As a rancher from Creston, I would like to offer an alternative perspective on eating less meat for the planet.
One of the most endangered ecosystems in the entire world is right here in Canada, our native temperate grasslands, with less than 24 per cent remaining. Most intact grasslands left are in the care of the families that raise beef cattle in Canada, totalling over 35 million acres. These are not converted for grazing animals. They are in their natural state with native plants and wildlife.
The majority of Canadian wildlife habitats, 68 per cent, are within the agricultural land used for beef cattle production. On native grasslands, this includes over 60 species at risk. Farmers and ranchers work with conservation organizations to ensure they can provide suitable habitat, including fencing off waterways and ponds.
A reduction in eating beef would result in the further conversion and loss of these landscapes for planting crops. With approximately 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon currently sequestered, we stand to lose one of our best natural climate solutions without beef cattle. For the preservation of native grasslands, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage, I hope you can consider Canadian beef a sustainable choice.
Larry Rast, Creston