Cutting back on the amount of beef Canadians consume has been suggested in the media and public conversations online as a strategy to help save the planet. This recommendation may be based on the erroneous belief that Canadian land is inappropriately or inefficiently used in order to produce beef, but it certainly overlooks the positive impacts that a healthy beef sector has on the environment.
In fact, as you’ll read in the accompanying infographic,:
- much of the land that cattle graze in Canada cannot be used for other purposes
- sensitive grasslands, like the endangered Northern Great Plains, and endangered plants, animals and birds can be protected when managed by cattle producers
- well managed grazing can also restore unproductive soils that have been degraded through improper management
- most of the plants cattle eat and convert into nutrient-dense meat aren’t edible by humans; they are low quality forage and grains that aren’t high enough quality for human consumption and would otherwise go to waste
- beef production in Canada provides a unique set of positive environmental and human health impacts that few other food products are capable of
Through the use of technology, innovation and sustainable management practices, Canadian beef producers continue to produce more with less. Research shows that the environmental footprint of Canadian beef production has decreased by more than 15% over the past three decades.
Isn’t Beef Canada’s Ultimate Plant Based Protein? Environmentally, agriculturally and nutritionally speaking, Canadians need legumes and meat. – BeefResearch.ca
How Much Water Is Used to Make A Pound of Beef?: Facts about water use and other environmental impacts of beef production in Canada – BeefResearch.ca
New Research Shows Shrinking “Water Footprint” Of Canadian Beef Production: Overall it took 17% less water to produce a kilogram of Canadian beef in 2011 than in 1981 – BeefResearch.ca
New research clarifies Canadian beef producers’ true environmental footprint: Producing beef with 15% lower GHG emissions and using fewer resources – BeefResearch.ca
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