The real beef behind the meat

The real beef behind the meat

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Most will agree, dogs and cats have feelings, but what about cattle and other farm animals?

Gene Baur, who founded the organization, Farm Sanctuary, to help save maltreated animals. "We were finding living animals literally thrown on piles of dead animals, living animals thrown in trash cans, so we started rescuing them."

Baur used to not think before he ate. It wasn't until 1985 that he made the decision to turn vegan. A year later, he co-founded Farm Sanctuary, a place where farm animals, found in deplorable conditions, receive a second chance. He says, "At a factory farm, when you walk into it, and you hear the animals clanking against the bars in the cages, you hear them screaming, you feel the pain. Over the years, it's been tens of thousands. Right now, we're having for about 1,000 animals at our sanctuaries."

Though he can't rescue them all, he has helped change the way animals, still in factory farms, are treated.

The Florida initiative that was on the ballot in 2002 was the first time ever a cruel factor farming practice was banned. "In 2002, Florida voters voted to give animals at least enough space to turn around on farms."

With hope for more changes, Baur is touring the country, making a stop at Darbster's in Boca Raton to talk about the impact our food choices have on our own health, animals and the planet. "The United Nations reported a couple of years ago that animal agriculture is one of the top contributors of serious environmental problems we're facing in this world. One of those is global warming. The animal agriculture contributes more to climate change then the entire transportation industry.

"In order to produce meat, we need to grow lots and lots of grain. You need to grow the grain, feed it to the animals, and that's very inefficient. There's a lot of resources that go into planting and harvesting corn and soy beans for example. They are petrochemical fertilizers inputs, pesticides, and then there's the tractors that have to go, plow, plant and harvest, and then transport, process, and that's feed to the animals. Then, the animals also generate methane. Then, they go to the slaughter house and there's a lot of energy that's used there. Then, you need energy for refrigeration. There's an enormous about of energy that goes into animal farming that most people don't know about."

There's an article in the New York Times called "Rethinking the Meat Guzzler. In it the author compared the amount of fossil fuels needed for a vegetarian meal versus a meat meal and found it took 16 times more fossil fuels for the meat meal.

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