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The Beef Diet

  Prescription for Disaster, by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
Beef Quotes   What doctors say about beef.
Watered Steak   The Customer Wants a Juicy Steak? Just Add Water
Beyond Beef   Everything you ever wanted to know about beef.
Meat Link   SARS: Another Deadly Virus From the Meat Industry.
What Mad Cow Means   March 2006. USDA claims
777 Mad Cows   March 2006. Estimated total mad cows slaughtered (eaten?) in US: 777 in 8 years.
USDA Misleading   USDA Misleading Public about Beef Safety, by Michael Greger, M.D.
Canadian Meat   Jan 2006. U.S. report says inspections of Canadian meat imports have been deficient.
Cow Brain Dinner   May 2005. Cow Brain: It's What's for Dinner!
Mad Cow Incubation

July 2006. Study days Mad Cow epidemic may be incubating in thousands of people

http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iTzy28QH4us

The USDA on Mad Cow: Don't Ask, Don't Tell
download flv file

Mad Cow Cover Up   May 2005. Feds probing alleged mad cow cover-up.
Mad Cow June '05   Mad Cow disease confirmed in USA.
Our Mad Cow Defense   Jan. 2006. Researchers, McDonald's Say U.S. Govt BSE Defense Not Working.

Most people know that beef consumption plays a major role in the development of heart disease, strokes, and cancer. But the over-consumption of beef is also a major cause of human hunger and poverty, deforestation, spreading deserts, water pollution, water scarcity, global warming, species extinction, and animal suffering. We in the United States are a big part of the problem. Americans consume almost a quarter of all the beef produced in the world. Every 24 hours 100,000 cattle are slaughtered in the United States; the average American consumes the meat of seven 1,100-pound animals in his or her lifetime.

HEALTH

Each year, the death toll continues to mount for consumers of beef and other red meats. According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, more than 70 percent of deaths in this country -- more than 1.5 million annually -- are related to diet, particularly the over-consumption of beef and other foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Study after study confirms that consumption of red meat is a primary factor in the development of heart disease, strokes, and colon and breast cancer. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend that people reduce their consumption of red meat and other animal-derived foods, and eat more grain, fresh vegetables, and fruits instead. Recently, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that beef contains the highest concentration of herbicides of any food sold in America. The NAS also found that beef ranks second only to tomatoes as the food posing the greatest cancer risk due to pesticide contamination, and ranks third of all foods in insecticide contamination. Aside from smoking, there is probably no greater personal health risk than eating too much beef and other meat.

GLOBAL HUNGER

The beef addiction of the United States and other industrialized nations has set off a global food crisis. Today, hundreds of millions of cattle are being fed precious grain so that American and European consumers can enjoy the pleasures of "marbled" beef. Meanwhile, nearly one billion people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and between 40 and 60 million people -- mostly children -- die each year from starvation and related diseases. Currently, more than 70 percent of the U.S. grain harvest -- and more than one third of the grain produced in the world -- is fed to cattle and other livestock. We could provide proper nourishment to more than a billion people if we used the world's agricultural lands to grow food for human consumption rather than feed for cattle and other livestock.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Forests, particularly the rain forests of Central America and the Amazon, are being burned and cleared to make way for cattle pasture. Since 1960, more than 25 percent of the Central American forests have been lost to beef production -- most of it for export to the United States and Europe. It has been estimated that for every quarter-pound fast-food hamburger made from Central American beef, 55 square feet of tropical forest -- including 165 pounds of unique species of plants and animals -- is destroyed. Today, the world's 1.3 billion cattle are stripping vegetation and compacting and eroding soil, thus creating deserts out of grasslands. More than 60 percent of the world's rangelands have been damaged by overgrazing during the past half century. In the United States, cattle have done more to alter the environment of the West than all the highways, dams, strip mines, and power plants put together. Cattle production is a major cause of water pollution. In the United States, cattle produce nearly one billion tons of organic waste each year. It has been estimated that cattle and other livestock account for a significant percentage of pollutants in the nation's rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers. Raising cattle also requires vast amounts of water. Nearly half the water consumed in the United States is used to grow feed for cattle and other livestock -- while our precious stores of fresh water dwindle at an alarming rate. The grain-fed cattle complex is now a significant factor in the generation of three major gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide -- that are responsible for global warming. The burning of the world's forests for cattle pasture has released billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The world's 1.3 billion cattle and other ruminant livestock emit 60 million tons of methane through their digestive systems directly into the atmosphere each year. Moreover, to produce feed crops for cattle requires the use of petro-chemical fertilizers which emit vast amounts of nitrous oxide. These gases are building up in the atmosphere, blocking heat from escaping the planet, and could cause a global climate change of cataclysmic proportions in the next century. Cattle and beef production is contributing significantly to the dramatic loss of biodiversity, including species extinction, now occurring across the globe. In all major cattle producing countries, wildlife habitat is being destroyed to create cattle pasture, as in the rain forests of Central America, or the huge cattle population is destroying habitat and using up food and water needed by wildlife. In the United States and Australia, cattle ranching has resulted in the purposeful mass extermination of predator and "nuisance" species -- a virtual war on wildlife. In Africa, millions of wild animals have died of thirst or starvation after finding their migratory paths blocked by fences built to contain cattle.

