Beef healthy and nutritious

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In response to Beth Mendenhall’s Sept. 28 column against eating meat, I am answering the demand for evidence, facts, science and a plea for the truth about meat consumption.

I grew up on a farm and ranch, so I know firsthand quality beef begins with quality care. I work hard to keep my livestock healthy, safe and secure. As a producer, I care about the environment and work hard to protect the environment while at the same time providing a delicious, safe and wholesome food product for a hungry world. A study conducted by Washington State University showed the total carbon footprint of producing a pound of beef was reduced 14 percent over a span of 30 years, from 1977 to 2007. This study measured inputs of feedstuffs, water, land, fertilizer and fossil fuels and outputs of beef, manure and greenhouse gas emissions. The efficiency modeled in the research is what makes food affordable here in the U.S.

To set the record straight, I’m going to use beef as an example of a meat product that a consumer can purchase at the grocery store. Lean beef is an excellent source of zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins. Lean beef can help maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and fuel activity, provided that it is consumed in proper portion sizes. The bottom line is lean beef will provide a much higher concentration of nutrients in fewer calories than any vegetable source or protein substitute.

If you choose not to consume meat, I will respect your decision. Even so, to answer the call for rationality I will continue to do the sensible thing and consume lean beef and other meat products as part of my healthy diet.

Kyla Clawson

Junior in animal sciences and  

industry, agricultural economics

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