Last month, comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres called on her fans and social media followers to be neat and eat less meat. That posting was not received well by the meat producers of the U.S. One of those who responded Amanda Radke, a South Dakota cattle farmer who penned an open letter to DeGeneres asking to come on her show to discuss livestock production and all of the benefits to the consumer and the environment. Radke said the argument that eating less meat is good for the environment does not hold up. She noted if every American were to adopt Meatless Mondays, it would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by less than 0.5%.
“So, what I’m telling folks is if they want to make a dietary change to impact planetary health in a positive way, we need to reduce food waste. Because 40% of the food we grow and produce here in the United States, goes uneaten. And so we really need to respect the harvest and we need to get our food in the hands of the people who need it the most.”
Radke added the way agriculture has been politicized as of recent should put producers on edge. Some vying for the Democratic presidential nomination are running on a platform of climate change that directs taxes and proposals squarely at the farmer, rancher and meat consumer.
“So, we’re talking sin taxes on meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, we’re talking about farmers and ranchers being taxed for their perceived emissions that we create. So, that’s a scary thing.”
Radke added the ultimate goal is to make eggs, dairy, meat, so expensive that most Americans cannot afford them all in the name of changing eating habits. She is calling on fellow cattle producers and others in agriculture to have a sense of urgency, and tell their story about what farming in the 21st century is truly like, so other don’t dictate the narrative.
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