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.