Sunday, October 5, 2014

Is It Warm in Here Paul?

This past week the topic of climate change has been in the news quite a bit. The U.N. hosted a one day summit on climate change in New York drawing large crowds of protestors.  An estimated” 400,000 people represented labor unions, church groups and schools. Our President spoke to the U.N. on the subject. It seems everyone has climate change on their minds, or at least that is what the media would have you believe.
Right smack dab in the middle of all of this chatter about climate change was Sir Paul McCartney. It seems this former Beatle is promoting “Meat Free Mondays” as a way to lower green house emissions, curb climate change and eventually save the world. Now I never was much of a Beatles fan so it is easy for me to view this as just another miss-guided celebrity trying to garner as much publicity using the cause of the day.
Sure Paul has recruited the likes of Twiggy and Woody Harrelson. Now I don’t know about you but a cause that features an aging member of a boy band, a super model and a convicted drug user, who rose to fame playing one of the dumbest characters ever, just screams legitimacy. Unless I am confused I do not see any of this band of characters with any scientific background or special knowledge in the area of climate change or livestock production. Let alone any of them having expertise in both areas.
It is scary to think about how many people will go to Mr. McCartney’s U-Tube page and watch this slick video that is very much propaganda and take it as the truth. It proclaims that too many livestock are warming up the earth and melting the polar ice caps. It happily proclaims Meat Free Monday as a Fun Day, all the while mixing in happy little, smiling cartoon livestock. It is a catchy little tune without much substance and devoid of any truth.
So what, who listens to celebrities and who watches U-Tube videos? Apparently the Dripping Springs School District in Houston has implemented Meat Free Mondays in three of its elementary schools. Students can still have meat for lunches on Monday, but only if they bring their lunch from home. School officials said the program will promote healthy eating and environmental conscientious thinking. The official also said that benefits of growing vegetables over raising livestock include less greenhouse gases.
The idea behind Meat Free Monday is that livestock contribute large amounts greenhouse gases and if we lower our consumption of meat we will therefore put less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and lessen climate change. All of this is based on very flawed research that has been taken out of context to prove the activists point of view. But it is not all about climate change or environmental awareness either.
The animal rights groups are at work here also. They are working behind the scenes to scare people into becoming vegetarians with the threat of climate change. Groups like HSUS and PETA are quick to jump on the environmental awareness bandwagon to promote their own causes. Worst of all, campaigns like McCartney’s and the Dripping Springs school district are slick and aimed at unsuspecting children and young adults.
What can we do as livestock producers? We need to take every opportunity to tell the story of agriculture. We need to let all consumers know that the meat we raise is the best way to utilize our precious environmental resources. America’s farmers and ranchers are the original environmentalists and we would never do anything to jeopardize the water, air or soil around us. We need to tell this to anyone who will listen utilizing any method available. I truly believe that most consumers trust farmers and ranchers more than celebrities.
Then and only then, we will start to neutralize the sensationalized, glamorized, hyped up propaganda pushed by special interest groups using celebrities to push their agendas. I don’t know about you but I must say I heartily disagree with Sir Paul McCartney; a Meat Free Monday is not a fun day. However, when it comes to rising global temperatures I do have a good idea where all the hot air is coming from.

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