Where’s the beef

Going vegetarian could help save the planet

ecco-veggies-print-colourAlberta beef has not had a good year.

For the past several months, the price of steak has been steadily rising for both producers and consumers.

In an already volatile economy, local farmers have had to contend with increased cost to produce, and a campaign against Alberta beef by Earls restaurants, in which the province’s beef was temporarily removed from the restaurant’s menu.

The economics of beef have become so bad that Western Feedlots Ltd., has shut down one of its biggest feedlots.

Could the answer be to move away from beef completely?

Studies suggest that vegetarianism may be the answer.

A new study into greenhouse gas indicated it may be best to drop beef from your diet all together.

A study released by Carnegie Mellon University suggests that by going vegetarian, people can greatly help to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

The study indicates that for every 1000 calories of beef consumed, 19.18 pounds of greenhouse gas emission occurs.

The reduction, or removal, of beef in peoples’ diet has the potential to immensely reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But can Albertans embrace a beef-free lifestyle?

Dan Popescu, a medical laboratory technologist (MVRT) in training, thinks that study is “good to know.” The soon to be MVRT specialist had previously read about the impact of beef production and was “encouraged by the information” to cut down on beef. He said he “would consider it,” but completely cutting out beef was not “necessary, but [people] can remove certain things. It’s complicated.”

The move towards vegetarianism while cutting down on greenhouse gases could also serve as way to adapt to the dying economy of cattle production.

However, not everyone is convinced by the study.

Shawn Savard, a film and video production student at SAIT, is not a vegetarian.

Savard is not convinced that cutting out beef is the answer to carbon emission, “either way there are alternatives to cutting that sector out… [there] are other things to look at including energy sources such as cars.” These sectors deserve as much attention as cutting beef out of diets.

Rolph Bayuiz, another MVRT student, said the study didn’t sway his opinion at all beaming “I love meat.” His sister, a pescartarian, has had a stronger influence on him than the study.

People who are already vegetarian or considering the lifestyle change are the people who seem most on board with the study.

Keisha Lewis, a travel and tourism student at SAIT, still eats meat. But studies like the recent one are encouraging her, “the environmental impact adds to the ethics [of eating meat.]”

Cutting beef out an Albertans’ diet seems almost infallible.

While the study complicates people’s relationship with beef consumption, it has the potential to encourage people to go vegetarian.

My family has been in Alberta for generations, and, as part of that heritage, we have at times raised cattle.

Steak has always available in my family, we were raised as “meatatarians.”

I cannot imagine we will be cutting out steak anytime soon, but the study does provide some food for thought.

However, with the increasing price of beef in conjunction with growing concern over greenhouse gas, vegetarianism may be the future.

And, with the rise of vegetarianism, the future of steak may be very well done.


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