The majority of Texas is experiencing a drought, and cattle farmers have admitted that they are slaughtering more cows than usual.
A particularly hot summer has contributed to the worst drought the US state has experienced since 2011. Despite the persistent heavy rain and flash floods, this is not anticipated to abate anytime soon.
Around 27% of Texas is currently categorized as being in “exceptional drought,” which is the highest severe condition conceivable, as a result of the oppressive heat. In the second-highest category, “extreme drought,” another 62% of people live.
Texas agriculture has been particularly heavily damaged by the circumstances. The cost of importing feed to replace grazing land is considered to make cattle ranching unprofitable. Getting clean drinking water is also difficult.
Crops may be harmed if the drought persists into the winter, which could influence the availability of cattle feed. As a result, Texas is probably going to see supply issues in the future, despite a short-term boost in beef availability due to increased slaughter rates.
“Severe droughts force ranchers to sell off a portion or, sometimes, all of their cows,” stated David Anderson, Professor for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.
“Those large numbers of cows going to a meat packer increases beef production and results in some lower prices… But it also means that those cows are no longer around to have a calf next year. And that means less beef production in the future and higher beef prices as beef production declines,” he added.
“So, short term, we can get some higher production and lower prices, but long term less beef and higher prices.”
The cause of the drought
The prolonged drought in Texas is commonly believed to be caused by the climate catastrophe. Greg Abbott, a Republican governor, attributed it to “extreme weather patterns.”
The naturally occurring El Nio and La Nia climate trends, which heat and cool the tropical Pacific, may have been Abbott’s point of reference. A prolonged La Nia phenomenon, which results in warmer and drier temperatures, is currently affecting Texas.
But even if the climate issue did not initiate the El Nio and La Nia weather patterns, they do so now.
According to experts, “aggressive greenhouse gas emissions scenarios” will likely lead to a rise in the frequency of catastrophic occurrences like the one currently occurring in Texas.
The effects of animal agriculture on climate change
In an ironic turn of events, Texas cattle ranchers are now facing challenges to their way of life as a result of a climate emergency that is partially fueled by animal agriculture.
The animal farming industry is a culprit of the climate problem, contributing at least 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and causing roughly 91 percent of Amazon deforestation (a rainforest that is currently producing more CO2 than it absorbs).
It has been determined that methane emissions, of which a third originate from farmed cattle, are heating the earth at least 28 times more than carbon dioxide. Since all methane emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2045, the UN is making this requirement.
This is an issue for the state of Texas.
The state, which produces the most beef in the US, has over 250,000 farms and 13 million cows in total. Although cow methane emissions were previously overestimated, the current estimates place the annual methane production of each animal at about 220 pounds.
Leading climate scientists therefore advocate for a sharp decline in meat and dairy consumption to reduce emissions. Dr. Peter Carter, an IPCC reviewer, emphasized that adopting a vegan diet is “survival imperative” and that failing to address rising emissions is “clearly global suicide.”
Plant-based meat alternatives may have a chance to gain popularity if cattle farmers in the future struggle to supply the demand for beef. Despite the fact that the state enacted a bill last year barring “meat” and “beef” labels on vegan products, consumers may be put off by the absence of useful labeling.
Source: “Texas Drought Leads To Increase In Cows Being Slaughtered” by Plant Based News
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