ANIMAL SUFFERING

Cattle are exposed to harsh living conditions, rough handling, and often outright abuse and cruelty throughout their short lives. Cattle are routinely castrated, dehorned, and hot-iron branded without anesthetics. Cattle released on the open range must fend for themselves for several months, often succumbing to weather extremes and other dangers. Animals transported to feedlots and slaughterhouses are often shocked with electric prods, beaten, kicked, dragged and deprived of food and water for long periods. Overcrowded trucks cause broken limbs; injured and sick animals are routinely dragged out of trucks and onto the kill floor where slaughter techniques remain primitive and brutal. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that the sickness, injury, and premature death of cattle represents an economic loss of $4.6 billion a year in the United States.

From wheeler@super.org
Wed Feb 24 17:48:27 1993
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 10:32:46 EDT
From: wheeler@super.org (Ferrell S. Wheeler)
To: tms@cs.umd.edu
Subject: BB Farm Policy
FAMILY FARM POLICY
Beyond Beef Campaign
1130 17th St., NW Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: 202-775-1132
Fax: 202-775-0074

Beyond Beef Farm Policy By Howard Lyman, Executive Director, Beyond Beef campaign, former senior lobbyist for the National Farmers Union; and Mark Ritchie, Executive Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

To an intelligent being from another planet, U.S. food and agricultural policies and programs would appear deranged. Today, U.S. taxpayers are helping to support an agricultural system that feeds livestock before human beings, devastates peasant farmers, causes food shortages and hunger for millions of people in developing countries, and forces tens of thousands of small American farmers out of business. The current system also promotes the production and consumption of fatty and chemical-laden animal-derived foods that are killing us, and is ruining and poisoning the very soil and water we need to keep our agricultural system running.

Beyond Beef is promoting a fundamental restructuring of U.S. food and agriculture policy in order to reverse these destructive trends. We need to make a transition from feed to food production by rewarding the nation's small farmers with higher prices for growing food for people instead of feed for livestock. Those who wish to continue producing grain-fed beef should have to pay the true market value of the grain.

The world can no longer afford the social and environmental costs of producing grain-fed, or even grass-fed, beef at current levels. Reducing the production and consumption of beef by at least 50 percent will help free agricultural land to grow food for human consumption rather than feed for livestock. Fewer cattle will also lessen the environmental toll on the world's remaining forests and grasslands. Encouraging consumers who continue to consume some beef to demand beef from cattle that are humanely raised under sustainable standards will help encourage a new commercial market for organic beef -- a market niche that can be filled by the family farm. Only the small family farmer can produce beef and other farm products humanely and sustainably.

The Beyond Beef program is working to restore the position of the family farm in American life. In the United States today, three voracious multi-national corporations hold a near total monopoly on beef production. Their priority is cheap livestock feed. U.S. government policies support these corporations by keeping market prices below the cost of production; American taxpayers are subsidizing the production of beef. The small family farmer is in a box. He must produce more product at a return below the cost of production in an attempt to spread his fixed cost over more volume. This dilemma makes the family farmer easy prey for the huge agribusiness monopolies that dictate the rules of the game. Unable to get enough income, the family farmer is forced to abandon beef production altogether in favor of maximum yield production of monoculture feed grain. Even then, he's not receiving a high enough price for the feed to cover his costs. Moreover, attempts to increase yields requires the use of more and more chemical fertilizers that, in the end, are self-defeating because they increase costs and lower yields in the long run -- they are also polluting the environment.

Grain sold in the world market for a price that is below the cost of production is also devastating third world farmers. Unlike their American counterparts, however, they are not receiving taxpayer subsidies to supplement their income. They must either stop farming, try to get a job in the city, or expand agricultural production into environmentally sensitive areas such as the rain forest. Efforts by progressive farm organizations to establish fair prices for corn, wheat, and other crops have been consistently blocked by the giant agribusiness corporations that feed cattle in huge feedlots. The owners of these "beef factories" want to pay the lowest possible price for feed, and they don't care how many small and medium-sized family farmers go out of business or which rain forest gets destroyed. Their only concern is maximum short-term profit. If consumers unite with family farmers to break the monopoly power of agribusiness, it can lead the way to both financial security for family farmers and the elimination of ecologically unsound beef production.

Farmers and consumers also need to work together to defeat new government proposals which would open the U.S. market to greatly expanded amounts of imported beef. Most of this imported beef is produced on rain forest land in Latin America, making it extremely low priced. Not only would the expansion of beef imports accelerate rain forest destruction, it would drive down even further the price paid to family farmers, pushing many tens of thousands out of business and leaving the market solely in the hands of the huge conglomerates. For the moment, corporate control over the livestock industry means that farmers and consumers will have to establish a number of alternative marketing routes in order to meet the demand for organically raised beef. We need to follow the lead of other countries, where consumer and farmer groups have agreed on specific standards for price, quality, and ecological considerations, and then established a special label for meats complying with these standards.

The Beyond Beef campaign will challenge the unwarranted power amassed by America's agribusiness corporations and the cattle and beef industry giants...and promote a new commercial market for organically raised beef helping to restore a viable market share for the nation's family farmers.

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