the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Scat

Posted by Jeff Id on July 28, 2009

I’ve never learned to resist an easy target like this, they chose to be uninformed in public so why not. From the daily green Dan Shaply is using his considerable mind power to think our way to a brighter future.

4 Reasons Why Grass-Fed Beef Is Better

For the health of the animals, the environment and you (not to mention your taste buds) grass-fed beef is a good option for meat-eaters.

http://opinionatedoldfart.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/061214boklores.jpg

For meat – eaters? He must mean those fat evil bad breath humans which live on the edge of conservatism. After all real conservatives can’t read and don’t believe in science so therefore won’t read his highly scientific and well thought out post.

Anyone who’s seen Food Inc. or felt startled at the prospect of E. coli finding its way into your hamburger should care about the origins of your beef.

Beef, as we most often raise it today, is a high-impact food — about as high-impact as you can get. Food is one of the leading contributors to global warming, primarily because of livestock — the fossil fuels used to fertilize grain crops and make pesticides, the deforestation to make way for grazing or feedlots and everyone’s favorite: cow belches.

It took my slow conservative mind a couple of reads to figure out that High impact means ‘environmental impact’! The confusion arises after considering the biological reaction you get the morning after eating a 16 oz steak and 3 oz’s of your wife’s. All these horrors from a delicious cow, who knew! Potatoes didn’t help either…

Grass-fed beef is a lower-impact option for those who are concerned about the environmental or health consequences of a meaty diet, but who can’t give up meat.

I guess it’s just morons like me who um don’t want to give up meat. After all, who wouldn’t want to give up delicious meat in exchange for nuts and grapes. I’m glad the conservatives have the guns, liberals and greenies would take everything in an effort to homogenize us.

Grass-Fed Beef Is More Nutritious

Most beef cows in America are raised for a short time on grass and then “finished” in confined feeding areas with a diet of grain that is unnatural to them, which boosts E. coli counts in their guts, and which encourages the spread of disease. Grass-fed beef cows eat grass their entire lives, as cows evolved to do. Because their lifecycle isn’t accelerated with hormones, animals mature in the spring when forage is bursting with new growth, seeds and nutrients. Those nutrients end up in the meat and result in a healthy and delicious product.

Ok, that seems reasonable. It might be crap for all I know but it might be reasonable. GIGO has to apply to cows after all, garbage in garbage out.

Grass-fed Beef Is More Humane

Scientists haven’t quantified the benefits of clean water, fresh air and freedom to roam in terms of human health, but it adds up to a happier, healthier herd.

Makes sense to me. Happy cows live free.

Grass-fed Beef Is More Tasty

This is the way beef is supposed to taste. In the wine industry, the word terroir refers to the flavor imparted to the wine by the entirety of the property upon which the grapes are grown. Same goes for beef, which takes on distinct flavors based on the terrain, weather, soil and water. Our cattle literally eat the terroir, therefore, they are the ultimate expression of the terroir of our ranches.

Oh yeah, a greenie I can agree with. Who’da thunk it. Feed em grass so they taste better. I’m in.

Grass-fed Beef Is Less Wasteful

It takes a lot of land to raise beef naturally. The vast grasslands of the Hearst ranches host an unusually complex mosaic of vegetation. By rotating the animals through various pastures through the seasons, we preserve native biodiversity, improve soil fertility and eliminate the waste-management issues associated with confined animal feedlots (a major source of water pollution at conventional farms).

Wait a minute, it takes a lot of land to raise beef naturally yet it’s greener???!! I wonder how much land it would take to free roam all the cows in production. Hmm.

It looks like about 1 cow for 3 acres works from several sites including THIS. Of course these are range cows and not dairy cows which can be packed closer together.

Apparently there were 1.37 billion cattle in the world in 2003 HERE. So we need about 4.11 billion acres of grassland to graze them all which converts to about 6.4 million square miles. Not too bad except the United States is 3.7 million square miles. Doh!

Well if we clear out California, that would be a good start – as long as we keep Jennifer Love Hewitt. Then we could get rid of those pesky farmers in the heartland and replace em all with cowboys and horses instead of evil cars and tractors.

