In defense of beef
To the editor,
This letter is regarding Jon Ward's commentary "World-saving habits."
While everyone would agree that recycling is a good thing in a country where over consumption is a way of life, the incorrect statements about the beef industry cannot go unanswered. Anyone who can make the statement that "nothing is more wasteful than the beef industry" has obviously been misled or is attempting to mislead.
I think any person with an IQ above 10 could think of several industries which produce less with more. But for the Jon Wards of the world I will attempt to explain why we feed grain to cattle instead of the hungry masses. First, the grain fed to cattle is not of the same quality as that which is feed to people. This significantly drops its worth (which would likely drop your figure of $21 billion wasted in the conversion of grain to beef). However, assuming we could grow enough high quality grain to feed the world, the distribution systems needed to get the grain to the people who need it are nonexistent. Therefore most of the grain would sit in storage until it spoiled. This would no doubt be a greater economic loss than that which is incurred from the conversion of grain to beef.
As for the cheap shot about the rain forests (cheap because if he had done any research at all he would have noticed that we import very little beef from those countries, and therefore can do little to affect their actions) would you deny the subsistence farmers in those areas the ability to produce food for their family? This is often their only method of food production because the soils are too poor to support the production of crops (as are most rangelands).
So in conclusion, you and those who think like you can use whatever justification you want to eat soybeans, but I will continue to eat every bit of heart-stopping, artery-clogging, fat, juicy steak I can find even if that means lowering myself to the soybean enhanced slop of McDonalds.
Range management senior