The Meat of the Issue

Common misconceptions about animal agriculture form the framework for "What Will We Eat?" [August 4-11].

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Common misconceptions about animal agriculture form the framework for "What Will We Eat?" [August 4-11]. First, what is called the woeful inefficiency of animal production needs perspective. Today's dairy cows produce 2 gallons of milk for every 10 pounds of feed, compared with less than 1 gallon 80 years ago. Dairy cows emit only one third as much methane per gallon of milk as they did 83 years ago. But the bigger issue is: What would we do with the planet's sizable land mass that produces forages were it not for ruminants? They utilize forage from land otherwise unsuited for intensive cultivation and provide highly desired, much-needed, nutrient-rich milk and meat. In vitro meat seems barely more than an idea. Ethanol from fibrous (cellulosic) feedstock is still on the drawing board. But those of us in the cattle business have been using cellulose technology since cattle were domesticated.

Steven Larson


Whitewater, Wis. Thank you for providing an objective look at the potential of meat grown in laboratories. In vitro meat will be humane, environmentally friendly, and free from the disease-causing organisms rampant in factory farming and animal slaughter. Concerned people don't need to wait for a scientific breakthrough. Meatless burgers, "chicken" nuggets, and even faux lobster are delicious, readily available, and kinder to animals, human health, and the environment. Visit VegCooking.com for shopping and dining tips and recipes.

Jeff Mackey


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, Va.