No wait, Russia is like 6.7 million sq miles. The cows fit!! I’m not sure I want to turn one of my favorite foods over to the Russians though and there is the matter of like 4feet x 1.37billion cows = 5.5 billion snow shoes . Cheap beef is the hallmark of a sophisticated high society, I make it a practice to stick out my pinky finger whenever eating a nice salty rare pink slab of steak and recommend you do the same!

Well the greenie of the day swung and missed on this one, the impact of a billion free range hooves would be difficult to miss (even in Spain). The Air Vent has formed a blue ribbon committed to discuss the issue and have outlined several alternative solutions which we believe go much more directly at solving the problem of the impact of beef. Some research still needs to be completed and there are some risks, however the risks outweigh the benefits and the time to act is NOW!

1 – Side reflectors for free range beef. Passive lighting systems are critical to the survival of the herd and vehicular impacts kill several hundred cows per year. The cattle typically have already had substantial natural resources invested in them and the waste associated with the investment in the CH4 (methane) is impossible to recoup. Although due to their size, the single benefit is that after impact there are often less people influencing the cow’s environment.

2 – Emissions control systems to convert methane to less harmful CO2. Cowalytic converters for all animals should be mandated with federal funding to improve their efficiency and deployment. An alternative sophisticated carbon capture technology is shown below.

The image “http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/cow-gas-tank-404_686141c.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

3 – Education! Education is the cornerstone of any government program. Fliers, commercials, mascots, the whole gambit must be deployed to teach the cows sheeple that their behavior represents a threat.

4 – And this is the most important, we must all band together on this. This weekend and every following weekend this summer we MUST find beef, cook beef on the barbie and eat beef! The best way to stop the evil cows is to eat them……as fast as we can!

37 Responses to “Scat”

  1. DeWitt Payne said

    Grass fed beef tastes better? Who’s he trying to kid? Apparently he’s never heard of Kobe beef where the cows are massaged daily and have a beer ration as well as lots of grain. High fat marbling is the definition of USDA Prime. That being said, he does have a point about feed lots. Without lots of antibiotics, most of the cows in a feed lot would keel over in a few days. It’s pretty ugly and something of an environmental disaster area.

    For the Cowalytic converter, you need a mask, not just a tube. Most methane comes from the early stages of digestion so it’s belched not farted. Grass fed cows make the most methane, btw.

  2. Jeff Id said

    It sounds like a useful study, we could line up cow ribeyes fed different things and get a group of people, grill ‘em and drink beer.

  3. RomanM said

    Count me in! Who’s bringing the beer?

  4. timetochooseagain said

    mmmm…Beef….Huh, whuh, what?!?!? Sorry, I was mesmerized by the beef. Whuz goin’ on?

  5. Billy Ruff'n said

    “…after eating a 16 oz stake”? Steak? Or did I miss a pun? (Wouldn’t be the first time).

  6. Jeff Id said

    #5 Naw, just bad spelling.

  7. Curt said

    A question on this subject I’ve never seen an answer to. AGW alarmists continually beef about the methane emission of cows (sorry, couldn’t resist…). But what about wild grazing animals. North American bison used to roam the Great Plains by the millions, and from everything I understand, they are very similar to the domesticated cows we now have, including, I would expect, significant methane emissions from their ruminant stomachs.

    We essentially wiped out the bison population in the 19th century. The population has staged a small recovery since then, but the numbers are still pretty tiny. Can’t it be said that our domesticated cows are just filling the ecological niche that bison used to occupy?

  8. Jeff Id said

    Curt,

    I’m not qualified to answer on the populations directly, however I think there were substantially less animals back then than now. We’re using hormones, high density sheds, bio-engineered (through selection of the best seed) corns and wheats all in an effort to optimize the number of animals we can farm.

    It’s kind of the point of the post to show that there is no possible way to let our farm animals free range because the environment cannot support them naturally. The impact statement by this green ‘dude’ is magnificently uninformed. Although it does FEEL good there is no attempt to understand behind his writing.

