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Who cares if your beef is grass-fed – is it bird-safe?

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Focusing on the wildlife animal agriculture kills, and not the animals being purposefully exploited, is embarrassing.

Motherboard shared a piece on bird-safe beef; the product of cows that don’t trample the habitats or nests of grassland birds. Industrial-scale agricultural companies are using up land from Brazil to Argentina, and it’s displacing and killing off at least 12 endangered bird species. So to remedy it, conservationists are teaming up with supermarket chains to find a new way to continue doing an unsustainable thing while packaging it to consumers as sustainable. Just try not to focus on the fact that the same industry is responsible for the killing of billions of birds already – y’know, chickens.

Not unlike the grass-fed beef we’ve all come to know and not-love, bird-safe steaks will bear a logo of the Alianza del Pastizal (“Grassland Alliance”) and is currently being stocked in two grocery stores in the city of Porto Alegre. If they can fool consumers in to thinking this is a positive step for animals and the planet during their trial, they’ll pop up elsewhere. Hey, it’s a proven successful for “humane” meat thus far.

But the Grassland Alliance already has experience with slight-of-hand animal exploitation, having a grass-fed certification under their belt. They want us to believe that by encouraging landowners to avoid converting their grasslands to soy, they’re “helping” animals. They even blatantly celebrate that they allow farmers to sell meat produced this way to “eco-conscious consumers at a premium price.” After all, consumers want a pat on the back without having to make any real changes to their lifestyles, too.

It may cost more for farmers to display this minor amount of respect for the grasslands, but don’t worry, they’ll make up for the inconvenience in sales. Now, farmers and ranchers can add another useless badge to their arsenal alongside wolf-safe, jaguar-friendly, and “cruelty free” certifications. Seriously. Unless it’s safe for all animals (ie. not made from any of them), it’s speciesist at best.

Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) is all for this, too, praising Grassland Alliance. Program director Abigail Breuer told Motherboard; “The future of conservation depends on farm and ranch lands. The more each of us does to support the economies of farms that ensure habitat conservation as part of their management practices, the better we all are. Habitat is not just for wildlife—it helps to provide clean air, clean water and many other human benefits.” Or y’know, you could stop supporting all animal farming and ranching and see no lives killed, avian or otherwise; wildlife or farmed. Going vegan would have a greater, more immediate single impact on the animals and universe at large, and don’t get me started on what veganism can do for our air and water supplies. But I guess if the birds are safe…

Pedro Develey, the director of SAVE Brasil adds to this circus, telling Motherboard “Consumers should accept and demand for the natural beef. They will push the market.” This epic charade of trying to make everyone feel good about the practices of institutionalized rape, torture, and death is getting out of hand. The saffron-cowled blackbird stands to benefit from people going vegan just as much as farmed animals do. Yes, these endangered species deserve our love and protection, but so do the cows these capitalists are continuing to forget. When it comes to discussing saving lives, impacting the planet, or making conscious consumer decisions, the only moral solution is veganism. We can do better than leveraging one animal’s plight to help support the slaughter of countless others. As long as any animals remain a commodity for human use, no animals will be safe from the devastation of this system. 

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