Are cattle bad for the environment?


➡️Transportation, industry, and energy are approximately 80 percent of United States ghg emissions. (Source: EPA)
➡️ Agricultural emissions are only 9 percent of the United States ghg emissions. (Source: EPA)
➡️ Of that 9 percent, only 2.6 percent is from cattle. (Source: EPA)
➡️ The benefits cattle bring to the environment counteract most, if not all, of the greenhouse gas they emit. Cattle and agriculture as a whole have the potential to be a net positive in terms of ghg through carbon sequestration! It makes no sense to get rid of them or stop eating beef…it does make sense to improve how we raise them! (Which we are doing!)
➡️ Cattle upcycle grass that grows on soil that can’t grow human food to high quality protein that humans can consume. This is one of the most efficient parts of U.S. agriculture. This is also why the U.S. is blessed to have the greatest ease of access to low cost protein in the world.
➡️ Cattle utilize food and feed products that would normally be wasted and turn them into high quality food and products.
➡️ Cattle provide manure that fertilizes the soil naturally and leads to healthier soil (higher organic matter) and better yielding crops.
➡️ Cattle manage millions of acres of grasslands and prairie in this country. Hundreds of years ago there were millions of buffalo doing the same thing. Cattle are part of the natural ecosystem and are vital to manage it.
➡️ Cattle give us hundreds of by-products along with the food they provide us to eat.
➡️ Cutting back our transportation or energy emissions 10 percent would have FIVE TIMES the impact of eliminating meat from everyone’s diet!


➡️ Cattle provide diversified income to family farms and provide work for farmers in the winter when crops are not growing.
➡️A small cow herd is what gives most young farmers and ranchers their start. Without this option, the trend of larger farms and older farmers will continue but at a faster rate. Currently there are 915,000 cattle farms and ranches. 91% of those are ran by families. 11% are ran by women. (Source: NCBA) The average age of operator is 57 and we need that to go down not up!
➡️Kids who grow up on farms around livestock or raise a few head of cattle for 4-H or their county fair learn valuable lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. It is the best way to grow up and farm kids wouldn’t trade it for anything.
➡️ MEAT IS NOT MURDER. Every time you eat meat, you have given an animal a life, and a very good life at that, despite what many activists will claim. If we eliminated meat from our diets, billions of animals would never have a life. Read more of why we should eat meat on our blog:…/why-do-we-raise-a…/
➡️Animals on farms are not tortured, abused, enslaved, etc except in rare cases by sick people. Read more on the true state of animal welfare on our blog:…/the-welfare-of-li…/

➡️ The world population is expected to grow from 7 billion people to 9 billion people in 2050. Most of this growth will be in Asia. The effect of eliminating beef from diets in Europe and North America (Where it is being pushed the hardest) is DWARFED by the increase of emissions the additional population in these countries will create if their ghg emissions are not improved.
➡️ It does not take a genius to figure out that large cities emit more ghg and pollution than cattle farms do. The air quality, water quality, soil quality, and environmental health surrounding cities is terrible compared to what surrounds cattle farms. Especially in other parts of the world (Africa, Asia, etc.) There should be much more of a push to clean up emissions from cities (Transportation and Energy) than farms.
➡️ The U.S. beef industry has greatly reduced it’s environmental impact per head over the last few decades. It’s how we produce 25% of the world’s beef with only 10% of the world’s cattle. We’re not perfect, but agriculture has actually done a great job as a whole reducing it’s environmental impact.
➡️There will be many comments in response to this post saying that what needs to be cut out the most is “factory farms” aka large intensive livestock farms. These farms are greatly misunderstood and I will have a separate post in response to these comments: (Link coming soon)
Essentially, large livestock farms are what make the beef cattle industry as efficient as it is. Large livestock farms are still ran mostly by families. One family can easily manage thousands of head of livestock. The same reason we have large livestock farms is the same reason we have large cities. If you believe we should not have large livestock farms, you should also believe we should not have cities. The size of the farm does not determine the welfare of the animals nor the effect on the environment. Use of technology such as confinement, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, etc. is all designed for the welfare and to the benefit of the animal. We have blogs on all of these here:

Some final thoughts to chew on:
➡️ 50% of the food we produce in this country is wasted. If we cut that in half it would have a much greater impact than not eating beef.
➡️ There are 9.2 million horses in America and over 100 million pets (cats and dogs). Yet, no one ever suggests reducing those numbers…
➡️ All human activity greatly impacts the environment. If we approached humans the same way we approach beef cattle in terms of ghg, all humans would need to be eliminated. It makes much more sense to continue to improve something rather than eliminate it.
➡️ Celebrities, politicians, and media groups advocating for the abandonment of meat abuse transportation emissions, eat food that is transported in from other states/countries and throw over half of it away, own multiple/huge homes that require lots of energy to build and maintain, and lead completely inefficient and ghg-emitting lives. Yet they want you to stop eating something you enjoy (beef) and they want farmers to abandon a large part of their operation.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Eliminating meat from your diet (and eliminating cattle) would have a minimal effect on ghg emissions, but would have a DISASTROUS effect on agriculture, farmers, the soil, the environment, western culture, ease of access to protein, and good tasting food.

WE IN THE USA NEED TO FOCUS ON THE 80 PERCENT! NOT THE 2 PERCENT! Reduce transportation and energy, not the industry that feeds you. And worldwide, we need to get Asia, Africa, and South America to get on board with reducing emissions or anything reduced in Europe and North America with be completely ruled out by increases there.