Opinion

Eating beef isn't as bad for the planet as environmental activists claim

To the editor: Although Moby is a talented musician, his op-ed article is out of tune with the facts on modern meat production. (“Moby: Sacramento shouldn't be trying to get you to eat more beef,” Opinion, July 11)

In citing global data, Moby distorts animal agriculture’s environmental impact. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. livestock production has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world, representing 3.8% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which is far lower than the transportation sector (27%).

My research and other studies have found that modern beef production practices versus 30 years ago yield 13% more beef using 13% fewer animals, 30% less land and 20% less feed. This is truly a great accomplishment, and while more can be done, Californians should feel confident that their meat is sustainably produced, providing nutrient-dense protein produced by an industry that is committed to continuous improvement.

Frank Mitloehner, Davis, Calif.

The writer is a professor of animal science at UC Davis, where he specializes in air quality related to livestock production.

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To the editor: The dining public does not need encouragement to eat more beef. People snap it up at every opportunity. What is also abundantly clear is that a beef-centric diet also has serious side effects, including poor health and environmental impacts.

I enjoy a good rib-eye as much as anyone, but I don’t even consider having it every day or even every week. Eating less beef would have benefits at every step of the supply chain: We would be healthier, the cows themselves could be raised more humanely, and processors could slow down.

Cheap beef is an artificially engineered situation, designed to deliver low quality at a rock-bottom price. When it comes to beef, eat less, but eat better.

Cullen Davis, North Hollywood

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