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From the Ground Up: Cattle Are Good for the Environment

There is a story line companies offering plant based meat substitutes are pushing that suggests...
There is a story line companies offering plant based meat substitutes are pushing that suggests beef production is harming our environment. There is science that refutes that story line.(KBTX)
Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 7:22 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -There is a storyline companies offering plant-based meat substitutes are pushing that suggests beef production is harming our environment. There is science that refutes that storyline. Ron Gill is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension professor and livestock specialist.

“We’ve got to make sure that we pitch beef production in the light that it really should be. It’s a tool to manage our environment, improve our soil health, and improve the environmental health of the nation. It’s a great tool to do that with.

Gill stresses that scientific evidence proves that cattle don’t help create global warming.

“Ruminant animals have a real niche in the carbon cycle. A lot of people think that they’re contributing to global warming. Cattle are not. They are part of a cycle. They consume existing carbon. It’s excreted in methane and other products and cycled back into the system. Plants take it up and they eat it again. And so we’re not contributing additional carbon to the cycle.”

Vegetable protein marketers have tried to create a narrative that their products taste just as good as beef and are more environmentally friendly.

“We’ve always had competitive meats and competitive products and there’s always been vegetarian options to beef so just because one of them is making it into a patty that looks like a hamburger doesn’t mean it’s gonna make people want to eat that product and one thing we’re seeing, the taste tests if somebody wants it to taste good because they want a non-meat alternative they’ll say it tastes good. But in reality most meat people, meat-eaters don’t particularly care for those products and they can tell the difference.”

Gill believes the beef industry has a bright future with both domestic and overseas markets.

“If we get smart enough to tell our story correctly, I think our beef production has a place for a real long time.”

So if you enjoy a good hamburger, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s not contributing to global warming.

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