Sacred cow – the dietary, environmental and moral case for higher meat
29 June 2021
Diana Rodgers from Heifer Worldwide desires you to know that consuming pink meat is sweet for you and, when raised properly, good for the surroundings.
“Cattle have been unfairly scapegoated for our failing well being and warming local weather,” Rodgers mentioned. “Eliminating livestock from our meals system might do extra hurt than good.”
Rodgers is the producer and director of Sacred Cow, a documentary now streaming on iTunes, Amazon and Vudu that’s primarily based on her e book by the identical title. She can also be a registered dietician whose skilled opinion is that animal supply meals are important for optimum well being, and beef is likely one of the most nutritious and extensively accessible meats accessible.
“The worldwide dialogue about the way forward for our meals and methods to nourish folks whereas being eco-friendly focuses on consuming vegan, vegetarian or definitely much less meat,” she mentioned. “I challenged that from a dietary and environmental perspective.”
Within the Sacred Cow e book, Rodgers and co-author Robb Wolf use scientific knowledge to reveal how animal supply meals contribute to wholesome diets and a wholesome planet. The teachings of the e book present the inspiration for the movie, which covers matters just like the rise of industrialized agriculture and processed meals, the meals pyramid, and college lunch menus to indicate how beef has been unfairly stigmatized. Butchers, professors, former vegans and, significantly, farmers take middle stage to make a case for elevating cattle.
“The movie is actually [teaching] classes about regenerative agriculture by way of producers,” mentioned Rodgers. As defined within the movie, regenerative agriculture is “a follow that makes use of a various mixture of animals and vegetation to imitate, moderately than dominate, nature” whereas repairing the soil and growing productiveness on farms around the globe.
For instance, the movie highlights ranchers utilizing such strategies to lift cattle which can be regenerating greater than 1,000,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert again into grasslands with out utilizing seeds. When cows are continuously moved to graze in a approach that mirrors wild herds of ruminants, their manure, saliva, urine and hoof impacts assist promote plant regrowth, and overgrazing is prevented.
When correctly managed, Rodgers says, cattle assist farmland mitigate local weather change by storing carbon, which results in improved water cycles. After all, the vast majority of the world’s beef is just not produced utilizing regenerative agriculture, and one of many foremost criticisms of the cattle business is that it contributes to world warming. Whereas Rodgers acknowledges the issues manufacturing unit farming presents when it comes to animal welfare and poor environmental practices, she says the declare that consuming much less beef would assist sluggish local weather change is overblown.
“We do not have extra ruminant animals in the present day in North America than we did within the 1600s earlier than we almost eradicated the bison,” she mentioned. “They’re completely different ruminants, however we do not have extra methane-producing our bodies on the market.”
Sacred Cow additionally contends that the notion of the cattle business producing extra greenhouse gases than the transportation business is just not correct. Rodgers factors to Environmental Safety Company knowledge, which present that livestock within the US account for 3.9% of methane emissions, with beef liable for about half that. Transportation and electrical energy era mix for nearly 57%. Globally, Rodgers says, livestock account for five% of direct greenhouse gasoline emissions in comparison with 14% for the transportation business.
Moreover, carbon cycles for livestock are completely different from fossil fuels. “It is a part of a pure cycle,” Rodgers mentioned. “After 10 years, methane turns into water and carbon dioxide, which then goes into the water cycle and will get reabsorbed by vegetation. A few of it will possibly get sequestered within the soil. It’s like a balanced equation.”
From a dietary standpoint, Rodgers argues that animal-sourced meals are important as a result of they comprise a better density of vitamins, and people can higher break down and make the most of these vitamins when in comparison with plant-based meals. Some nutritional vitamins and minerals — like B12 and iron, which account for 2 of the most important nutrient deficiencies worldwide — are a lot simpler to get from animals. That is significantly necessary for rising kids and low-income households.
“If we wish to feed people who find themselves hungry or undernourished, essentially the most nutrient-dense meals are animal supply meals,” Rodgers mentioned. “In creating international locations, they will’t simply go get their B12 complement at a CVS Pharmacy, proper? A lot of the world can’t do this. They require animals for his or her livelihood and vitamin.”
Sacred Cow additionally tackles the notion that pink meat consumption is the driving force of significant well being issues in america like weight problems, diabetes, most cancers and coronary heart illness.
“Once we look nutritionally at a rustic the place 70% of persons are both obese or overweight, our beef consumption is definitely fairly low,” Rodgers mentioned. “It’s gone down since 1970. The common American solely eats about two ounces of beef per particular person per day.”
With each iterations of Sacred Cow, Rodgers desires to indicate that meat isn’t the issue and, in actual fact, is a part of the answer. “I’m hoping to impact some coverage and make some noise about regenerative agriculture on an even bigger scale with the movie,” she mentioned. “Now’s the proper time, with COVID,” Rodgers mentioned. “We actually see the disruption in industrial meat provide chains and the worth persons are inserting on extra regional meals techniques and higher meals basically.”