  9. Mark T said

    Every one of these points is nonsense.
    1) Grass-fed beef has never been shown to be more nutritious – in fact, the opposite is likely true since grain fed cattle have a very controlled diets which are much more consistent and intentionally loaded with nutrition. The author is taking what he thinks to be reasonable and extrapolating it to the truth. It’s like a wive’s tale: it seems reasonable, therefore it must be true. Sorry, at best the statement is unprovable, at worst and outright fabrication.

    2) Cattle are pretty low on the intelligence scale. Right above eggplants. I’m curious how the author defines “happy?” Has this guy ever seen what cattle actually do? They stand around and eat all day. How is being free-range any different than confined but with an unlimited food supply from a tiny cow brain’s perspective? Is he somehow channeling cow thoughts?

    3) Yeah, right – an obvious vegetarian telling us grass-fed beef is more tasty? Curious how he knows this “fact?” Grass-fed beef is not even remotely more tasty. It is typically much leaner, tougher, and quite frankly, much less tasty. It’s almost gamey, like buffalo, and harder to cook right on top of that.

    4) Grass-fed beef, as he rightly notes, takes huge amounts of land and somehow is less wasteful? What!? Is this guy smoking dope? Oh yeah, probably… have another asparagus shoot while you’re at it, too.

    Mark

  10. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Grass fed beef tastes better? Who’s he trying to kid? Apparently he’s never heard of Kobe beef where the cows are massaged daily and have a beer ration as well as lots of grain. High fat marbling is the definition of USDA Prime. That being said, he does have a point about feed lots. Without lots of antibiotics, most of the cows in a feed lot would keel over in a few days. It’s pretty ugly and something of an environmental disaster area.

    I was born and raised on a farm and I always get a kick out of the use of cow by you city folk. Most of the beef you consume in the form of a steak is from a steer or a heifer. Cows are for breeding and milking and usually end up in a form of beef we used to call canners and cutters.

    DeWitt has it right about the taste of beef, although I am sure, if you are sufficiently green, grass feed beef will taste better if only from a placebo like effect. We fed beef cattle on our farm in a feedlot without much use of or the need for antibiotics. I think some of the recent controversy has been over the use of growth hormones in milking and beef stock.

    I think the worst and least defensible twaddle coming out of the green community is the ability to propagandize against the use of genetically modified food products. As a libertarian in these debates, I really am most concerned about those green advocates who would want to impose their choices on others through state controls. Like I told my son’s thoroughly green mother-in-law I think it is a grand experiment where she can eat the food of her choice (and pay a premium for doing so) and I can eat mine (we do shop at Whole Foods for certain items) and in the end someday we might know the benefits (cost and otherwise).

  11. Mark T said

    we do shop at Whole Foods for certain items

    Cheese and mushrooms. They have the best selection of both here in CO Springs. This is who I was thinking of, btw, when I was referring to grass-fed beef not being very tasty. I’ll never buy another steak from Whole Foods again. Not only was my steak from Whole Foods not as tasty as the standard from King Soopers, it was considerably more expensive.

    Mark

  12. Jeff Id said

    I’ve got this butcher who goes to local farms looking for the best corn fed beefs. I’m no beefologist but IMO the shop is rump and shoulders above the rest in this area.

    We had a Ribeye from there last month that was so good it broke my tongue.

  13. Mark T said

    Corn-fed = mmmmm… :)

    I guarantee the Texas Roadhouse ain’t using no grass-fed beef for their steaks!

    Mark

  14. hmmmm said

    Mark T-

    1) You’re right; perhaps a scientific study would be in order to clear this up once and for all? There are plenty of good theories. I would also want a study to show if one type is more or less likely to make us sick.

    2) As someone who grew up by pasture farms (grass fed beef), I can tell you that they’re not as stupid as city-folk would think. To imply that they don’t have any capcity to suffer physical pain or mental anxiety in a feedlot environment is pretty obtuse. I base this on a childhood raised around pasture-farms (grass fed beef) and experience with vet profesionals who specialize in farm animal health and worked for both types of farms. I eat beef, but I am convinced they can suffer and convinced they should have at least a reasonably decent life before they are decently processed. Some of the things that go on in commercial lots would make even you sick to your stomach. Look into it; most people who do have a change in attitude. I’m not saying you’d become a follower of this guy or even drastically change your eating habits, I’m just saying you might gain some appreciation on their capacity to feel pain.

