Animals have role in feeding humanity -- Mike Dupor

April 14, 2019

The author of last Sunday’s letter to the editor “Dairy is wrong for state’s future ” argued that Wisconsin and our planet should move away from meat production. He goes on to claim that meat and milk production utilize 83% of Earth’s farmland, but produce only 18% of calories.

While technically correct, the argument is a dangerous oversimplification. The majority of earth’s agricultural land is unsuitable for crops, due to terrain, climate or soil quality. The only efficient way to utilize this land is as grazing for ruminants, which can convert grasses to high-quality foodstuffs with very little resource use on our part.

And while meat and milk do make up only a small part of our calories, they are an important source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron.

Despite recent claims that red meat is an environmental menace, farmers and ranchers have an important role in sustainably feeding our growing world.

Mike Dupor, Madison, veterinary student