Managing Beef Production due to its Effects on the Environment

by caily on September 29, 2017 - 10:37pm

The production process of manufacturing beef is a leading cause of many environmental concerns. The way this resource is managed is key in lowering green house gas emissions. The production of beef expels more than just greenhouse gas emissions it is also threatening biodiversity, water pollution, land degradation and much more. 

The manufacturing of beef has a larger impact in comparison to other products such as dairy, poultry, pork and eggs due to its size and its longer growth period. The amount of land, water and fertilizers necessary for production purposes is significantly larger than other agriculture practices. Approximately 28 times more land is degraded, 11 times more water is consumed, 5 times more greenhouse gases are emitted and 6 times more nitrogen fertilizer is released opposed to substituting beef. The article portrays to readers that a resolution to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts is to remove beef from your diet. The article features evidence from the U.S Environmental Protection agency that, “the average American who switches from beef to pork would reduce the equivalent of 540 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, which is about nine days worth of the nation’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions.” The article explains that substituting beef with another resource can make a positive impact on the environment. 

      If every American switched from beef to a substitute that is equal to a reduction of 540 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, which is equal to 9 days worth of greenhouse gas emissions, that means that since there is approximately 323.1 million people in the United States who all substituted beef in their diet this would be equivalent to the population times 9 days of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. That would make an extremely large difference in the rate of emissions. If we know we can reduce emissions this much, then why don't we? 

One of the issues with this environmental concern is a concept known as the tragedy of the commons. It can be broadcasted that eating less beef will make a significant decrease in our emissions of greenhouse gases although there is no true incentive for anyone to stop eating beef. 

Now this is where resource management and stakeholders play an important role in the protection of the environment. If corporations manufactured less beef and stores raised the prices of beef, there would be less beef being manufactured and less beef being bought because of the increase in price. So, why isn't this happening? 

Well, if one corporation began producing less beef for the purpose of lessening environmental impacts, and others continued to produce just as much beef or even more beef they would want to continue manufacturing beef for income as well. It is a prominent issue that no corporation is going to act in the common good without an incentive. 

It is apparent their is a clear answer to one way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but the key to making this happen is the industries in which are managing resources to the public and supply to the demand. 



E. Chung. (2014). Beef’s Environmental Costs Called Exceptionally High. CBC News. Retrieved From:

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