This year, the recipe and menu company Epicurious decided that it would not add anymore beef recipes to its recipes list. Moving forward, Epicurious will not add to the list of beef recipes that they’ve posted on their in their articles. The company added that it will no longer feature recipes that include beef on its homepage or social media feed. Epicurious made it obvious that they were leaving beef behind for climate change, and that they “… think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet”. In this decision, Epicurious has taken a necessary first step toward more sustainable agriculture.

How Much Land Do Cows Use In Agriculture

The consequences of poor farming practices are most apparent in water and land use. Livestock animals eat massive amounts of vegetation so that they can meet their caloric requirements, growing enough food for livestock limits the amount of land and water that could be used for human consumable crops. Cows are large animals and are costly to raise to maturity. Just one dairy cow may consume tens of thousands more calories than any human does, and their calories come strictly for plants. Factory in how much space livestock need to roam, play and interact, and you end up needing even more land space to support their life styles – perhaps this is the one benefit to factory farm operations, which limit livestock movement to within confined structures.

How Do Cows Produce Methane?

We must be tactful in how we use land, as it is not an unlimited asset. The same is true of our air. Methane is an element of natural gas found in underground reserves, produced in land-fills and released during enteric fermentation in ruminants, like cows. As mentioned in Epicurious’ blog post, Every Question You Have About Cattle, Climate, and Why Epicurious Is Done With Beef, that the crops fed to livestock is made using pesticides and fertilizer that are derived from fossil fuels. When that feed is metabolized in cows, it is converted into manure that is then spread over fields or runs off into water ways. In certain water systems, organic waste introduces excess nutrients, phosphorus and nitrogen, and is responsible for algae overgrowth. Algae blooms deplete the oxygen and sunlight from surface water ecosystems, causing illness and sometimes death in other species within the system. On land, manure releases nitrous oxide and methane into airways, magnifying greenhouse gas warming. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that in 2019, 10 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions came from its agriculture sector.

Epicurious has expressed not eating beef is a means to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Here at ecoTreatise, we believe pork, chicken, seafood and dairy may also be left behind if chefs are looking to further reduce their overall environmental impact. Please visit our Vegan Lifestyle magazine for more information on how to make eco-minded decisions with your food plan.

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