    3) I actually love the “gamier” flavor; it’s a personal thing for each of us. It makes sense for me, I prefer buffalo meat and my own whitetail venison to supermarket beef any day of the week. It’s ridiculous for him to say grass fed tastes better. It’s also ridiculous for you to say grain fed tastes better. What I really want right now is some wild boar and THIS IS MAKING ME SO HUNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4) You’re right on here.

  15. timetochooseagain said

    First they will tell our cows what to eat, then they will put us on the same diet. Visions of things to come…

  16. Mark T said

    To imply that they don’t have any capcity to suffer physical pain or mental anxiety in a feedlot environment is pretty obtuse.

    I never stated, nor implied this. Extending my statement to a belief they suffer no physical pain or mental anxiety is disingenuous.

    Otherwise, to each his own on the grass-fed vs. grain/corn-fed argument. For me to say grain/corn-fed tastes better is not ridiculous at all, it is merely a matter of taste – perhaps I should have made that more clear. You’ll note that I did point out the author appears to be a vegetarian, which does make his comment ridiculous simply from the position that he probably doesn’t know the difference (if he is a vegetarian) so any opinion from his is baseless. At the very least, I have tasted both.

    And yes, wild boar is outstanding (I live in CO where game is easy to find in restaurants). Caribou is tasty, too. I’ve heard the CO antelope should be avoided, however, because much of it comes from near the Wyoming border and has an overpowering sage taste (their primary diet up there, apparently).

    Mark

  17. WhyNot said

    It is a good thing the methane tank on the cow is pink and not black! Can you imagine cows floating around everywhere! And just think, everyone is worried about bird droppings on a recently washed car…….

  18. AEGeneral said

    The device in that picture looks like something Wile E Coyote would have concocted to catch the Roadrunner.

    Just place a bowl of delicious birdseed on the highway, let the cow float directly over him while he’s eating, then use the ACME Methane Containment Unit Penetration Kit, and viola! Dinner is served.

    I swear I wake up in a parallel universe some days.

  19. pyromancer76 said

    I agree with Hmmm at #14.

    “I eat beef, but I am convinced they can suffer and convinced they should have at least a reasonably decent life before they are decently processed. Some of the things that go on in commercial lots would make even you sick to your stomach.”

    Greenies are trying to get everyone ill from drinking milk (or to think milk is bad) and they link eating beef (and any meats, poultry, and fish) to an affluent, wasteful life style that they are trying to eradicate, and I do not use that last word lightly. Affluence, abundance, free range for imaginations to invent and develop (without harm)– all of these should be relegated to the past. Of course, grass fed, free- range “steers and heifers” would significantly reduce the population of cattle. Let’s find those decent commercial lots.

  20. Greenies are meanies and most are damn proud of it. The final statement in most of their cock-and-bull stories is a resounding and bitter, “I’ve figured it all out for you – My dogma is INARGUABLE! SO THERE! You meat-eating polluting wasteful ignoramuses!! Stop living your life YOUR way and start living your life MY way! Or ELSE!!!” And then the government lawyers come out, pens a-blazin’.

    Rational greenies that realize the vast limitations of science, especially how completely wrong science commonly is, are the rare exception to the “green sheeple” rule. I am lucky to have learned that aspect in College, but I know more every day that most folks just accept everything they are told – this climate hysteria is the most hackneyed scam of all time, sell ‘em on the fear and baffle them with malleable stats… Heck, if you run out of stats, just get a computer program and make up your own statistics! LOL

  21. Billy Ruff'n said

    It asks a question that AGW alarmists really can’t answer.

  22. Tony Hansen said

    I had read for years that the omega-3, omega-6 fats in grass fed beef were in a similar ratio to what is in fish ( and grain fed beef had the opposite ratio). However the last scientist I heard speak on this said it ain’t so. Who to believe???
    As for free range conditions, the grasses and forbs need the ruminant grazers as much as the grazers need the grass – that is afterall how they evolved.

  23. Ryan O said

    I only eat cows that ate other cows. They’re tastier.

  24. Craigo said

    “I’m glad the conservatives have the guns”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IJBbtkBMMs

    Beef all the way for me although I did enjoy a nice bit of Kangaroo over the weekend.

