There comes a time when you’re scrolling through the Internet and find someone saying something a little out of line. Who am I kidding, this happens probably every hour on Twitter alone.
This past week I came across one of those posts, but instead of it being an internet troll that hides behind their computer screen, it was someone who has brought laughs to my living room on the regular… Ellen DeGeneres.
Although the video is filmed in her studio, I’m not sure if the message she gave was to a studio audience or if it was just to her 78.6 million Twitter followers; nonetheless, the message struck a nerve with me and many others.
In the video, she says:
“Oh hi there, It’s Ellen DeGeneres here. I was scrolling through the gram (Instagram), and I noticed that a lot of people are talking about eating less meat, which I think is a fantastic idea. Just it’s a great idea for the planet. It’s a great idea for your health. It’s a great idea for the animal’s health. So eat less meat, unless you’re a vegan and you don’t eat meat already, then good for you. So, you don’t even need to pay attention to this. But for the people who do eat meat, just try to eat less of it. Just maybe eat it, less, once a week, or none a week. If you eat it every night, don’t eat it every night. Eat it less than that. Four nights a week would be OK, but three or two nights or just one night a week would be best. Anyway, the point is it’s better for you and it’s better for the environment and for the animals. Eat less meat. (hashtag) Eatlessmeat. Hey, be neat. No meat. Be neat. Eat less meat. (hashtag) BeNeatEatLessMeat. (hashtag) Byebye.”
My first thought was “yeeesh” which was followed by an eye roll, and then I flipped a table. (Kidding, but I wanted to).
Not once was there any mention of facts or science-based evidence… and I have to wonder, why not?
Maybe because if there were facts stated, it would show that eating meat is not only great for your health, it’s also good for the environment, and it helps the economy.
To keep it simple, I’m going to share some facts with you about beef, Ms. DeGeneres. According to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) website, lean beef supplies 14 essential nutrients. It’s an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc. It is also high in iron, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. Beef is also a source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D.
When it comes to cattle’s impact on climate change, you might want to take a listen to a great piece published last month by RealAgriculture founder, Shaun Haney and his talk with Dr. Frank Mitloehner, University of California – Davis animal science professor and air quality extension specialist. The pair discuss how a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), explicitly says agriculture and forestry combined sequester, or take out, more greenhouse gas from the air than it puts in.
Also, while you’re at it, I recently interviewed Amie Peck of the CCA, about their new short film that highlights the need for cattle to fight climate change.
As for the economy, here in Canada, according to the CCA, the beef industry is the second largest single source of farm cash receipts, with cash receipts from cattle and calves totalling $9.4 billion annually over the last five years (2014-18 average. That represents roughly $18 billion to GDP annually, and generating an estimated 228,000 jobs in Canada, with every job in the sector yielding another 3.56 jobs elsewhere in the economy.
So now that you have actual facts that are backed by research, please reconsider your message to your fans, including me, who work in the agriculture industry. We live in a society where people will take one thought and run with it. When it’s amplified by celebrities such as yourself, it can snowball with misinformation being spread.
You encourage people to “be the change” and to be kind to one another. If you’re not willing to share the facts or look at all the information out there — then keep out of it, and stay in your lane.