A revolutionary take on livestock production may prove to be the ultimate weapon for ranchers and producers in their fight to reverse the ecological negativity now attached to meat production.
In a succinct and well-stated commentary Wednesday, Drovers/CattleNetwork Editor Greg Henderson laid out the specifics of a remarkable presentation by an equally remarkable advocate of livestock production, Allan Savory.
Savory’s speech to the prestigious recently concluded TED conference outlined a radical idea: Not only should we sustain cattle and livestock production, we should increase it—dramatically—across millions of acres of grasslands worldwide.
If we wish to forestall the ravages of climate change, ensure food security for billions of people around the world and restore agricultural productivity across two-thirds of the planet’s land mass, that is.
Otherwise, never mind.
The genius of Savory’s research, which as Henderson noted, has been proven on five continents over the course of several decades, is that it provides the industry with an argument—and a philosophical position—that is inextricably linked to the most powerful force activists constantly call upon in their attempts to demonize meat production: Nature.
Pin down an activist who opposes beef production—not literally, tempting as that might be, but figuratively—as to why humanity shouldn’t continue raising cattle as has been done for the previous 20,000 years, and ultimately you’ll arrive at his or her preferred destination: It’s not “natural,” it’s not ecological, it’s not something that’s environmentally sustainable.
By raising farm animals, so the argument goes, we’re wasting non-renewable resources, expending unnecessary energy growing feed instead of food crops and indulging in top-of-the-food-chain dietary practices that are nether sustainable nor desirable from a personal or planetary health perspective.
Oh, and by the way? Meat is murder and animal husbandry’s abusive and anyone who participates in the process or consumes the products resulting from raising livestock is stupid and selfish.
Do as Nature does, not as activists say
But those are secondary arguments.
The current meme anti-industry activists have embraced is less about the horrors of slaughtering—since that was never an issue people could stay focused on—nor the dietary downside of meat-eating—since that’s far less capable of generating traction—nor even the looming threat of food-safety—since mountains of polling data show that people care when there’s an incident, then forget all about it afterwards.