'The Happy Meal ain't so happy' – new film reveals why beef is bad news for the environment

Cattle grazing on deforested Amazon landDid you know it takes 7lb of grain to make 1lb of hamburger? And 2,500 gallons of water? Not to mention the vast amounts of harmful methane that beef cows produce, and the deforestation involved in creating new pastureland for grazing.

In fact, as new short film The Secret Life of Beef makes clear, in terms of its effect on the environment, beef is probably the worst meat out there – making it the best one to try cutting down on or giving up first.

It features an interview with the headmaster of a Baltimore school, Hampstead Hill Academy, explaining why they and other schools within Baltimore City have adopted a Meat Free Monday

“The students are choosing, we think, healthier foods, more environmentally conscious foods on Mondays, and actually enjoying them,” says principal Matthew Hornbeck.

“There are 82,500 children in Baltimore City, and if you think about 60-70,000 of those kids getting lunch every day, a Monday without meat, and without the burden on the environment that meat places – that can really make a difference.”

“When it comes to the items in our diet that have the biggest impact on the environment, clearly beef is the biggest offender,” says Robert Lawrence of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University.

His advice? “If you really want to reduce your overall carbon footprint, the thing to do is reduce your total, overall beef consumption.”

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