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  • Writer's pictureStaci-lee Sherwood

It’s a bitter pill for BEEF eaters: Is their steak or burger worth the destruction of the planet?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

By Staci-lee Sherwood

The slogan you are what you eat’ is an old expression that might surprise most people to know it has been around for a long time. Making its first appearance in 1826 when French lawyer, politician and famous gastronome, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, wrote ''Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es'', which translates to 'Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.' Perhaps that phrase is even more telling now that we know the breadth of damage much of our food supply does. It wasn’t until the 1930s when these words emerged in the English language.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s American nutritionist Victor Lindlahr used this phrase on his radio broadcasts as a way to get people to make the connection between food and health. In the 1960s the phrase was given a rebirth by the hippie culture as a way to promote the health benefits of eating whole food organic diets that focused on plant based with little to no meat.

The macrobiotic diet is basically an organic vegan or plant based diet providing the highest amount of vitamins and minerals only found in non animal food. The emphasis isn’t just on the type of food but is geared toward eliminating processed food and a chemically saturated lifestyle. Since the 1960s we have had an explosion in diet/food related diseases such as Cancer, Hypertension, Heart disease and Diabetes. The combination of processed food loaded with manmade chemicals, high saturated fatty animal meat and all the pesticides sprayed on the produce it’s a wonder it took this long for the results of our food choices to become epidemic.

What you eat doesn’t just affect your own body and health. Food today is grown in some of the most unnatural and toxic ways. For those that don’t eat organic produce think of all the toxic pesticides sprayed and then magnify that by the thousands of non organic farms. Now envision all the runoff from those farms going into water you drink. Now look at livestock waste. The U.S. has about 31,000,000 cows and with each cow producing 65 lbs of manure every day it’s easy to see why so much of our water is contaminated. This only represents waste from cows it does not factor in manure from other livestock, domestic pets, wildlife or sewage leaks, pipeline spills and pesticide spraying. All those combined contaminants make for a very toxic soup we all drink and bathe in.

Ranchers, reporters, government agencies and even industry scientists will chime in about management, containment and cleanup of animal waste. The truth is very little is regulated or inspected on a regular basis and once something enters a waterway removing it is all but impossible. Preventing contamination is key but with that many cattle it’s impossible to do. Most people don’t realize how their eating habits contribute to huge destruction of public land, grassland and wildlife which cause massive droughts and extinctions. As we expand animal agriculture we have experienced unprecedented destruction of land and water.

When cattle graze they often pull up the plant by its roots and herds can leave an area looking like a dustbowl has passed through. Regeneration of natural resources like water and land can take a long time. Depending on damage many landscapes never recover from livestock grazing. Now add in all the methane the belching farting cows add making the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) effect even worse. Factoring all these negatives together it seems illogical to continue with farming cattle when the damage, pollution and disease they cause far outweigh any health benefits. Every state that raises cattle is facing a massive water quality crisis with little ability to manage it. Click here to get an idea of some of the issues with ranching cattle.

This is a common site that can happen both on private ranches and public lands. Uncontrolled feedlot runoff (manure) is a risk to water quality. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

Most people still believe the premium source for protein comes from animals. Studies in nutrition show otherwise. The actual premium source for protein comes from beans, nuts and whole grains. These foods provide completely digestible protein with all the benefits and none of the side effects that animal sources come with. Protein from beans and nuts lack saturated fat that contribute to heart diseases.

They aren’t contaminated with hormones and antibiotics that livestock are given which weakens the immune system. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease.’ Click here to read the study

Fresh fruit and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals which are not found in animal organs but are essential to building and maintaining a functioning immune system. Looking at the nutritional scorecard consuming meat offers little nutrition but does come with a lot of permanent damage to both humans and the planet. The big picture is what you put in your body can either keep you healthy and heal you or make you sick. Food choices don’t just affect the person making them but have a ripple effect which can cause the demise of the planet and countless other species killed to make room for cattle and other livestock. Even Harvard agrees that plant based diet is healthier ‘Science has shown us over and over again that the more meat we eat, the higher our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Conversely, the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the lower our risk for these diseases, and the lower our body mass index.’ Click here to read more

We are watching millions of our native wildlife being removed and killed to make room for cattle. The irony is American consumption of beef has been decreasing over the years though globally it’s on the rise. We are now destroying our own public lands and water supply to provide beef for foreigners. Exports of beef were expanded in trade agreements under the Trump administration and that in part is what’s driving the extermination of wildlife such as horses, burros, bison, wolves and elk on public land. Countless other species are being displaced as we destroy the delicate balance of a natural ecosystem and prevent it from being able to balance itself out.

