The following is an archived post
Eating local beef is important for many of the same reasons that “eating local” in general is important. Food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious, it leaves a lighter environmental footprint due to decreased transit time and use of fuel, and promotes environmental/food system sustainability and biodiversity.
Eating local beef has significant impact. Industrialized livestock facilities have replaced most family farms over the past 30-40 years in this country and practices in those facilities leave much to be desired. The massive amount of waste from these facilities lead to air and water pollution; animals suffer and are pumped with antibiotics and artificial hormones; workers are mistreated; the surrounding communities fall apart.
Meanwhile, our health is compromised because this industrial beef leads to outbreaks of food-borne illness and contributes to antibiotic resistance (in addition to general pollution).
Individuals, groups and organizations can all play a role in supporting local and sustainable beef. To play its part in the New York area, for instance, Flik Independent School Dining partners with the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company (NELPSC) of Sprakers, New York, a company of livestock farmers who help 113 livestock farms with the processing and marketing of their locally-raised meat so they can focus on doing what they do best…raising healthy animals.
Michael Pollan, writer and food activist says this regarding eating local and conservation: “Anyone who prizes agricultural landscapes, and worries about sprawl destroying them, should buy local whenever possible. It will do more to defend agricultural landscapes than writing checks to conservation organizations and land trusts does. To buy grass-finished beef from the Hudson Valley or New England is to help protect that beautiful quilted landscape of green pastures tucked into forests and stitched with stone walls.”
As a society, we should be consuming less meat in general for a variety of health and environmental reasons. Check out The Meatrix, a hilarious and informative website on industrialized meat.