Nutrition is a field of contradictions and changing fads. However, amidst it all, is an essential food source that has been severely underrated, and even outright disapproved of.
It is animal fat and organs.
Part Four of a Six Part Series.
Eating meat has also been maligned in recent years for a new reason: climate change. In light of this, the discussion of eating meat has gradually become a question of ethics rather than a discussion around health. The concern that meat is unsustainable for the environment has contributed to people turning vegetarian and vegan.
According to the United Nations, beef generates 70.6 kilograms of greenhouse gases per kilogram of food, but vegetables generate 0.7 kilograms.
These statements have encouraged more people to become vegans, reasoning that the vegan diet is the most sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free.
Both Fallon and Kiltz find this concerning from a nutritional perspective.
Going on this diet in the long-term will require the addition of nutritional supplements to prevent deficiencies and malnutrition. Vegan diets definitely need to be supplemented with vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, to compensate for low protein intake, many vegans also need to specifically seek out vegan foods which are often marketed at a higher price.
Nonetheless, the agenda against eating meat and raising livestock has persisted.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote that livestock and other agricultural activities produce 37 percent of methane emissions. Methane makes up around 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions; however, as it is 30 times more insulative heat than carbon dioxide, activities that produce methane, including cattle farming, have been severely criticized.
Reports are emerging from the Netherlands, where farmers are forced to slash their cattle numbers as their lands are too close to lands protected for their habitat.
Under these regulations, Martin Neppelenbroek, a dairy farmer, is forced to slash 95 percent of his cattle numbers.
“I can’t run a farm on 5 percent. For me, it’s over and done with,” he said in a July 7 interview with The Epoch Times.
Neppelenbroek said he may have to sell his land; however, no one else seems to want to buy it but the government.
Research for Cow of the Future
Juan Tricarico, Ph.D., is an expert in the cow’s digestive and rumen system and understands very well the role nutrition can play in methane reduction. He remembers “moon shot” discussions as part of the dairy industry’s “Cow of the Future” program years ago.
“We had an exercise with the Cow of the Future research consortium and within that work we did what we called ‘moon shots,’ and one of them focused on imagining cows that produce no enteric methane,” said Tricarico, vice president of sustainability research for the farmer-founded Dairy Management Inc., an organization that grows sales and trust on behalf of U.S. dairy farmers and importers.
Tricarico is encouraged by the amount of sustainability-based research commitments being made to dairy. One of the latest is the Greener Cattle Initiative, a global five-year initiative to support research and ultimately provide dairy and beef producers with effective, scalable and commercially feasible solutions to mitigate enteric emissions.
Through this initiative, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, (FFAR), Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and several industry partners formed a public-private partnership to develop and evaluate feed ingredients, technologies to monitor emissions, breeding programs that produce low-methane-emitting cattle, and socioeconomic analysis of practices.
“This is the vision of the future,” Tricarico said. “Its objective is to discover new knowledge and will allow us to be very ambitious looking forward.
“A few years ago, I might have said it’s impossible for a cow to not produce any methane. Today, I say let’s look at microbial ecology and put some funding into research that just may give us opportunities that we have never dreamed of.”