beef cattle pasture

Consider the cow

It's that large bovine that supplies us with so much of our diet.

It's that large bovine that supplies us with so much of our diet. Milk for our children; ice cream, the world's finest comfort food; cheese, milk's leap into the tasty realm of fine wines. As wine aficionados are called vinophiles, shouldn't dairy fans be called lactophiles? For carnivores, consider beef, it's what's for dinner (and lunch and breakfast and snacks in between). Let's set a separate category for brisket and ribs, the twin cores of great barbecue, man's ultimate culinary achievement.

Of course, raising these fine animals are people called ranchers, and tending them are others called cowboys. If there was ever a working definition of America and who we want to be, there it is. The legends and the mythology America is made of ranchers and cowboys. It explains who we are and how we think about ourselves to the world. A man on a horse with a six gun strapped to his side calls up an international image of our country probably even more recognizable than the stars and stripes or the singing of The Star Spangled Banner.

So it seems to be extreme silliness that cattle (for urban folk, that's the collective noun for groups of bovines) are being attacked by earnest and well-meaning youngsters as an environmental disaster. They point with alarm at the excretions of these animals, ranting mindlessly that cow chips and urine streams are polluting our waterways and the more 'aromatic' gasses that regularly pass from either end of their alimentary canals are one of the primary causes of global warming.

Really? Worse than all the cars and trucks of the world combined as many of the most extreme anti-animal ag types claim? Have those folks ever been to Beijing? I'm sure none of them have ever been to rural Nebraska or central Kansas where cows vastly outnumber people. Contrast the Jello-thick smog of the Forbidden City with the crystalline air of Lincoln, Neb., or Fort Hays, Kan.

The air surrounding Beijing has a certain chewy consistency with just a 'soupçon' of metallic flavoring to it. The winter air in America's cattle country can be cold and crisp with the snap and smell of a freshly picked Jonathon apple. People from large cities, accustomed to having their air pre-treated with a collection of various pollutants so that it is as warmly noxious as diesel exhaust, sometimes find real fresh air almost painful to breathe.

Breathable air shouldn't smell like you're standing at the back end of a diesel-powered bus under full throttle.

And if these anti-animal agriculture people want to be taken seriously, they should stop ranting and raving about a perfectly good food source. Show me something that would satisfy as many people while contributing fewer pollutants. Being against something without offering an alternative is lazy, sloth-like silliness. I think deep down, they know what we have is best. Nothing else can compare, certainly not kale chips.

There is a good reason that steak houses are so popular and it’s damn hard to find a restaurant specializing in 'all eggplant all the time.'  

 

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