Grassfed Beef Destroys Florida Pine Forest
A Meat and Diary Industries Article from All-Creatures.org

All of God's creatures have rights, a fact that most people don't seem to recognize. This includes both human and non-human animals, but not all of them can speak for themselves. As we continue to disregard the value of the lives of the billions of animals we eat, we also are destroying our air, land and water.

FROM

James McWilliams
June 2014

What you are seeing in Stronachís bid to turn the Florida forest into a pasture of profit is merely a taste of whatís to come if the foodie frenzy for grassfed beef continues to rise. Sure, there will always be some friendly hippy farmer at the local market telling you that he does it right. And he might. But as demand spikes for this supposedly virtuous alternative to industrial beef, your local good guy is going to be swamped by the models established by fat cats who have no problem dropping 60 million to have a hobby farm, steal our water, and send animals to slaughter for food that clogs our arteries.

Like climate change deniers, grassfed beef advocates have started to believe their own bullshit. If north Floridians donít deliver Stronach a dose of scientific reality, thereíll be a lot more of that to spread around soon enough.

grassfed beef pine forestThe more I read the rhetoric of grassfed beef peddlers the more Iím convinced that these guys are worse than global warming denialists. They go on and on about the theoretical ecological benefits of fattening cows on grass but fail to offer concrete examples of this endeavorís systematic success.

They fail to discuss in any depth the impact of methane output, water consumption, overgrazing, land usage, and the ecological costs of slaughter and processing. They avoid the question of demandóhow do you feed hundreds of millions of consumers this way? They never talk about what must be done to keep the grass growing (fertilizer) or the land/cattle ration in balance (calves shunted to the veal industry). They fail to discuss what kind of grasses they use (often fescue, which is non-native and harmful for cows) or how much alfalfa they import from drought-stricken California to get their beasts to slaughter weight when the grass dries up.

They simply show us pretty pictures of happy cows on green pastures, say a few words about welfare and sustainability, bash the factory farms, and charge a premium. Too often, ever hopeful that we can have our beef and eat it too, we pay it.

Look at whatís happening in north Florida right now, though, and youíll begin to see that the dangers linked to the grassfed beef revival are real. The Gainesville Sun reports that billionaire Frank Stronach is planning to spend $60 million to clear-cut pine forests, convert them to pasture, stock them with cattle, and pump in 13 million gallons of water a day to bring the system to life. This move is supported by the American Grassfed Association, which, because it is a trade organization no different than the American Beef Council, is perfectly happy to mouth the conventional wisdom that grassfed beef restores ecosystems and improves soil health. Well, last I checked, native pine forests do that pretty well, too.

What you are seeing in Stronachís bid to turn the Florida forest into a pasture of profit is merely a taste of whatís to come if the foodie frenzy for grassfed beef continues to rise. Sure, there will always be some friendly hippy farmer at the local market telling you that he does it right. And he might. But as demand spikes for this supposedly virtuous alternative to industrial beef, your local good guy is going to be swamped by the models established by fat cats who have no problem dropping 60 million to have a hobby farm, steal our water, and send animals to slaughter for food that clogs our arteries.

Like climate change deniers, grassfed beef advocates have started to believe their own bullshit. If north Floridians donít deliver Stronach a dose of scientific reality, thereíll be a lot more of that to spread around soon enough.


Return to The Meat and Diary Industries
Read more at Environmental Articles

Animal Slaughter Kill Counter:

Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.

0 marine animals
0 chickens
0 ducks
0 pigs
0 rabbits
0 turkeys
0 geese
0 sheep
0 goats
0 cows / calves
0 rodents
0 pigeons/other birds
0 buffaloes
0 dogs
0 cats
0 horses
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids