Letters to the editor: Where’s the beef on climate change?


Beef farming is preserving Canada’s grasslands

In his Op-Ed, Factory farming is Canada’s sacred cow on climate change, (NOW Online, November 2) Shane Moffatt of Greenpeace suggests targets to reduce meat production and consumption in Canada would be beneficial to climate and nature. As a local beef farmer, I’d like to suggest that could be harmful to climate targets and preserving natural spaces.

In Canada, 44 million acres of grasslands and pastures are cared for by beef farmers and ranchers. This includes 35 million acres of native temperate grasslands, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the entire world. It is also one of the most stable carbon sinks – carbon that would largely be released if these lands were cultivated or developed. In fact, protecting grasslands has been identified as one of the largest natural climate solution opportunities in Canada and the families that raise beef cattle are preserving the majority that remains intact.

Since grasslands evolved under grazing pressure, the ecosystem and wildlife that live there require a keystone herbivore to survive and thrive – a role now played by cattle. In fact, the farms and ranches where beef cattle are raised provide the majority of wildlife habitat on all food-producing lands. I see this in my own pasture where cattle share the land with the threatened Bobolink. A loss of land where cattle are raised means a loss of habitat, including homes for more than 60 species at risk.

With COP26, there will be a lot of discussion about the impact of animal agriculture on global emissions. Context in this conversation is imperative. There are large regional differences and impacts associated with raising cattle in different parts of the world. Canadian beef has one of the world’s lowest greenhouse gas footprints and farmers and ranchers are fully committed to continuous improvement.

Reducing our beef consumption is not the silver bullet. For Canada to be a climate leader on wildlife habitat we all hope it to be, an environmentally responsible and economically viable beef industry is a key partner, not a target.

Rob LipsettPresident, Beef Farmers of Ontario

Political parties too entrenched in the fossil fuel industry

Re Despite “code red,” governments continue to support fossil fuels (NOW Online, November 3).

If we want to see real, effective environmental change in Canada, Canadians will need to be bold and choose to elect neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives. They are far too entrenched with the fossil fuel industries to ever be truly willing to do what’s necessary.

Christopher KingFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

Bovine Sex Club for frustrated Conservatives

I found it interesting that there were articles on both the Albany Club and the Bovine Sex Club in the most recent print issue. They were very informative.

I had thought the Bovine Sex Club was an association for lonely or adventurous cowboys. But it’s good that the two clubs were named the way they were. If the names had been reversed, there might have been some very confused or frustrated Victorian Conservatives.

Bruce CouchmanOttawa

Recognizing Indigenous war veterans

Re Remembrance Day and reconciliation: Is it time to raise the flag? (NOW Online, November 4)

Excellent article. It’s a real change to read something well researched and thoughtful. I didn’t know about November 8 being Indigenous Veterans Day and will make an effort to join in special recognition of this day.

Brian GreenwayFrom NOWTORONTO.COM

An awesome look at Danforth Village

Re Last dash to Danforth Village (NOW, November 4-11).

Just wanted to say that this article is awesome. It’s thorough and does an incredible job of educating alongside its wariness on gentrification.

I moved into a place on Dentonia Park in July and have made a list of places to try now! Keep up the great work.

Meaghan AcklandFrom NOWTORONTO.COM




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