Yes, I love animals. Yes, I eat meat! No, that isn’t contradictory.

I was recently told that ‘eating meat and loving animals is a contradictory and unethical statement’ and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’ve been brainstorming over the last few days how to best explain the reasons why I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.

I want to make it clear that I think everyone has the right to make their own decisions when it comes to what they put in their body. If you’re a vegetarian, keto, vegan, pescatarian, etc…. GREAT, that’s your decision. And just because I eat meat DOES NOT mean that I care less about animals.

I eat meat because I support growing and evolving multiple livestock industries that love and care for their animals. Farmers CARE about the livestock they raise. They strive to ensure that their animals are in good health, have adequate nutrition, are protected from predators, and are free from disease. Not only do they want their animals to be thriving, but producers LIVELIHOOD requires proper animal husbandry and welfare. If their animals are sick, they lose money from the cost of treatment, slowed growth, decreased production, and/or death.

I eat meat so the livestock industry can continue to improve animal husbandry and welfare practices on farm. The way that animals are raised and the way that crops are grown has changed drastically in the past 50 years. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant shift in the consumers priority for the type of product they demand. The focus used to be on how affordable the product was. Now, consumers value paying a premium for specific production practices and the quality of the product. As a society, we need to continue to invest in agricultural research to gain more knowledge about the best way to produce food for our country/world.

I eat meat because if I didn’t who would take care of these animals? Almost every day, I see stray cats, dogs, horses, or other companion animals that are not taken care of. Often, these animals are malnourished, emaciated, infested with parasites, infected with disease, and/or have suffered trauma/attacks. Rarely, do I see farmer owned animals in the condition that these animals are in. If I do, the farmer humanely euthanizes them. I appreciate that the healthy, well taken care of livestock we eat die a quick, humane death unlike many animals in the wild. Yes, I’ve seen the documentaries and news reports showing otherwise. But EVERY industry has ‘bad apples’. These ‘bad apples’ are not representative of the whole industry.

I eat meat because of the many health aspects. Meat is incredibly nutrient dense and is a high-quality source of protein that contains all essential amino acids and a variety of important fatty acids. Don’t forget the fact that meat is also a source of zinc, choline, iron, vitamin B12, potassium, vitamin D, and multiple more essential nutrients. Combined with grains and vegetables/fruit, it creates a complete and balanced diet.

I eat meat because only 1/3rd of the worlds land mass is suitable to grow crops for human consumption. If it wasn’t for the grazing and feeding of livestock, this would leave 2/3rds of our globe unusable for food production. Animals defecate and urinate on the soil, which adds water and microorganisms back to the earth. This naturally fertilizes the soil by increasing the biodiversity of the microbiome in the soil and helps to sequester carbon our carbon footprint.

The production of animals for food is not the only type of agriculture that contributes to animal death. Other types of agriculture also contribute; but, indirectly. Planting and harvesting crops to feed us also disrupts and destroys animal/plant ecosystems, contributes to climate change, and disrupts the natural soil microbiome. WE ALL CONTRIBUTE.

I AM NOT trying to get into an argument and DO NOT think that not eating meat is wrong. However, I’m simply trying to explain my perspective and my position on why I personally choose to eat meat.

Instead of focusing on who is better because of what we eat or what type of agriculture we support, why don’t we prioritize agriculture that is sustainable and safe. Agriculture that focuses on having the ability to CONTINUE to feed our growing population. Agriculture that strives to maintain and improve animal welfare and management practices. Agriculture that aspires to enhance our soils health so we can continue to feed humans and animals. Let's support our nation’s farmers by buying and eating locally grown products that can be grown/raised in our own country.

I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t have a voice. Please, ask questions, brainstorm ideas, do your research, and visit farms. Together, we can ALL contribute to a SUSTAINABLE future for agriculture.

#agalberta #agriculture #eatingmeat #beef #canadianbeef #canadabeef

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