Don’t Cattle Drink Too Much Water?

Well, if you’ve been with me this far Dear Reader, what do you think? Propaganda coming out of the People’s Socialist Republic of New York tells school children that “it takes ten full bathtubs of water to produce a quarter-pound burger.” Lies, lies and more lies. Where does this water come from? Water treatment plants? Underground springs? Of course not. The vast majority of the water that cattle use comes from the sky; it would fall on the land if the cattle were there or not. Quelle surprise!

Rodgers and Wolf drill down deeper into water use and conclude that 92% of the water feedlot cattle use comes from, you guessed it, the sky. What’s the number for sustainably raised, grass-fed cattle: 97-98%. So, the cattle use too much water argument is pure nonsense. Moreover, ruminants actually increase the benefits of rainwater because they improve the ground’s ability to absorb and retain water. Remember that our authors made the obvious point that ruminants have co-evolved with plants. The former is integral to the health of the latter. If farmers overgraze the land or undergraze it via monocrop agriculture or leaving it as permanent fallow, they end up destroying the soil. Isn’t the logical middle ground, our authors ask, properly managed animals that enhance food production and grassland health?

I have another question for you Dear Reader. Do you think that plants require water to grow? When do we learn that yes is the answer to this question? When we’re two or three maybe. Are you shocked to learn, if we use the greens’ own water use methodology, that plants use huge amounts of water? It takes 410 gallons of water to produce a pound of rice. Walnuts, avocados and sugar use similar amounts. And yet cattle and other animals get all the hate. Rodgers and Wolf discuss this hypocrisy when they examine the amount of water used in California from reservoirs to irrigate crops, in particular, almonds. California agriculture uses 80% of the available water, yet again, we don’t hear any hate from the environmentalists. The authors don’t say it, but I will: total hypocrites.


This chapter, probably more than any other, demonstrates that the attack on cattle and meat is not only wrong, it is wholly dishonest. “How much water did it take to produce your almond flour muffin, your tofurkey sandwich, your “clean” Beyond Burger made from ultraprocessed pea protein isolate and canola,” our authors ask. The answer is huge amounts and far more than sustainably raised beef.

If I have one criticism with this chapter, it’s that again our authors are too polite and give the other side the benefit of the doubt. I see this all the time with those dealing with the political left. They seem to think these guys are just mistaken. Maybe some are, but most know what they’re doing. The attack on meat is not about sustainability and saving Gaia, it’s about control. This is why passages like these frustrate me, “The simplistic narrative is that “plant-based” options are inherently more sustainable than meat-inclusive options. As compelling as this notion may appear on the surface, the truth of the matter might not be as cut-and-dried as we’d thought.” The case is not compelling, even on the surface. Even worse, our authors have conclusively proved that the truth is very different than what the meat-haters claim. Come on authors, be bold and smash your ideological enemies! They do all the can to smash us.

At least on the next page they state “Well-managed ruminant animals are the key to our future. We absolutely need to include them as a solution to our broken agricultural system, which has destroyed much of our soil.”

That’s more like it!

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