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A Response to A Parent Torn Between Grass and Grain Fed Meat

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A troubled parent wrote in to Crux, a website “Covering all things Catholic.” I have the full question below, and my answer following. Check out what they had to say, here.

Dear OMG,

I am an alcoholic in recovery, and I am so grateful that I have been given a second chance. As part of my recovery, I have really tried to articulate my personal values and to live by them. By God’s grace, I now am happily married with three young children, a dog, and a cat.

My kids are animal lovers, and my wife is a health nut. As a family we have decided to eat only grass-fed meat that is raised — and slaughtered — humanely. The dilemma is this: Grass-fed beef produces up to six times more methane as grain-fed beef, so what’s good for my family and our collective conscience isn’t so great for the planet — methane gas being one of the main contributors to climate change. I console myself by saying that we live in a small house, we keep the heat down, and I work from home so I don’t use gasoline by commuting.

But am I actually being selfish by putting my own values and my kids’ health before the health of the planet?

Sincerely, Carnivore

Dear Carnivore,

Congrats on your recovery, it’s nice to see that in finding your own good health you’ve decided to focus on your families. I want you to know that I have an easy solution to your dilemma; GO VEGAN!

I hope I haven’t caused you to chock on your grass-fed beef with that statement, but this is an easy answer. Seeing as how you already share a dinner table with a “health nut” and some animal lovers, it shouldn’t be hard to argue the benefits of a vegan diet, or the animal lives saved. But I don’t think this is really about them, as much as it is about your conscience.

You’ve done lots of research on grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef, but what you seem to have forgotten is that eating meat at all (and that’s more than cows) is still inherently worse for the planet than all the thermostat lowering and working from home you do. Seriously, the argument shouldn’t be which meat, but why meat. 

And insisting it’s humane? I challenge you to watch just one video on what it takes to raise and slaughter the cows you’re eating, and tell me it’s “humane.” I don’t recommend letting the kids join you for that one.

I don’t blame you for being as confused as you are today, Carnivore. After all, the Crux spent lots of time blabbing on about fossil fuels, as if to argue they excuse the methane you’re contributing to. First, they tell you what you’re doing is enough, and then they guilt you by quoting the Pope? He says it’s our responsibility to love and care for the planet – that sounds like a vegan recommendation right there.

Be a hero; save animals, save the planet, raise a crew of healthy kids, and save yourself the time of struggling with the little voice in the back of your head. You already know what you should and shouldn’t be doing.


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