    From my understanding, it’s really all about economics. Beef cattle are bred for their ability to convert fodder into saleable meat. Feeding them grain reduces all that unnecessary chewing of low quality grass and improves conversion and gives a shorter time to market. Grass fed cattle might sound great but the reality is that pastures will be managed in some way to ensure high availability of nutrients. Unless of course you can convince someone that they should pay a premium for “organic” or “free range” beef. In Australia – a big beef producer, we get acombination of grass and grain with feedlots used for finishing (fattening up before slaughter).

    Really what we have is an insidious alliance between “big oil” and “big beef” (all those Texans again) to keep us dependant on gas guzzling cars and gas belching cattle but what “big green” can’t match is the taste – oh it tastes so good (and they know it)!

    Just mind them guns now!

  25. Page48 said

    RE: #2, “It sounds like a useful study, we could line up cow ribeyes fed different things and get a group of people, grill ‘em and drink beer.”

    Let’s apply for a government GRANT!!!!!!!!!

  26. Jeff Id said

    I’m sure we could get it done for a couple hundred grand. Now all we need is a handicapped african/indian amercian woman to help us apply.

  27. Kenneth Fritsch said

    As for free range conditions, the grasses and forbs need the ruminant grazers as much as the grazers need the grass – that is afterall how they evolved.

    Would there be any implications in this observation for how Homo sapiens should be acting/eating based on how they evolved?

    I only eat cows that ate other cows. They’re tastier.

    They’re also madder. Note to Jeff ID: You may eat cows but do not eat cows that eat other cows as it may make your bouts of getting mad more frequent – and for no apparent reason.

  28. Jeff Id said

    Kenneth,

    Now that’s funny. LMAO Literally.

    Dang, I love cow, or heifer or steerz.

    I had the privilege of eating caribou once, that’s good eatin’. Tasted just like steak, it was tender but the marbling was less so the fat which is likely clogging my arteries as I write is supposedly reduced. All I really know is that it was fantastic.

  29. Mark T said

    Think sponge.

    Caribou is lean, but very tender (the tenderloin is, at least).

    Mark

  30. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I have a question for you who posted that you found wild game tasty – and it probably shows my prejudices for the grain fed variety. Have your eating experiences been with or without a good sauce or marinade? I have enjoyed game eating with sauces and when I ask my sons who prepare and consume considerably more wild game than I they are usually talking about the sauces and marinades.

    And, of course, meat does not come any more “free range” than the wild varieties. I jokingly accuse my sons of eating their hunting kills simply to relieve any guilt in killing those poor defenseless birds, but the way they and their friends describe their gourmet delights I do not think that is the case.

  31. Mark T said

    Nuance, Ken: I find wild game quite tasty, but I prefer grain/corn-fed beef to grass-fed beef.

    Yes, btw, wild game typically comes with some uber sauce or it is prepared using a marinade and it makes a difference. I eat my game primarily at one restaurant in CO Springs, and the head chef is a sauce wizard. There are some types of game that don’t need it, however, wild boar tenderloin springs to mind (though my favorite game restaurant serves it with a killer sauce).

    Mark

  32. Tony Hansen said

    Kenneth #27,
    There may be implications. I don’t know what sort of evidence there is for dietary intake in previous generations. The degree of processing in modern day foods is now well beyond what was previously possible/routine/invented. What are you thinking?
    Cheers

  33. Corky Boyd said

    I haven’t tried grass fed beef lately, but late in WWII (yes I’m showing my age) you could get grass fed beef without using your ration points. It was terrible, and the greatest sales point for corn fed beef ever.

    I like the point being made by some here that a vegetarian is hardly a reliable source for taste comparisons for different kinds of beef, just as I am no expert on differnt varieties of tofu. Yuck!

    Just give me a 10 oz corn fed, aged, prime filet mignon and serve it Pittsburg style, charred on the outside and cold on the inside (OK if it’s still throbbing) and I am in heaven.

  34. I grew up on grass fed beef because we raised and butchered our own cattle. The meat is definitely leaner and has a stronger flavor but I still enjoy a good steak from Outback or Texas Roadhouse.

