BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Anti-animal agriculture groups that advocate replacing animal protein with plant-based substitutes that are marketed as all-natural leave out an important point in the argument. Beef is one of the most natural products there is. Ron Gill is a Professor and Livestock Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
“I think it’s something we kind of forget, we don’t want to have animals consuming plants and producing food, but we want to plow the ground up and take the natural fauna and flora out so we can grow a crop that’s not natural, yet they tout natural. There’s nothing more natural than a grazing animal consuming forages that are native to the country and producing a high-quality product. So that just makes my mind want to explode when I try to get all those things in the same picture.”
Gill points out that we’ve spent decades taking highly erodible land that used to be farmed and put it back into the grass.
“If you break out more on farm ground, you’re gonna have to break out this erodible land which will be more detrimental to the environment than leaving it in grass. So that’s where the disconnect I think really comes, and what they want if you need more plant-based food you gotta have, you can’t intensify production past a certain point. They don’t want GMOs to help intensify production. They don’t want to use petrochemical fertilizers, so that means you have to have more land to do this. That is counter-intuitive to what they’re asking for.”
Gill says that beef animals are actually great recyclers.
“The cow is the only animal protein that actually cycles carbon through the system, and so we don’t add carbon to the system, we just cycle it. Pick it up from the plant, emits from the cow goes back in the ground, cycle of life. So there’s nothing more natural than beef production. Can’t make some people believe that, but that, when you really look down at what they’re looking for or something that’s not unnatural; beef is it.”