Whats the Beef with Meat?
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) represent the majority of livestock farms in America which produce our meat. Animals live confined indoors feeding on crops grown using practices that deplete the soil such as synthetic nitrogen-fixed fertilizer, tillage and mono-cropping. Waste material comes into contact with water supplies. Livestock are injected with steroids and hormones to “beef” them up and antibiotics are administered to prevent infectious disease that accompanies this engineered approach to livestock farming.
CAFOs represent a leading cause of waste water pollution, deforestation and soil depletion which have a cumulative adverse impact on the climate. Use of phosphates and sodium nitrites to process and preserve meat contribute further to water contamination and can lead to cancer in humans.
1 SHORT CAFO VIDEO
It takes an estimated 1,799 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of beef. For the same water footprint, you can consume 5.9 lbs. of tofu or 11.2 lbs. each of tomatoes (12 gal/lb.), lettuce (30 gal/lb.) and potatoes (119 gal/lb.). The land needed to feed one person who eats vegan for one year is 1/6 of an acre while the land needed to feed one meat eater for one year is 18X more than for a vegan. A plant based diet cuts one person’s carbon footprint by 50%.
On days you vote to eat meat, opt for organically grown meat raised on pesticide-free and fertilizer-free grass or 100% certified organic feed without the use of artificial ingredients, preservatives or processes, including no hormones or antibiotics. This approach benefits the environment, the climate and you. Check the labels on meat purchases for approval from the Animal Welfare Association (“AWA”) and the American Grass-fed Association (“AGA”). Even eating a little less meat and dairy can make a big difference to a person’s footprint and the environment, in the aggregate.
- To order grass fed meats across America, search the American Grassfed Organization Website
- Recipes for Grassfed livestock
- Find high animal-welfare and sustainable meat, dairy and eggs
LEARN ABOUT REGENERATIVE ORGANIC AGRICULTURE which holds the promise of transforming farming as a source of carbon pollution to a source of long-term carbon sequestration. This approach allows livestock to graze in open spaces, to eat grass or organically raised crops and eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
- Why Regenerative Agriculture
- Soil and Carbon Restoration
- Regenerative Organic Agriculture
and Climate Change
TAKE ACTION. IT COUNTS. Earthwise shopping represents a vote to divert consumer dollars away from energy intensive, polluting farming practices that stress animals, deplete water and soil, contribute disproportionately to climate change and present health risks. Conversely, directing your consumer dollars wisely toward food practices which minimize pollution, regenerate soil and control the climate will constitute a vote to help sustain the planet, your health and the health of your loved ones.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) identifies major environmentally related laws that apply to farming operations.
- The National Agricultural Law Center compiles statutes related to agriculture on a state by state basis.
- Zoning ordinances, animal welfare laws, public health laws and nuisance laws represent local laws that govern keeping livestock on-site.
The League of Women Voters, with its grassroots, nonpartisan approach to issues welcomes people to join in its mission to make democracy work. The national League of Women Voters’ position on federal agriculture policies is available here: LWVUS Position on Federal Agriculture Policies
Local Leagues and Elected Officials
- Find a League chapter near you and make your voice heard!
- Find out Who are Your Elected Representatives
Contact your elected representatives by e-mail or phone to ask for their support of legislative initiatives that preserve natural resources, the environment and climate friendly agricultural practices—or another topic important to you.
Other Helpful Resources
- Grace Communications Foundation. Provides comprehensive, user-friendly information on our food, including environmental impacts of industrial farming, sustainable farming practices and more.
- Don’t miss Grace’s Water Footprint Calculator which has broad application to our daily lives.
- Environmental Working Group. An environmental research organization, provides research results to educate consumers about protecting the environment and human health by addressing such important topics as our food and how it is produced.
- CDC - Provides in-depth information on CAFOs, see: Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities.
- States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. Addresses current policy on land management, including farming, at the national level.
What issues do you want to learn more about? What citizen solutions have you found to be most successful? Write to us at: BeEarthwise2017@gmail.com
Have you signed the Be Earthwise pledge? Take the Be Earthwise Pledge