  35. Mark T said

    Yup. Given that my favorite cut is a ribeye, leaner ain’t what I’m going for! :)

    Mark

  36. Omnivore said

    All your post made me do was laugh in turn. This guy might not have all his facts in line, but your post definitely didn’t inspire me to…do whatever it was supposed to inspire me to do. Breaking it down, your reaction to the word “meat-eater” (which was used as a neutral term in the original post) was the following:
    “For meat – eaters? He must mean those fat evil bad breath humans which live on the edge of conservatism. After all real conservatives can’t read and don’t believe in science so therefore won’t read his highly scientific and well thought out post”

    …What? Man, I do recall being that defensive in high school, but thankfully managed to change. Made me come off as being as insecure then as you seem to be now.

    There are many statements to that same extent, such as:
    “Grass-fed beef is a lower-impact option for those who are concerned about the environmental or health consequences of a meaty diet, but who can’t give up meat.”

    That apparently invokes the following reaction in you:

    “I guess it’s just morons like me who um don’t want to give up meat. After all, who wouldn’t want to give up delicious meat in exchange for nuts and grapes. I’m glad the conservatives have the guns, liberals and greenies would take everything in an effort to homogenize us.”

    Seriously, are we reading the same sentences here? Unless you know this guy or study up on his views, you are drawing more conclusions than John Wayne did guns. You have made it obvious (rather boastingly) that you don’t give much thought to the environment, so the above statement doesn’t even apply to you. It was rather clearly directed at people who have such concerns, as in, a suggestion for those who do care where their meat comes from, or what it does to their bodies. Indeed, people who eat meat. As in, not vegetarians. It’s almost as though the author might (it never specified, and actually parts of what you quoted are from a rancher who raises cattle for meat) be a vegetarian…but has managed to live life eating things other than meat while at the same time not stopping others from eating it. It’s almost as though some people can live life one way…while not forcing or attempting to force others to do the same. Fascinating. But, if you ever see this guy leading an armed group of people demanding that you eat grapes, let me know.

    Your post is hard to read through because it is so greatly peppered with knee-jerk defensive responses to an article that isn’t using emotionally or politically charged words. The one salvagable point I was able to take out of this is that free-range cattle do indeed take up more land than factory farmed cattle. Surprisingly, most of the liberal greenie hippies (?) I know actually realize this. And actually, it kind of sounds like the rancher being quoted realized this too, and was pointing out various methods the company uses to help balance out the pressure of more land use. So yeah, you could have had a perfectly good post here if you merely pointed out that the number of cattle we currently raise would place even more of a strain on the land if they were all free-range. Of course, it’s kind of short-sighted to end on that note. Ignoring your obviously less than serious solution of eating all the cows around, what are some solutions that would enable people to eat meat that is healthy for the environment (which, as much as people seem to scorn it these days does ultimately determine the survival of all species, us included), healthy for people, and sure, as healthy as possible for whatever animal we are consuming? An obvious solution would be to slow and possibly even temporarily reverse the current trend for human population growth in most countries. Some do genuinely think (or at least claim) that the human population can continue to grow infinitely with no ill affect on people. I am going to guess that you are smart enough to know that isn’t quite the case. Of course, the only way that is likely to happen is through war, creepy government mandates, and other such unpleasantness, but it’d certainly be nice if people took such an interest in the future of the kid’s that they are having, and their kid’s kid’s kid’s futures, and opted to slow down growth. In fact, it’d be down right nice to see people taking better care of the folks who are already around, I believe something most would agree with? An ultimately temporary option would be to raise more sustainable animals. Even yaks, while still large mammals, eat considerably less that domestic cattle, and are damn tasty to boot. Also, it helps not to scorn vegetarians to the point where people essentially eat a carnivorous diet. Humans are very much omnivores, and it’s just as funny to me personally to see people stuff themselves with vast ammounts of meat daily as it is to see people eating tofu. Especially when they do it because a McDonald’s commercial told them beef keeps their balls from apparently shriveling up. Hopefully that isn’t the reason anyone here eats meat.

  37. Mark T said

    Are you not a native English speaker or just not very good at making a coherent argument? Just asking…

    Mark

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