Click here to read how wild horses and burros are being removed from public land to make room for cattle read more about that here,

Click here to read how the Tule Elk are being killed for dairy cows click here

Billions of dollars for billions of burgers. The drive to keep the public misinformed about animal agriculture is funded by massive corporations with billions of dollars at their disposal selling a product they know is nothing like what they promote.

There’s an old expression you can’t have your cake or in this case steak and eat it too’ which is still in use today because it rings true. Simply put you can’t have two conflicting ideas at the same time and expect it to work out. Every year world leaders get together to discuss the state of the planet. This year the COP26 summit (Conference of the Parties) was another example of people wanting something without having to make any changes or sacrifices. The world can’t continue on the current unsustainable trajectory it’s on. The rhetoric at this year’s meeting will prove once again to be void of any substance. With the expansion of livestock that alone is proof no one in power will lift a finger to make real lasting change. While the trendy expression ‘climate change’ is bandied about by the Biden administration the actions behind the words leave huge gaping holes where sustainable and achievable action should have been filled in.

A true leader is one that leads by example and when it comes to world leaders we are in short supply of those with integrity. When it comes to being top dog of the U.S. we have yet to be blessed with a leader who truly wants what is best for the country as a whole. Many believe the federal government is little more than a global lobby tool for industries looking to expand and dominate world markets. Our trade agreements serve this purpose. In 2019 the Trump administration, bowing to the pressure of the ranchers, made a huge deal with the EU. According to CNBC ‘Over the course of the agreement, annual duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU are expected to nearly triple to $420 million from $150 million, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.’

The beef trade deal is the main reason for more cattle on public lands and ultimately more native wildlife removed and killed to make room. One can expect a rise in meat related diseases like heart disease, cancer and hypertension. Of course the already highly degraded water supply will continue to fall to third world country levels. This trade deal was a political move to appease ranchers but it was not done for the good of the country or world. A short term gain VS a pivot to sustainable agriculture, once again opportunity was lost. The trajectory of staying the course that got us into this mess in the first place while witnessing a dying planet with evaporating irreplaceable resources is a sign that change will not come from the top. It will only come from the public when the masses finally wake up to truth and decide a little sacrifice is worth trying to save the planet.

For the wild horse advocates, or anyone trying to save wildlife, the expression actions speak louder than words’ comes to mind. Interestingly enough none of the horse advocate non profits ever pose the idea to their supporters about a boycott of beef. Seems easy enough for anyone to do since it can be started today by using your purse to voice your opposition to an abhorrent policy. Every year the thought of giving up beef as a protest is offered up to many advocacy groups. Almost immediately many advocates descend on the idea pointing out that only about 2% of livestock graze on public land and a boycott would not have much effect. Ironically this is the exact same argument ranchers use when they justify being on public lands.

The refusal to give up something even in the short term as a tool to help bring about change for a species one claims to want to protect is one of the reasons why these groups fail. Instead they support inane policies like toxic birth control, using hunting as a management of population or hoping that legislation that won’t be funded or enforced will somehow work this time. The act of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of failure either by design or incompetence. If after reading all the drawbacks to consuming beef; the long list of human diseases to water pollution and eradicating native wildlife people still cling to beef as a healthy food they will never be a genuine advocate for any animal. Best to move out of the way for the few who are as they try to clean up the mess by both self-serving industries and the pseudo non profits who help them.

To learn the truth about this industry click here

This article was read online by Collapsed Chronicles on their youtube channel so have a listen and join in the discussion here

Wild horses in a kill pen

Wild horses on their way to slaughter

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4 commentaires

03 janv. 2022

Read Cowspiracy several years ago - good book - very informative & I saw the author interviewed a few times then - nothing else in some time. Glad I found your blog - much much info - lots of which I knew already, but trying to educate others is a tough hill to climb! Keep up the good work. spread this around.


03 janv. 2022
En réponse à

AND noone wants to be inconvenienced or have to give up anything they want or think they "need"! Enlightened? Far from it.


McKenna Grace Fisher
McKenna Grace Fisher
02 janv. 2022

~ I am so glad you covered this topic sister ~ Brilliant piece ~ I am going to have to take another read, pots to take in ~ Brilliant thought, thank you ~ mgf

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