Sir Richard Branson is entitled to his own opinion, just not his own facts. Branson, the British billionaire entrepreneur, says he's given up eating beef and wants you to do the same.
Why? For your health and to save the planet, of course. He believes you should do so to reduce your carbon footprint. Seriously? That advice from a guy who owns an island in the Caribbean? That carbon footprint lifestyle must be off the charts. But wait, Branson cites some of his "facts" to support his proposition. Like, "it's estimated that 14.5% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock – which is more than the contribution from all forms of transport." Sorry, Richard, that claim (from the UN report Livestock's Long Shadow) was thoroughly debunked 7 years ago.
In fact, Dr. Frank Mitloehner's work on air quality at the University of California-Davis concluded we shouldn't blame cows for climate change.
Wanna tell Sir Richard he’s full of hot air? Go to Twitter and let him know @richardbranson. Or you can retweet from us @BeefToday.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
There's a whole bunch of misinformation about beef and agriculture out there. Unfortunately, the digital age has made it way too easy for charlatans with a keyboard to spew garbage that is dangerous to your business and the health of Americans. We've noted recently the anti-vaccine movement has created some serious health concerns, prompting professionals such as Dr. Aaron E. Carroll to provide some common sense to parents who need to be told "Why You Must Vaccinate Your Kids."
Fortunately, agriculture has a few common sense scientists, too. Want to know the truth about beef sustainability or its environmental impact? Check out Dr. Jude Capper’s presentation, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics."
Here's a tidbit of what you'll find there: "If everybody in the USA went meatless every Monday for an entire year…the national carbon footprint would decrease by less than 1/3 of 1 percent." You can follow Capper on Twitter @Bovidiva.
Too Much Bull
As with any sport, American rodeo has become big business. Still, we were surprised to discover breeding bucking bulls has become a high-tech, multimillion-dollar industry. American Bucking Bull, Inc. (ABBI), the largest organization tracking lineage, keeps a DNA database of more than 160,000 animals. In short, today's rodeo bulls are bigger and badder than they've ever been. And rodeo cowboys are starting to learn the sport at an early age. Too early, according to some. Andrea Appleton writes on SBNation.com that the rodeo industry is "obsessed with breeding bigger, nastier bulls" which is "putting children in harm's way." Her story tells of one champion rider who is fighting to change that.
Cattle Feeding Margins Top $300 Per Head
Cattle feeders saw another significant bump in profit margins last week. The unseasonal rally in fed cattle prices saw the market gain $4 to $5 per cwt. last week, which pushed average cattle feeding profits to $319 per head, according to the Sterling Beef Profit Tracker. Farrow to finish pork margins increased slightly to $103 per head. Both beef and pork profit margins are calculated by John Nalivka, president, Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore.