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Why fight climate change when you can create heat-resistant cows?

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It’s a shame the end of the world has to get in the way of enjoying a good meal, isn’t it?

Food & Wine ran a piece on the University of Florida’s newest project, a heat-resistant breed of cow. The $733,000 three-year grant that they’ve been afforded to tamper with genetics with is for the selfish pursuit of ‘better tasting meat’. 

Associate professor Raluca Matesscu, one of the lead researchers on this Frankenstein project, says that more than half of the world’s cattle live in hot and humid environments. And the team alleges that the stress of that heat (without so much as a cooling margarita in site) can lead to the inability to regulate body temperature. Basically, heat-stroke is not a very flavourful or cost effective ingredient for animal agriculturalists. Not subjecting animals to any of the discomforts of being property probably wasn’t considered as a viable option.

They allege that a cross between the Angus and Brahman breeds would result in less heat-stressed animals. But all the stress of being artificially inseminated, separated from their young, and killed remains.

They have branded them “climate-smart productive cattle for a hotter world”, all the while ignoring that it’s the commodification of these cows that’s turning up the thermostat on the planet to begin with. I think it would make a lot more sense to put out the fire than it does to play in it with more flame-resistant suits.

Food & Wine mentions it’s not just beef we should worry about, with coffee and wheat yields (re: sales) also suffering due to the increased heat. Unless they’re working on heat-resistant humans, that means we’ll likely have to forgo our daily steak, coffee, and muffins when the world barrels towards the end. And until then, we should probably focus our anxiety on a lot more than our palate pleasure. Methane is a bit more daunting than bland animal carcasses, in my opinion. 

We don’t need heat-resistant animals, we need veganism. Animals need us to stop putting our preferences over their lives and our planet needs us to do a better job of looking at the warning signs, instead of simply glossing over them. Improving the way we do the wrong things will not get us out of this mess.

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