A Letter to the L.A. Times

October 18, 2007

Dear Editor, 

Your piece on October 15th, 2007: “Killer Cow Emissions”, offers poor advice, for it is based on a false assumption. Ruminants need not be managed as they are according to industrial agricultural farming and feedlots.


Unfortunately, you failed to discriminate between the effects of ruminants in the industrial system and those on pasture.  In a feedlot, a cow must eat what is brought to her and is in the terribly unnatural position of eating crops from soils she cannot feed with her manure, urine and hooves.  Most vegans, incidentally, are in this same predicament.

However, on pasture the humble cow, belcher that she is, can happily sequester more carbon and methane than all of the technologies or vegans have done or ever will be able to do.  For this is the role evolution has prepared her for: to eat plants that draw carbon from the air, deposit it in the soil, and then re-grow to draw more carbon from the air.  It has been suggested by quite rational people that properly managed grazing can take enough legacy carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it beneath the soil through the building of organic matter in our rangeland soils to cool the planet to pre-industrial levels in less than a generation.   This is wise, for managing grazing animals is cheap, can be done world wide, and requires but two things: human culture and our omnivorous natures that you so disdain.  You would do well to honor they who do this work. 

Joe Morris

T.O. Cattle Company, LLC – Morris Grassfed Beef
“Frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”

                                         –William Shakespeare

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