­ment of all these dogs and cats is not re­cy­cled into use­ful nu­tri­ents for crop pro­duc­tion like farm an­i­mals, but mostly ends up in the city sewer sys­tems or land­fill. I’m not say­ing that peo­ple need to get rid of their pets but as cit­i­zens of this world we should all be com­mit­ted to do­ing our share. Food for thought!

Adrian Sinke

Pic­ture Butte

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