Dear Ellen--

             Now that you've launched your #BeNeatEatLessMeat campaign, I'd like to encourage you to refine the message to #BeNeatEatLessJunkMeat.  To lump all meat into a "bad for you and the environment" ball is incorrect, unfair, and offensive.

             Roughly 75 percent of all the agricultural land in the world can't grow veggies.  It's too steep, too infertile, too rocky, or two far from diesel fuel.  But these areas grow grass.  You could eat that grass all day and you'd die.  Humans can't metabolize grass.

             But the rumen bacteria inside an herbivore can upgrade grass to meat and milk, both extremely nutrient dense foodstuffs for humans.  To deny humans the food value of 75 percent of the world's agriculture area is to condemn millions if not billions to starvation, and I know you wouldn't want that.

             Feeding the world without animals?  The numbers just don't stack up.  Now how about food quality?  Let's look at a short list of comparisons:

             FOOD                              QUANTITY                        PROTEIN                        CALORIES


            Beef                             3 oz. (one serving)              25 grams                           173

            Quinoa                  3 cups                                    25                                       666

            Black beans          2 cups                                   25                                       613

           Edamame                    1 cup                                    25                                       249


In case you missed it, 3 cups of quinoa and 2 cups of black beans is a pile.  I might not want to be in the same room with you if you've eaten that much.

          A wonderful letter sent to you from Amanda Radke, a rancher, points out that your fave CoverGirl makeup uses ingredients from beef.  And her point about beef producing less greenhouse (GHG) gases than landfills is good too.

             Perhaps the most disingenuous aspect of your crusade is that you refuse to parse the difference between regenerative and degenerative beef production models.  To refuse to recognize the clear soil building versus soil depleting reality of a mob stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration model offends anyone with an ounce of functioning brain fatty acids (most of which come from animal fats). 

             So how about we stop the war against diversity and nutrition?  How about we stop the war against enough food?  Let's appreciate that people are different and that if you thrive on a non-meat diet, good for you.  Most don't.  You of all people should appreciate diversity and not demand a one size fits all approach.

             You should come and visit Polyface.  You would see such abundance in wildlife, insect life, pollinators living in, above, and around our perennial pasture grasslands it will make your heart sing.  I challenge you to go visit where your veggies are grown and tell me those areas germinate as much life diversity.  Go ahead, take a look.

             How about let's promote eating good food, authentic food, ecologically enhancing food, from whatever source?  And let's not bathe the world in uncharitable elitism.  Hmmmm?


             Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm

 What would you tell her?