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Meatless challenge action causes beef with Alberta producers

Meatless challenge action causes beef with Alberta producers

Environment Lethbridge suggested people eat less meat

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

An Environment Lethbridge initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has generated pushback from Alberta’s ranching community.

Environment Lethbridge’s Green Challenge encourages Albertans to perform five actions over the next 30 days, including going meatless one day per week.

“Meat production and consumption is one of the leading generators of greenhouse gas,” Environment Lethbridge’s website says. “It is responsible for 18 per cent of the planet’s greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide.”

And the meatless challenge action has caused a beef with Alberta producers.

Alberta is home to nearly 42 per cent of all beef cattle in Canada, according to the 2016 Census of Agriculture. And cattle feeders contribute about $355 million to the provincial GDP, according to the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association.

So targeting an industry that’s synonymous with the province’s identity is concerning, says Doug Munton, owner of Benchmark Angus in Lethbridge.

“It’s a slap in the face to our farmers and ranchers in the area,” he told Global News yesterday. “I’m not saying be blind to the issue, but let’s not crucify people that are trying to make an honest living in an honest way. They are the best stewards of the land.”

Environment Lethbridge says going meatless will reduce greenhouse gases.

But Alberta’s beef organization dismisses that notion.

“It’s disappointing to see an organization such as Environment Lethbridge, with clearly good intentions, to make the misinformed suggestion that going meatless for one day a week will reduce people’s environmental impact substantially,” Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers, told Global News.

Environment Lethbridge’s other four challenge actions:

  •  reduce shower time
  • bring reusable bags to grocery stores
  • stop cars from idling
  •  unplug electronics

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