As the world’s population continues to grow at an accelerated pace, the sustainability of food production is increasingly at the forefront of environmental, economic and social concerns. Current UN projections expect the global population to reach 10.5 billion by 2050. As things stand right now, the long-term sustainability of food production is in question.
The cattle industry is one of the leading contributors to environmental degradation and deforestation worldwide. In 2012, Canadians ate on average 20.9kg of beef per person annually. This unsustainable demand in Canada and other Western countries contributes to large-scale deforestation in much of the developing world. So, moderating our consumption of beef, and other industrial-scale meat products, can help reduce our environmental impact. Limiting yourself by not eating meat at every meal can greatly offset your contribution to the global food deficit.
However, when you’re buying locally produced Canadian beef, it doesn’t necessarily imply deforestation. Of the 83,000 farms and ranches with beef cattle across Canada, 61% had fewer than 47 cows. Smaller herds mean moderating grazing, and therefore less detriment to the land, and therefore the environment. So, moderate your consumption of beef, and eat locally.