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3 August 2014 - Stop Attacking Cattlemen

I admit there are many things I don’t understand. One of them is . . . why do so many people and their organizations want to put cattle producers out of business? People in the cattle industry are hard-working, honest people who are producing a safe, nutritious product, yet they have more detractors from environmentalists, animal rights people and vegetarians than a dog has fleas. I say it is time to stop attacking cattlemen.

Amanda Radke who writes for BeefMagazine.com recently quoted an article entitled “10 Things You Need to Know about Sustainable Agriculture” published in The Guardian. Point #8 said “Take meat off the menu. Any meaningful change to consumption patterns in the environmental impact of food production will have to involve knocking animal products off the menu, especially beef.”

Another article, published in 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organization in the United Nations and widely quoted around the world, blamed livestock production for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. But, that is not the case here in the United States. Our own Environmental Protection Agency, three years later, said most of the greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of fossil fuels and electricity, NOT livestock!

Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis has completed a study showing that the entire ag sector in the United States accounts for just 5.8% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

And finally, research at Washington State University shows how much the U.S. beef industry has downsized its carbon footprint over a 30-year period, from 1977 to 2007. The study shows the total animal population to produce one-billion pounds of beef reduced by 27%, feed energy down 10%, feed stuffs down 17%, land use down 27% and water use down by 15%.

If you are an animal rights person, spend three years on a ranch or livestock farm, work side-by-side with people who do this for a living, and witness first-hand the care given their animals by livestock families. If you are a vegetarian, enjoy your diet; but don’t deny me the right to enjoy steak, hamburgers, pork, chicken or dairy products.

So, stop the attack on livestock producers. Let them do what they do so well, providing healthy, nutritious, safe food for this country and the world. We live in a nation of Freedom, so . . . You are free to choose your diet, allow me the freedom to choose mine, and it includes beef.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.