Grass Vs. Grain Fed Beef Discussion Turns Ugly

Prairie Gleanings

I always assumed feeding more people was a good thing. Apparently, not everyone agrees.

Published on: April 6, 2012
I don’t know about you, but when I see the commercials about malnourished children in Africa, my heart breaks. Apparently, not all folks feel the same way.

Last weekend, I was on a “survival skills” weekend. To say the crowd was environmentally conscious would be an understatement. Of course, the campfire topic of conversation frequently turned to food. I was there to have a good time, so I tried to stay silent.

On the second day, my buddy thought it would be humorous to goad me into a debate with these folks. The topic was grass-fed beef. I explained why I have no problem with corn-fed beef. They looked at me as if I’d just dumped millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

One person even said, “I don’t know how you could even argue that corn-fed beef is better than grass fed.” Not making much headway in the economics, efficiency or taste department, I pulled out the “lower-class deserves animal protein too” argument. In their infinite wisdom, the group agreed lower class folks should be eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Not wanting to explain the cost/supply ramifications of finding fresh veggies in East St. Louis, I leaned back and rolled my eyes.

The conversation continued. The group began to trash the world’s food distribution system. Then they said we should get back to the days when everyone grew their own food. At this point, my friend was very sorry he’d started down this path. Becoming outraged, he made the point that many starving people in this world eat because of U.S. farmers. “What, would you have a significant portion of the world population starve, in the name of shunning modern farming practices?” he asked.

To our complete disbelief, the conversation ringleader piped up and said, “I’m fine with that.”

Rather than start a shouting match, we shook our heads and walked away. We both couldn’t believe that the same folks who were gung ho on saving the earth and preaching tolerance would willingly let people starve for the sake of “getting back to our roots.”

FYI: one of the arguments brought up about “getting back to our roots” was that man was initially created to be a hunter/gatherer. Again, the same people who were intrigued by the evolutionary process of insects were unwilling to admit that agriculture was a phenomenal invention.

Since I was too busy taking deep breaths, I didn’t have time to point out that they all wouldn’t have a job if society went back to the good ole days. They’d be too busy trying to fatten up that cow before they ran out of meat. Here’s a tip: feed it corn!